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Norfolk Daily News

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts is acknowledging that state officials should have moved more quickly to interview people who contracted the coronavirus in recent weeks so they could warn others who may have been exposed. Ricketts says the recent surge in virus cases created a backlog of people who needed to be called, and officials within his administration didn’t add more workers to help with the extra workload. The state now has a backlog of 2,600 people who still need to contacted.

Omaha Children's Museum will be able to make several updates to air quality, disinfecting process of high-touch science center balls, and additional social distancing measures thanks to more than $3.6 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, funding. The planned updates are all anticipated to be completed by Dec. 31, 2020.

Director of Marketing and Public Relations, Kim Reiner, chatted with Mike Hogan about the massive changes which will protect the health and fun of the families that visit.  There are even safety measures in place so kids can chat with the big fella himself, Santa Claus!

Changes include more than 30 units of dual method air filters throughout the museum in areas used by the public as well as administrative offices. These filters will eliminate 99.9% of pathogens in the air with continuous use using HEPA filters and UVC light to kill, viruses, bacteria, and molds. 

The museum will install UVC lights in the tubes of the Super Gravitron. This lights are capable of killing viruses, bacteria, and molds. The museum was using this technology before in a stand-alone machine multiple times a day. The new installation will mean as children put balls into the inputs, they will be disinfected before they come out of the hopper and are used by another child. 

Additional updates to the bathrooms, including touchless doorhandles and faucets, as well as a touchless exit will help reduce potential contact with viruses on surfaces and much more!
More information can be found at https://www.ocm.org/

All previous safety measures, including required masks for ages 5 and older, still apply. See  for complete details.

A quilted map of the Arizona Sonoran Desert covered in 3200 orange and manila toe tags
Courtesy of Hostile Terrain 94 Nebraska

The Sonoran Desert is 100,000 square miles of punishing terrain stretching from Northwestern Mexico into Arizona and California. Since 1994, it has been the graveyard of thousands of migrants making their way to the United States. The exact number of casualties may never be known.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) mission is to fight hate and bigotry and to secure justice and fair treatment for all.  The ADL wanted to find away to bring our community together, to reflect on the struggles and triumphs that led us to this unique moment in history and to dream of what the future can hold.

That is where the idea of the Walk Against Hate started.  Associate Director Murphy Scott Wulfgar and Education Director Halley Taylor chat with Mike Hogan “Live & Local” about the “civil rights scavenger hunt” of sorts.

Walk Against Hate is an interactive, guided tour of multiple locations (accessible online or on the ground—socially distanced of course) across the Omaha Metropolitan Area that hold significance to the evolution or future of civil rights and civil liberties in our community.

More information can be found at http://www.adlplains.com/.


The way we think about the role transportation has in our lives has changed this year.  This has led to significant behavior changes, and it’s opened new avenues for us to explore.  What different transportation solutions will make our city a more vibrant, equitable and accessible for everyone?  We’re here to maximize this opportunity.

Stephen Osberg is the Director of Transportation Development for the Omaha Chamber of Commerce.  He took some time to explain to Mike Hogan what the ConnectGo initiative is, how it will change the face of transportation in the greater Omaha metro, and how your voice needs to be heard.

More information can be found at https://www.omahachamber.org/connectgo/.


Giving Tuesday on December 1st is a time to give, do, and share together. All acts of generosity move our metro toward a better future.  Share Omaha provides a one-stop resource center to give or find volunteer opportunities. 


Executive Director of Share Omaha, Marjorie Maas, joins Mike Hogan “Live & Local” to discuss all the different facets provided by the Share Omaha website.  For example, one can give early to a cause you care about at SHAREomaha.org – Use donation code GIVING TUESDAY or even volunteer to serve virtually and share your professional skills.  The ShareOmaha.com website also collects items through shopping wish lists and then sending items directly to local causes.


You can join the fun, early or on December 1st, by going to https://shareomaha.org/givingtuesday.

UNMC

A prominent Nebraska infectious disease expert is sounding the alarm about the state’s surging coronavirus cases and calling for a statewide mask mandate, which Gov. Pete Ricketts has repeatedly refused to issue. Dr. James Lawler, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, said Thursday that the pandemic has reached its most dangerous point since the virus outbreak began earlier this year and described the recent increase in virus hospitalizations as unsustainable.

Metro launched Omaha Rapid Bus Transit (ORBT) service on Nov. 18, 2020 — the most significant mass transit investment this region has seen in decades. 

Metro CEO Lauren Cencic joined Mike Hogan “Live & Local” to discuss how ORBT unites smart technology and streamlined travel for faster, more frequent public transportation, serving an eight-mile route along Dodge and Douglas streets from downtown Omaha to Westroads Mall.  ORBT’s enhanced stations, spacious vehicles, and travel upgrades connect more people, more frequently.  And best of all, ORBT is fare free for the first four months so you can  get on board and enjoy your ride!

For more information, go to https://www.ometro.com/

Des Moines Register

Governor Kim Reynolds doesn't think her coronavirus restrictions are too little too late.  On Tuesday Reynolds said the state had to put more restrictions in place because of rising coronavirus hospitalizations in Iowa.  Reynolds says more restrictions may be necessary if numbers continue to get worse. Meanwhile, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday afternoon that he had tested positive for Covid. Grassley says he went into quarantine Tuesday after finding out he was exposed to the virus.  He also says he's feeling good and will keep working from home. 

The number of coronavirus cases in Nebraska topped 100,000 as the state reported a record 3,440 cases Monday. Nebraska has had 101,601 cases since the pandemic began. There were also eighteen new deaths reported Monday to give the state 797 deaths. The number of people hospitalized with the virus in the state also set a new record at 938. Gov. Pete Ricketts has said that if that number continues to rise and approaches 1,200 — when 25% of the hospitalized patients in the state have coronavirus — he will impose additional restrictions to limit the spread of the virus. 

KUAR

Union Pacific railroad is planning to give roughly 31,000 of its employees a $1,000 bonus next month. The Omaha, Nebraska-based railroad said Tuesday that the bonuses will cost the company about $37 million. Railroad officials said all employees who worked at least 30 days during the pandemic will receive the bonuses for helping keep the railroad moving during the virus outbreak. Union Pacific is continuing to see freight traffic rebound from the worst of the virus-related shutdowns during the spring. The railroad said shipping volume is up about 3% so far in the fourth quarter. 

Bolz Joins Baird's Staff In Lincoln

Nov 17, 2020
Lincoln Journal Star

A Nebraska lawmaker is joining the staff of Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird.  State Senator Kate Bolz will start work as a Policy Aide for Economic and Workforce Development starting on December 1st.  Bolz ran for Nebraska's First District Congressional seat, but lost to Republican incumbent Jeff Fortenberry earlier this month. 

Sioux City Journal

Gov. Pete Ricketts is standing firm in his opposition to a statewide mask mandate despite a recent surge in coronavirus cases that threatens to overwhelm Nebraska’s hospitals. Ricketts urged residents to voluntarily wear a mask, saying it’s one step of many to slow the pandemic. The Republican governor has focused heavily on getting voluntary compliance from residents, with campaigns urging people to avoid crowds, wash their hands frequently and stay home if they feel sick or show symptoms of the virus.

A rainbow-patterned communications box is in the foreground with the 62nd and Dodge bus stop canopy behind it
Courtney Bierman

Ahead of Metro Tranit’s ORBT line’s launch on Nov. 18, you might have noticed colorful additions to bus stops along Dodge Street. Metro Transit partnered with Omaha by Design, an urban policy and design nonprofit, to enlist 10 local artists to create designs for the communication boxes at some new ORBT canopies. 

Months after announcing it would abandon its longtime Indian chief head corporate logo, Mutual of Omaha has unveiled a new logo depicting an African lion. The Omaha, Nebraska-based company announced the new logo on Thursday. It replaces the depiction of a Native American chief that had been synonymous with the company for 70 years.

Siena Francis House Grapples With Covid

Nov 12, 2020
KETV

Officials with an Omaha homeless shelter say more than 250 residents are in quarantine or isolation following a coronavirus outbreak there. Linda Twomey is executive director of the Siena Francis House. She tells the Omaha World-Herald that about 255 residents have been in quarantine or isolation for about two weeks. Twomey says the shelter's latest count showed 54 residents had active COVID-19 cases. She says the shelter has been testing its clients and noticed a surge in positivity rates about 10 days to two weeks ago, prompting the quarantine.

Police say they're investigating after a man reported $35,000 in medical supplies stolen from his Lincoln driveway. The Lincoln Journal Star reports that the theft happened on the southeastern edge of the city around 4 p.m. Monday after the man had placed the boxed spinal implants and medical instruments by his garage to be picked up for shipping. Police say by the time FedEx showed up 20 minutes later, the supplies were already gone. The man reported the theft later that night.

The Nonprofit Association of the Midlands, which represents nonprofits across Nebraska and Southwest Iowa will host its annual Nonprofit Summit of the Midlands virtually this week on Nov.12-13, allowing more participants from across Nebraska and Iowa to attend.

Public Policy and Strategic Partnership Manager at The Nonprofit Association of the Midlands, Hannah Young, took time out of her busy schedule to chat with Mike Hogan at KIOS-FM about the summit and the program. 

Details about the summit can be found at https://www.nonprofitam.org/events/EventDetails.aspx?id=1334162

Gloria Steinem, writer, political activist, and feminist organizer, will be the featured speaker at Girls Inc.’s 20th annual Lunch for the Girls.  The luncheon will be held in an all-virtual format on Monday, November 16 from Noon - 1:00pm.

Executive Director of Girls Inc. Omaha, Roberta Wilhelm, joined Mike Hogan “Live & Local” to talk about the event and the food partners, Big Mama’s Kitchen and Best Burger, who are working with Girls Inc. to provide lunches on November 16 as part of the Girls Inc.’s annual Lunch for the Girls event.

Girls Inc. will receive $5 of each lunch sold through this special promotion and both restaurants are locally owned by Black and brown women (one of whom is a Girls Inc. Omaha alumna!): 

  • Big Mama's Kitchen - 2112 North 30th Street, Accelerator Suite 201, Omaha, NE 68111. Pick-up only or delivery available for 10+ orders to same destination. 
  • Best Burger - 8319 N 30th St, Omaha, NE 68112. Pick-up only or delivery available for 10+ orders to same destination.

More information can be found at https://www.eventcombo.com/e/lunch-for-the-girls-2020-with-gloria-steinem-40775

Populus Fund is a new regranting initiative organized by The Union for Contemporary Art, through the generous support of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts in order to support innovative artist projects throughout Omaha–Lincoln metros.  Populus Fund was founded to provide essential support for projects that expand our understanding of how art exists in the world, address community needs, and exemplify new ways of working in, for, and with the public.

Communications Director for The Union for Contemporary Art, Patrick Mainelli, joined Mike Hogan “Live & Local” to discuss the program, how to apply, and when the lottery drawings happen.

You can find more information at https://www.u-ca.org/populusfund

ACLU Takes Aim At OPD With Lawsuit

Nov 11, 2020

The Omaha Police Department is facing a lawsuit.  The ACLU of Nebraska has filed a lawsuit against the police department on behalf of the organization, Problac, stemming from the arrests of 120 people after they marched from the Old Market to Midtown in late July. A federal judge is currently considering an injunction in the case that would temporarily ban Omaha police from using pepper balls and other chemicals on demonstrators. 

Omaha World Herald

Dollar General plans to build a new $85 million distribution center in eastern Nebraska. The 800,000-square-foot facility in Blair will employ about 400 people after it opens in early 2022. The facility will handle both dry goods and fresh items that are sold by the discount retailer. The company said it picked Nebraska for the new distribution facility because of its proximity to its stores and the local business environment, including incentives the community offered. The facility will serve roughly 1,500 stores across the region. Nebraska Gov.

Lincoln Journal Star

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts and first lady Susanne Shore have gone into quarantine after both were exposed to a person with the coronavirus. Ricketts spokesman Taylor Gage says Ricketts and Shore had dinner outside with three other people on Sunday night. One of the people who was with them tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday. Gage says Ricketts and Shore will quarantine for 14 days. Neither is showing any symptoms, and both will get tested.

Vox

Nebraska officials are reacting to the election victory by President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.  Senator Ben Sasse released a statement offering his congratulations to Biden and Harris and urging them to be wise in the execution of their respective duties.  Congressman Don Bacon told the "Omaha World-Herald" that he urged President Donald Trump to take the high road.  Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts stressed that the election isn't over until it's scrutinized by the courts. 

Iowa casino officials worry they will lose business when several Nebraska casinos open now that voters in that state have approved gambling. Iowa officials said they worry that when casinos are built in Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska, they could hurt Iowa gaming revenues, especially in Council Bluffs, where four casinos currently operate. Other Iowa border towns with casinos include Sioux City, Onawa and Sloan.

Sarpy County

Gov. Pete Ricketts is imploring residents to follow Nebraska’s voluntary coronavirus safety guidelines as the number of new cases and hospitalizations surge to record levels. He also suggests that the state could reimpose social distancing mandates that were lifted in September. His comments Thursday came as the state’s top public health official warned that Nebraska needs to reduce the number of cases to avoid overwhelming hospitals. Nebraska reported a record 1,828 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday.

A pilot study that Nebraska Children’s Home Society (NCHS) is testing in collaboration with Frontiers of Innovation (FOI), the R&D platform of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University is currently underway at the Nebraska Children's Home Society.

CEO of NCHS, Lana Temple-Plotz, spent some time explaining the program to Mike Hogan "Live & Local" on KIOS-FM.  In the two-part interview below, Lana explains that the goal of FOI is to accelerate the development and adoption of science-based innovations that achieve breakthrough impact at scale for young children and families facing adversity.  Ultimately, the goal is to boost children’s and their caregivers’ executive functioning and self-regulation skills for greater success in school and life.

The TFP curriculum focuses on language to build executive functioning in both parents/caregivers and children.  The curriculum first establishes “Internal State Words” for thoughts, feelings, sensory perceptions, physical sensations and moral concepts.  As children learn, they can use these words to identify and express themselves and develop personal narratives about their experiences.  As parents’ skills related to executive function and self-regulation increase, they are able to model use of these language skills with their children. The parents also increase their ability to recognize and respond to their children and provide supportive relationships.

More information about Nebraska Children's Home Society can be found at https://nchs.org/

New York Times

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 continues to set records in Nebraska, and the state reported 1,440 new cases of the virus on Tuesday. State health officials said there were 673 people hospitalized with the virus on Tuesday, up from the previous day’s record of 642.  The state has reported 74,060 virus cases and 660 deaths since the pandemic began. The rate of new cases in Nebraska ranked seventh-highest among the states. Nebraska's largest hospitals have all begun limiting elective surgeries to help ensure they have enough beds free to treat critically ill patients. 

NET

Nebraska voters set a turnout record in the 2020 general election, with nearly 74% of eligible voters casting a ballot. Secretary of State Bob Evnen said Wednesday that voters beat the previous record from the 2016 general election by about 68,000 votes. Election officials statewide counted 936,106 votes cast. Evnen says 34 counties had a turnout of more than 80%, and four counties had a turnout of 88%. He says the record will likely increase once counties process an additional 20,000 to 25,000 ballots and provisional ballots that were submitted on Tuesday. 

Ho-Chunk Inc.

Gamblers could see new casinos in Omaha and Lincoln by this time next year now that voters have ended Nebraska’s longtime ban on the industry. Lance Morgan, the president and CEO of Ho-Chunk Inc., says the corporation plans to spend $300 million to add casinos at existing horse-racing tracks in both cities and South Sioux City. The South Sioux City project could take longer. Ho-Chunk is the economic development arm of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska.

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