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Omaha World Herald

The owner of a Nebraska dry-cleaning business has pleaded no contest to charges that accused him of causing the explosion that destroyed his business. The Omaha World-Herald reports that 54-year-old Michael McKernan of Valley entered the plea Thursday to second-degree arson and burning to defraud an insurer. McKernan owned Wardrobe Spa. He was there on Oct. 7, 2018, when the building exploded. Deputy Sarpy County Attorney Ben Perlman said McKernan had intentionally drilled holes into gas lines that connected to a dryer and a furnace.

NE Covid Total Tops 44,000; IA Total Over 86,000

20 minutes ago
KTIV

The number of COVID-19 cases in Nebraska is now more than 44-thousand.  Officials confirmed 467 new cases yesterday, bringing the statewide total to 44-thousand-63.  There have been 470 coronavirus-related deaths in Nebraska during the pandemic.

Laurie Smith Camp, a longtime Nebraska attorney who became the first woman to serve on the state’s federal district court, died unexpectedly overnight at age 66. John M. Gerrard, the chief judge of Nebraska’s federal district court, said Thursday that Smith Camp died peacefully at her home. The cause of her death wasn’t disclosed. Smith Camp was appointed to the court by President George W. Bush in 2001 and was confirmed unanimously by the Senate. She assumed senior judge status in 2018, meaning she was semi-retired but continued to carry an active caseload.

Nebraska Medicine Falls Victim To Cyber Attack

Sep 25, 2020

Nebraska Medicine is recovering from a cyber attack that caused significant disruption this week. Officials say many appointments had to be postponed due to the hack that impacted the information technology system. The company said patients who had critical appointments or surgeries were prioritized, and the emergency room remained open.

Omaha Whiskey Fest Set To Continue With Precautions

Sep 24, 2020

Omaha's Whiskey Fest is being held next month with COVID-19 precautions.  The event is set for October 9th through the 11th in The Old Market.  Organizers say hand sanitizer will be available at participating locations, limited capacity will be enforced at each station, and the mask mandate must be followed. Tickets can be purchased at participating locations in The Old Market.

 

Omaha World Herald

A special prosecutor says a white Nebraska bar owner who killed himself after being charged with manslaughter for fatally shooting a Black man during May protests had been waiting to “ambush” people who were breaking into businesses. Special Prosecutor Frederick Franklin on Wednesday detailed more of the evidence against Jake Gardner. Gardner killed himself Sunday, days after a grand jury indicted him in the May 30 death of 22-year-old James Scurlock. The evidence included text messages and videos of the encounter that Franklin said countered Gardner's claims of self-defense.

A Nebraska state senator who is running for a new term made an embarrassing error in a recent campaign mail piece attacking his opponent. The mailing by Sen. Andrew La Grone, of Gretna, criticizes his legislative challenger, Jen Day, of Omaha. But the photo that purports to show Day is actually an image of one of Day’s campaign staffers, Brooklynne Rosado. Rosado, of La Vista, called the ad humiliating and says someone didn’t do their due diligence. La Grone is seeking to win his first election after he was appointed to his seat by Gov. Pete Ricketts, a fellow Republican, in 2019.

Hundreds of new COVID-19 cases are reported in Nebraska.  Health officials confirmed 397 new cases yesterday, bringing the statewide total to 41-thousand-785.  There have been 461 COVID-19 related deaths in Nebraska during the pandemic. Officials in the Omaha bedroom community of Blair are reporting a coronavirus outbreak at a nursing home, with at least 24 residents and eight staff members infected. The Three Rivers Public Health Department reported the outbreak at Crowell Memorial Home in Blair. The facility is licensed for 108 assisted living and skilled nursing beds.

Immigrant Legal Center (ILC) helps immigrants who are often scared and confused by the U.S. legal system, and who cannot afford legal assistance from the private bar.  ILC is Nebraska’s largest immigration legal services nonprofit that employs full-time licensed attorneys and provides legal services for low-income immigrants.  ILC is uniquely positioned to take a holistic approach to their clients’ complex, interwoven immigration-related legal needs through their diverse team of specialized professionals.  Because all of their attorneys specialize in immigration law, they are able to draw on multiple resources that are available for the most complex casework.

Erik Omar, Executive Director of the Immigrant Legal Center, virtually stopped by the studios at 33rd and Burt to discuss the mission of this organization as well as their upcoming fund raising campaign, the 2020 Food Truck World Tour, with Mike Hogan.  

This years’ event will take place at the Mastercraft Building located at 13th and Millworks behind Hot Shops.  This will be on Sunday 10/11, from 2-6pm.  Due to COVID, this will be a drive thru format and will be routed through the parking lots to the west side of the building.  For more information or tickets, one can visit the website https://immigrantlegalcenter.salsalabs.org/FoodTruckWorldTour/index.html

Dreamweaver Foundation, an Omaha-based nonprofit, has been providing Facebook Portals® to seniors isolated during the pandemic to help them regain connection with loved ones.  Reactions to calling family on the Portal video device for the first time have ranged from tears of joy to an overwhelming sense of relief and independence.  With the overwhelming response (they have given out 300 Portals so far), Dreamweaver Foundation is hoping to share the news of this program to help keep it going.

Cheri Mastny, Dreamweaver Foundation Executive Director, joins Mike Hogan "Live & Local" to discuss how easy it is to give the gift of hope to seniors.  The Portal devices are free to the seniors, use the resident wi-fi in the facility, and allow them to connect to their families.

For information on how to give a Portal to a senior or to nominate a senior in need of some joy and family connection, one can go to the website  https://dreamweaver.org/about/join-us-to-bring-joy-during-covid-19/.

KPTM

New details are being revealed in the case of a man who is accused of planting a fake bomb in downtown Omaha.  Prosecutors say 25-year-old Thomas Trouba had 863 pounds of marijuana, more than 400-thousand-dollars in cash and other drugs when he was arrested.  Surveillance footage shows Trouba allegedly placing two suspicious packages outside the courthouse last Friday.  Bond in the case has been set at two-million-dollars.  

An attorney for a white business owner who was charged in the fatal shooting of a Black man during civil unrest in Nebraska says the man has died by suicide. Police say Jacob Gardner's body was found Sunday outside a medical clinic in Hillsboro, Oregon. Attorney Stu Dornan said it was a suicide. Gardner was charged Tuesday in the death of James Scurlock. Police say 38-year-old Gardner shot Scurlock during a protest outside Gardner’s bar in downtown Omaha on May 30. Gardner had said the shooting was done in self-defense.

NET

The number of COVID-19 cases in Nebraska is now more than 41-thousand.  Officials confirmed 286 cases yesterday bringing the statewide total to 41-thousand-83.  There have been 442 coronavirus-related deaths in Nebraska during the pandemic. More than 40% of the deaths linked to the coronavirus in Nebraska have been at nursing homes. The Omaha World-Herald reports that a federal database shows that 31 nursing homes in the state have reported deaths linked to the coronavirus.

WNIN

There are now more than 39-thousand COVID-19 cases in Nebraska.  Nearly 450 new cases were reported yesterday, bringing the statewide total to 39-thousand-419.  Officials have confirmed 449 COVID-19 deaths in Nebraska since the pandemic began. School districts in Pottawattamie County are urging people to follow COVID-19 safety measures.  Council Bluffs, Lewis Central, AHSTW, Riverside, Treynor, Tri-Center, and Underwood schools are taking part in the "Together We Can" program.  The districts launched a video on social media yesterday to promote the use of facemasks in schools.

Denver Post

Eight University of Nebraska football players are dropping their lawsuit against the Big Ten Conference.  The players filed the lawsuit last month after the conference announced that sports, including football, would not be played this fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  According to a statement, the players instructed their attorneys to drop the lawsuit after the Big Ten announced that football would be played this fall.

Omaha Public Schools is prepared to responsibly reopen schools and welcome students back for in-person learning through a phased approach. The decision to transition to in-person learning follows months of planning with the health, safety and well-being of students, staff and families in mind.

Haworth Park In Bellevue Faces Long Road To Reopening

Sep 16, 2020

The City of Bellevue is working with a local businessman to reopen a park damaged by floods.  The city says it's leased out Haworth Park to a help offset the millions of dollars in costs to clean-up and re-open it.  So far there's no price tag on how much it will cost to revive the park, and no time table on when the work will be complete.

Smoke From Wildfires To Appear In NE This Week

Sep 16, 2020
Lincoln Journal Star

The impact of the California wildfires is being felt in Nebraska.  The National Weather Service says there is a possibility of smoke from the wildfires reaching the ground in western and south-central Nebraska today.  Officials say the smoke could settle near the surface between 11:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. central time.  People living west of U.S. Highway 281 are expected to experience the thickest smoke, and the smoke could impact the health of residents with preexisting conditions.

Special Prosecutor Frederick Franklin announced Tuesday the results of the grand jury investigation into the death of James Scurlock.  Jake Gardner has been indicted on the following counts: Manslaughter, use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony, attempted first-degree assault and terroristic threats.

Franklin said that much evidence came from Gardner himself and said that jurors learned information that "undermined" the narrative that the shooting was self-defense.

The Downtown Improvement District Association in Omaha says it's hearing false reports of businesses being told to close ahead of possible demonstrations linked to the James Scurlock grand jury hearing. The association says the false reports are being spread by agitators, not the association, city, protest organizers or Omaha Police. Scurlock was allegedly shot to death by bar owner Jake Gardner during a fight outside his downtown bar.

A flu vaccine clinic is opening in Omaha.  The Visiting Nurse Association's clinic at 12565 West Center will offer the standard flu vaccine and FluMist for anyone between the ages of two and 49.  The drive-through clinic will next be open on Monday, September 21st at 4:00 p.m.

Omaha Public Library (OPL) closed on March 16, 2020, in an effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, and remained closed due to City of Omaha budget concerns.  Following the approval of CARES Act funding by the state and county, Mayor Jean Stothert announced on August 25 that libraries may reopen.

Emily Getzschman, Marketing and Media Relations Manager for OPL, discusses the phased reopening which begins Monday, Sept. 21st with Mike Hogan.  Library branches that have been providing curbside service will suspend curbside operations between Sept. 13 and Sept. 20 to prepare for reopening.  Curbside services will resume at all branches during normal operating hours.

Following reopening, OPL branches will be open Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m., and Friday & Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.  Three branch locations (Millard Branch, Milton R. Abrahams Branch and W. Dale Clark Main Library) will offer Sunday hours, 1-5 p.m., upon reopening.  Masks will be required for all OPL visitors until further notice.

  • Monday, Sept. 21: Five branches will open.
    • Bess Johnson Elkhorn Branch, 2100 Reading Plaza, 402-289-4367
    • Charles B. Washington Branch, 2868 Ames Ave., 402-444-4849
    • Millard Branch, 13214 Westwood Ln., 402-444-4848
    • Milton R. Abrahams Branch, 5111 N. 90th St., 402-444-6284
    • Willa Cather Branch, 1905 S. 44th St., 402-444-4851
  • Monday, Sept. 28: Three additional branches will open.
  • The opening dates for the remaining four branches will be announced at a later time.

Book drops will open as branches reopen beginning Sept. 21, and items checked out will resume normal due dates.  Items checked out during OPL’s closure will be due for return on Oct. 19.  Items placed on hold shelves in the branches prior to Oct. 1 that are waiting to be picked up will expire and be made available to other patrons on Oct. 15. 

Meeting and study rooms will not be available for reservation for the foreseeable future.  Computers will be available for public use, however, due to physical distancing, there will be fewer computers available.

As more information becomes available, OPL will provide updates on its website, omahalibrary.org, as well as through its social media channels and email. Library staff will also be available to answer questions at 402-444-4800 or through ask.omahalibrary.org.

Visit omahalibrary.org for information about additional programs and resources offered at Omaha Public Library.

Bid farewell to summer with one final outdoor extravaganza at OCP! Don’t Stop Me Now: A Celebration of Rock Musicals is a drive-in style concert featuring songs from acclaimed rock ‘n’ roll musicals, including Jersey Boys, Jesus Christ Superstar, Rock of Ages, Beautiful, Hair, Dreamgirls and more!  Sing and dance along with your favorite musical hits from the your private socially-distanced parking area, or tune in to hear the show from OCP’s radio station inside your car!  Featuring Billy McGuigan’s Rave On Productions band and six powerhouse vocalists, Don’t Stop Me Now is the end-of-summer spectacular you won’t want to miss.

Musical Director Jim Boggess joins Mike Hogan "Live & Local" and discusses the fun and hard work that came together to bring this production to life.  Tickets and more information are available at https://www.omahaplayhouse.com/

The Douglas County Board has allocated $20 million to OCF.  $10 million of that is allocated for Arts, Culture, and Entertainment organizations, and $10 million will support Community Services.  Applications are due to the Foundation by 11:59pm on Wednesday, September 23 and technical assistance is available through the Foundation for any nonprofits applying for funding.

Vice President of Community Investment, Kali Baker, joined Mike Hogan "Live & Local" to discuss the program and the webinars which explain the intricate process of applying for this grant money.  Since the money has federal origins, this grant process is very different from the usual Omaha Community Foundation grant process.

In addition, Mike and Kali discuss the COVID-19 Response Fund Impact as well as the release of the Landscape 2020 report.

For more information on the grants and the process for applying, one can go to https://omahafoundation.org/news/ocf-and-douglas-county-announce-launch-of-cares-act-funding-application-for-local-nonprofits/

Additional eligibility and application details for nonprofits can be found at the following web pages: https://omahafoundation.org/CARESACE and https://omahafoundation.org/CARESNP.  OCF will also be hosting two webinars for eligible nonprofits to provide an overview of the process, and answer questions. Webinar details can be found via the links above.  https://omahafoundation.org/community/douglas-county-cares-arts-culture-and-entertainment-program/

State officials are looking to clear up confusion over mail-in ballot requests sent out by a third-party organization. Scotts Bluff County Commissioners raised concerns after the Center for Voter Information out of Springfield, Missouri sent 228-thousand absentee ballot applications in Nebraska, calling the move "voter fraud." However, Secretary of State Bob Evnen says the applications are legal and a legitimate way to request a ballot. Evnen added that the mailers are "redundant," since every registered voter in Nebraska will receive an early ballot application this month.

UNMC

Nebraska is set to loosen COVID-19 health measures in most counties.  Starting this week, all counties in the state except for Lancaster County will move into phase four.  During phase four, outdoor venues can operate at 100-percent capacity, indoor venues can open at 75-percent capacity, but large-scale events will still need approval from their local health department director.

Omaha World Herald

Nebraska Democrats have named their third choice to compete against the Democrat whose name will appear on the ballot in November. Omaha activist and professor Preston Love Jr. launched a write-in campaign Thursday against Omaha cupcake baker Chris Janicek.  Janicek won the Democratic primary in May but party leaders disavowed him after he sent lewd texts about a campaign staffer. Janicek pledged to stay in the race last week despite all the negative publicity.

Grand Island Independent

Nebraska voters won’t get the chance to legalize medical marijuana this year after the state Supreme Court ruled that the measure set to appear on the November ballot is unconstitutional. The court’s ruling was a win for social conservatives, including Gov. Pete Ricketts, who argued that the state shouldn’t legalize a drug that isn’t approved by federal regulators. Justices concluded that the medical marijuana proposal violated Nebraska’s “single subject rule” for ballot measures, which bars activists from bunching multiple issues into a single yes-or-no question for voters to address.

KDVR

State health officials reported 456 new cases of COVID-19 in Nebraska yesterday. There are now 37-thousand-373 confirmed cases of the virus in the state and 430 deaths. The Department of Health and Human Services says 35-percent of hospital beds and 82-percent of ventilators are available. Twenty staff members and 30 students in Douglas County schools have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last two weeks. The Public Health Department also says 26 staff members and 372 students from county schools are currently in quarantine.

Nonstop Wet Weather This Week Not A Flood Risk

Sep 10, 2020
WOWT

Days of rain in the Omaha area aren't increasing the risk for flooding. The National Weather Service says steady rain over a long period of time should only raise river levels by a foot.  They also say rivers are more likely to go up near urban areas where rain is running off of streets, parking lots, and other paved areas.

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