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Omaha World Herald

Nebraska restaurants can now offer carry-out alcohol permanently under a new state law inspired by Gov. Pete Ricketts’ efforts to help struggling businesses during the pandemic. Ricketts announced that he signed the measure into law. It went into effect immediately. The governor issued an executive order to allow carry-out alcohol in March 2020 to aid restaurants that were struggling financially because of the pandemic and mandatory social distancing restrictions. The order proved popular with the public, and some restaurants reported that it had helped their sales.

Gage County

A Nebraska county that was ordered to pay a $28.1 million legal judgment for sending six innocent people to prison will get $4 million from the state to help pay it off. Gov. Pete Ricketts signed off on the payment on Tuesday, despite raising objections to a 2019 measure that allowed Gage County to impose a half-cent sales tax without voter approval to pay some of the debt. Ricketts says he approved the new law because of the additional economic impact of the pandemic on county residents.

Lincoln Journal Star

Nebraska lawmakers have ended a historic session marked by major tax cuts, a grant program to expand high-speed internet service and regulations to clear the way for the state’s new casino industry. But they left major work unfinished, most notably the once-a-decade ritual of redrawing the state’s congressional and legislative districts. That means they'll have to return to the Capitol later this year. The session was also shaped by the coronavirus pandemic and bitter disputes over how to use excess money in the state budget.


The University of Nebraska has netted $400 million in financing through the sale of municipal bonds to be used for a growing list of renovations and replacement projects. The Lincoln Journal Star reports that the sale took place Wednesday, and money garnered will go toward an $800 million backlog of projects at campuses in Lincoln, Omaha and Kearney, as well as the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis.

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AIM Infotec, one of the Midwest’s largest annual conferences for people working in tech careers, will be on May 27 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and provided for free in 2021.  Mike Smith, an international-level public speaker with local ties to the nonprofit world, will be the keynote for this year’s event.

Smith is cofounder of the nonprofit, Rabble Mill, based in Lincoln and Omaha.  Rabble Mill works with Nebraska youth statewide toward their belonging , purpose and upward mobility through its subculture programming in skateboarding, music and digital art.  Both Rabble Mill and AIM work to cultivate and retain talent in parts of the region where it often goes overlooked.

Over the course of this two-part interview, Smith and Mike Hogan chat about the key to engaging and helping youth, how just a little effort by a mentor figure can reap huge rewards for the kids and society, and how the IT world is being impacted by young people today.

More information can be found at

Omaha Mask Mandate Expires

May 25, 2021
Omaha World Herald

The city of Omaha's mask ordinance is no longer in effect.  City officials say as of today, residents will not be required to wear face coverings inside buildings or businesses.  Private businesses still have the right to determine if people will be required to wear masks.  A TSA mask requirement for buses, trains and airplanes remains in effect until September 13th.

The New York Times

Nebraska lawmakers have approved a corporate income tax cut designed to bring the rate closer to the one paid by small business owners, despite objections that the lost revenue could be used for other purposes. Senators voted the measure through its third and final vote, 42-1, and sent it to Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts, who’s expected to sign it. The measure would drop Nebraska’s top corporate income tax rate from 7.81% to 7.25% over two years.


Seven people are under arrest after a group left pig heads outside the Omaha police union building.  Police say the incident took place on Saturday when dozens of people gathered in the Omaha Police Officer's Association's parking lot near 134th Street and Cryer Avenue.  Authorities say the group of demonstrators left three severed pig heads wearing police hats in the parking lot, and those who were arrested face charges including failure to disperse, trespassing and unlawful assembly.  The incident took place following what was advertised as a "pig roast" at Montclair Park.

You’ve seen the action, adventure, cool gadgets, and hard detective work that goes into being an FBI agent in the movies and on television.  Have you ever wondered if you have the skills necessary to be part of a team that can stop crimes, violence, and protect your friends and neighbors?  What skills does the FBI seek?

In this two-part “Live & Local” interview, Special Agent Michele Stevenson chats with Mike Hogan about the surprisingly diverse set of skills and people that are sought by the FBI.  She also discusses the many benefits of working for the FBI, why she has enjoyed a twenty-two year and counting career at the bureau, and what steps you can take to see if the FBI is the place for you to make your mark in the world.

More information can be found at .

Nebraskans receiving Social Security income will pay less in taxes on that income each year until it’s fully exempt in 2030, under a bill that won final approval from lawmakers. Lawmakers passed the gradual tax phase-out on a 41-0 vote. It now heads to Gov. Pete Ricketts, who’s expected to sign it. The bill by Sen. Brett Lindstrom, of Omaha, would reduce the taxes paid on Social Security income by 5% this year, 20% next year and 30% in 2023. The exemption would continue to grow until it hits 100% in 2030.


The search for an autistic 11-year-old boy in eastern Nebraska grew more dire Thursday as the boy remained missing for a third day and officials moved the search to nearby bodies of water. Ryan Larsen has been missing since Monday morning, when he walked out of his elementary school in La Vista, which lies just southwest of Omaha. Police say the child has a history of hiding from his family and authorities. La Vista Police Chief Bob Lausten tells the Omaha World-Herald that police have had to find the boy at least half-a-dozen times, but that he’s never been missing for days at a time.

Omaha World Herald

The Omaha City Council has passed a resolution brought by newly-reelected Mayor Jean Stothert that condemns discrimination and hate and calls for Omaha leaders to be committed to diversity, equity and inclusion. The resolution is largely symbolic, as it enacted no policy changes. The Omaha World-Herald reports that the resolution drew praise, but also criticism from some who said city leaders need to do more than offer lip service to combating discrimination.


Mask mandates are expiring in several of the state’s largest cities as more people continue to get vaccinated for the coronavirus. Lincoln’s mask mandate will expire at the end of Thursday, Omaha’s will disappear at the end of next Tuesday and in the Omaha suburbs, Ralston ended its mandate earlier this week. The state has seen infection rates come down as vaccinations have become more widely available. The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Nebraska decreased over the past two weeks, going from 198.71 new cases per day on May 3 to 100.14 new cases per day on Monday.

The Omaha Community Playhouse opens their new production of Ain’t Misbehavin’ Friday, May 21, 2021.  The show highlights the music of legendary jazz musician and entertainer Fats Waller in this wildly popular Tony Award-winning musical revue.

Tiffany White-Welchen chats with Mike Hogan of KIOS-FM about the show, the music, and the historical context of Fats Waller's legendary songs.

More information can be found at

Inclusive Communities is providing education and advocacy related to the topics of diversity and inclusion. They work with schools, businesses and in the community. 

During this two-part interview, Inclusive Communities’ Business Development Manager, Tena Hahn Rodriguez, joins Mike Hogan “Live & Local” to discuss several topics including  LeadDIVERSITY. 

This program is a designed to build a network of leaders dedicated to creating opportunities and solutions related to diversity, equity, and inclusion in Nebraska. Participants receive exceptional skills training to move Nebraska workplaces and their communities

More information can be found at

Millions of dollars of federal funding is being awarded to Nebraska airports.  The Federal Aviation Administration recently announced that Nebraska airports would receive 12-point-six-million-dollars in grants through the Fiscal Year 2021 Airport Improvement Program.  Western Nebraska Regional Airport in Scottsbluff, McCook Ben Nelson Regional Airport and Broken Bow Municipal Airport are among the Nebraska airports that will receive money for improvements including runway and taxiway upgrades, navigational aids and snow removal equipment.   


Gov. Pete Ricketts is predicting a return to normal in Nebraska’s K-12 schools by this fall after a year of coronavirus restrictions that included mask-wearing in classrooms and remote learning. Ricketts says the state appears to be in good shape with its vaccination efforts and virus-related hospitalizations, which have now fallen below 100 statewide. He made the comments as he encouraged Nebraska’s new high school graduates to get vaccinated if they haven’t already.

Times Of India

Nebraska health officials said an extremely contagious variant of the coronavirus that was first identified in India has been confirmed in the state. The first case of the virus variant, officially known as the B.1.617 variant, was found in a Lancaster County resident who has ties to international travelers. The discovery of the new variant comes as the state was reporting a relatively small number of new cases of the virus. Nebraska health officials said Wednesday that 1,368 new virus cases had been reported over the past week, down slightly from 1,397 cases the week before.

Just over one year ago, UNO was named the home of a new Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence now known as NCITE – the National Counterterrorism, Innovation, Technology, and Education Center.  The National Counterterrorism, Innovation, Technology, and Education Center strives to understand, prevent, and counteract terrorist violence.  The NCITE Center will do this by heading a consortium of academics who study terrorist behavior and the best ways to stop it.  The goal is to translate research into tools for frontline Homeland Security professionals.

Dr. Gina Ligon, is the Director of the Counterterrorism Unit at UNO.  She joined Mike Hogan on “Live & Local” for a two-part interview about the mission of NCITE, the difference they can and have made, as well as how the Oklahoma City bombing impacted her life.

More information about this center and the work it does can be found at

DMV Warns Of Text Scam

May 13, 2021

The Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles says a new scam is using unsolicited text messages from unknown phone numbers claiming to be the DMV.  The texts say the recipients owe, or are owed, large sums of money from the DMV, and directs them to click a link. The DMV says recipients shouldn't click the link, but if they do, messages should be deleted immediately. The department says it sometimes sends texts to residents with their permission, but would never send emails demanding or promising money.

Since 1985, the Omaha Public Library Foundation (OPLF) has raised more than $10 million in private support for the Omaha Public Library programs and services.

In this two-part  interview, Wendy Townley, Executive Director of the Omaha Public Library Foundation, chatted with Mike Hogan on KIOS-FM about how the mission of the foundation has succeeded in keeping the Omaha Public Libraries not only afloat, but growing during this pandemic and what the future holds.  She also talks about the fundraiser in which Author Yaa Gyasi headlines the evening.

For more information try the website

UNO Gateway

Republican incumbent Jean Stothert has sailed to a third term as Omaha's mayor, capturing the vote 2-to-1 over Democratic challenger and commercial real estate broker RJ Neary in Tuesday's city election. Neary conceded the race by 9 p.m. Tuesday, and Stothert declaring in her victory speech that she would be focused on continuing the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and making the city more inclusive and safe. The 67-year-old Stothert pushed through her campaign following the death of her husband of 40 years in March.

A sweeping bill that would shield Nebraska businesses and local governments from coronavirus-related lawsuits has won initial approval from state lawmakers, despite some complaints that senators haven’t done enough for workers who were at risk. Lawmakers advanced the proposal, 39-3, through the first of three required votes. The measure would bar pandemic-related lawsuits against businesses or governments as long as they were following federal public health guidelines. At least 29 other states have enacted laws addressing the issue, including 12 that are similar to the Nebraska proposal.

Nearly half of Nebraska’s adult population has now been vaccinated against the coronavirus. The state said Monday that 49.6% of the population aged 16 and up has now been fully vaccinated and more than 1.5 million doses of the shots have been administered across Nebraska. The campaign to distribute the shots continues to make progress across the state although the pace of vaccinations has slowed in recent weeks as demand has weakened.

Nebraska will get roughly $1 billion in aid under the federal government’s plan to help states hit by the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. Treasury Department announced a state-by-state funding breakdown for President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, an effort to restore jobs lost during the pandemic and replenish the coffers of governments that saw huge declines in tax revenue. The plan will distribute $350 billion to state, local, territorial and tribal governments.

Ned Newley doesn't even want to be governor.  He's terrified of public speaking; his poll numbers are impressively bad. To his ever-supportive Chief of Staff, Ned seems destined to fail. But political consultant Arthur Vance sees things differently: Ned might be the worst candidate to ever run for office. Unless the public is looking for... the worst candidate to ever run for office.  "The Outsider" is a timely and hilarious comedy that skewers politics and celebrates democracy.

“The Outsider” show director Marya Lucca-Thyberg joins Mike Hogan on “Live & Local” to discuss this latest comedy offering from The Bellevue Little Theater.  More information on tickets and streaming is available at

Vesper Concerts is back to welcoming audiences for live performances.  They are proud to offer the best that chamber music has to offer–exceptional talent and variety presented in an intimate setting, all free of charge as a service to the community.

Kristi Treu, Executive Director of Vesper Concerts, joins Mike Hogan “Live & Local” to discuss the final two shows of this season and what the future looks like for this treasured organization. 

More information on shows can be found at

OPS Will Be In-Person This Fall

May 7, 2021

Omaha Public School students won't have a remote learning option next year. The district says its online program will end in May, and plans are set for a full return to in-person learning in the fall. O-P-S joins other metro school districts like Millard, Bellevue, Westside and Papillion-La Vista in ending remote learning for next school year.