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Arbor Day Farm is 260 acres of natural beauty and outdoor exploration in Nebraska City, Nebraska. This National Historic Landmark—and the birthplace of Arbor Day, the tree planter’s holiday—is packed with fun and adventure for the whole family.  Krystl Knabe is the Event Marketing Manager and she spent a little time with Mike Hogan talking about all the activities at the farm as well as the Radler Bike Festival.

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

Early In-Person Voting Deadline Soon For Omaha Primary

Mar 30, 2021
Civic Nebraska

Omaha's early in-person voting deadline is approaching.  Registered voters have until Monday, April 5th at 5:00 p.m. to cast an in-person ballot in advance of Omaha's primary election.   The Douglas County Election Commission office is offering extended office hours on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. for early voting.   Omaha's primary election is next Tuesday, April 6th. 

KIFI

Strong winds, warmer conditions and low humidity are combining to create a fire danger across several states, including parts of Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Missouri. The National Weather Service has issued red flag watches and warnings for most of all four states on Monday. A red flag warning means that critical fire weather conditions are present. The weather service says south to southwest winds of 15 to 30 mph, with gusts as high as 50 mph, are expected in areas covered by a red flag watch or warning. Outdoor burning is not recommended. 

The transmitter for KIOS-FM is having some work done on it to insure it continues to function.  So, it will be transmitting on "low power" for the next couple of days.  Some listeners may find the signal a little less clear than normal during that time.  We apologize for the inconvenience and want you to know that if you are able to listen at www.KIOS.org, the stream is coming through "loud and clear."

Thank you for your continued support!

After his 2017 performance to a sold-out Omaha audience, nationally renowned cellist Joshua Roman returns to the Holland Performing Arts Center stage – once again under the baton of Maestro Thomas Wilkins, the two join the Omaha Symphony to perform Saint-Saëns’ groundbreaking Concerto No. 1 in A minor for Cello and Orchestra.  The performances March 26 and 27 are Omaha’s chance not only to see one of the beloved Maestro’s final performances as Music Director of the Omaha Symphony, but also to see one of the United States’ greatest soloists in action.

In this two-part interview, Joshua shares some insights into his approach to music, fond memories of Maestro Wilkins, and much more with Mike Hogan on “Live & Local.”

For information or tickets to this socially distanced Holland Center performance, go to https://www.omahasymphony.org/concerts/wilkins-roman

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/

Data Center Dynamics

Facebook is again expanding a data center it is building in the Omaha suburbs. The social media giant said Wednesday that it will spend an additional $400 million to add another 1 million square feet to the data center that is partly operational southwest of Omaha in Sarpy County. The company estimates that it will spend nearly $1.5 billion total on the project that will now expand from Papillion into Springfield and include 3.6 million square feet. When the project is completed in 2024, Facebook said the data center will employ roughly 300 people.

Washington Times

The top prosecutor serving Omaha and surrounding areas in Douglas County has convened a single grand jury to investigate more than a dozen in-custody deaths — including two people killed by Omaha police. The Omaha World-Herald reports that Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine is leading the process and that the unusually high number of case represents a backlog as courts sought to avoid convening jurors and others during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Among the cases the grand jury will consider is the Nov.

Wet Weather Leads To Wind Turbine Blade Obstructing I-80

Mar 24, 2021
WOWT

A turbine blade is to blame for stopping traffic on a Nebraska interstate.  The Sarpy County Sheriff's Office says a wind turbine blade slipped onto Interstate-80 near Gretna yesterday when the trailer carrying it went onto the shoulder.  Authorities closed westbound I-80 until the blade could be removed.  Officials say weather played a role in the accident. 

Omaha World Herald

Federal wildlife officials have confirmed that a gray wolf was shot and killed last fall in north-central Nebraska south of Bassett. The Omaha World-Herald reports that the 81-pound male wolf was shot Nov. 16 by a rancher checking on his livestock. Wildlife officials said the wolf had coloration like a coyote, but was much larger. The rancher told authorities he had recently lost three yearling calves to what he suspected were coyote attacks. The World-Herald learned of the killing through records it obtained from the U.S.

Nebraska 4H

Despite being much smaller than normal because of the coronavirus, last years Nebraska State Fair ended with nearly $1.8 million profit. That was an improvement of more than $1.5 million from the 2019 fair. An annual audit found the 2020 fair had revenue of $6.5 million, down nearly 37% from the previous year. But because the fair had no carnival and paid entertainment, expenses were only $3.7 million, about $7 million less than 2019. Auditors said with other factors considered, the fair had a net profit of about $1.8 million, compared to a nearly $1.5 million loss in 2019. 

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

Omaha World Herald

Residents of 12 units of an apartment complex in Omaha are out of their homes after a fire. The blaze broke out Saturday afternoon at the Fontenelle Hills Apartment complex. WOWT-TV reports that authorities believe improper disposal of smoking materials is to blame. The fire began in one of the units then spread into the attic and into other units, causing the roof to collapse. The building was constructed in the 1970s, before sprinklers were required. A few people were treating for smoke inhalation but no serious injuries were reported. The building was a total loss. 

legacy.com

A former longtime Nebraska state lawmaker has died at the age of 79. Dwite Pedersen of Omaha served in the Nebraska Legislature from 1993 to 2009. Pedersen was a leading advocate for alcohol and drug rehabilitation and worked with troubled youth and prison inmates. Pedersen represented the Elkhorn area of Omaha and ran unsuccessfully for Omaha City Council in 2017. He worked as a counselor focused on youth and was a recovered alcoholic who had been sober for 40 years. He also was known to help prison inmates, including those who rarely got visits from others. 

ABC13

Heating bills are showing up now in many rural Nebraska communities, and residents are shocked at what they’re seeing. The Omaha World-Herald reports that bills for residents of Pender that are typically $200 to $250 ballooned to $900 because of the cold stretch in February that caused a spike in wholesale natural gas prices due to high demand and a lack of supply. Utilities that had to buy gas during that period got burned. Municipal governments are also are feeling the shock.

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.

Omaha Daily Record

Home prices in Omaha are on the rise despite the ongoing pandemic.  The Housing Price Project at the University of Nebraska at Omaha shows the average price of single-family home rose by more than ten-percent in 2020. That's a nearly eight percent jump compared to the previous 20 years. 

 

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.

Omaha Police Chief Defers Retirement

Mar 18, 2021
Omaha World Herald

Omaha's police chief wants to stay on the job. Chief Todd Schmaderer is deferring his retirement eligibility and wants to continue in his role for up to five more years. Mayor Jean Stothert's office made the announcement on Wednesday.  Schmaderer was eligible to retire last month after 25 years on the force in Omaha. He's been chief of police since 2012.

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

River-Spanning Road Repair Project Begins

Mar 17, 2021
AARoads

A major bridge repair project is underway in the Omaha area.  The project to repair the Interstate-480 bridge between Council Bluffs and Omaha began yesterday as crews started working to set up a temporary lane.  Officials say the 40-million-dollar project will last about two-and-a-half years. 

Ponca Hills Fireman Laid To Rest With Honors

Mar 17, 2021
Washington County Enterprise

A fallen firefighter is laid to rest.  A procession took place yesterday to honor the life of Dennis Bender, who died last week while fighting a grass fire near Fort Calhoun.  Hundreds of first responders and law enforcement took part in the procession, and residents lined the route near the cemetery.  The Ponca Hills Fire Station also posted a sign thanking Bender for 50 years of service. 

Marietta Daily Journal

Omaha’s mayor says she’ll return to work and seek reelection after her husband, a prominent local surgeon, died earlier this month from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Mayor Jean Stothert on Tuesday thanked the public and her campaign opponents for their support following the death of her husband, Dr. Joseph Stothert. She says he would have wanted her to continue as mayor and recalled how he joined her door-knocking campaigns, her town hall events and her annual State of the City addresses. She says her children, Elizabeth Leddy and Dr. Andrew Stothert, have also encouraged her to run.

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/

Nebraska state tax collections soared far above projections in February, but the numbers are likely to come back down in the next few months. The Nebraska Department of Revenue reported net tax receipts last month of $449 million, which is 96% higher than the certified forecast of $229 million. The surge was driven by net corporate income tax collections that were nearly 602% higher than expected and individual income tax collections that were nearly 164% above projections.

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.

KKTV

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts is railing against a proclamation by the governor of Colorado that encourages people to avoid meat for one day a week, calling it a “direct attack on our way of life” and signing a pro-meat declaration of his own. Ricketts surrounded himself with top officials from Nebraska’s meat, agricultural and restaurant industries on Monday as he declared Saturday “Meat on the Menu Day” in Nebraska. The day was chosen to coincide with Colorado’s “MeatOut Day,” a nonbinding proclamation signed by Gov. Jared Polis late last month and backed by an animal rights group.

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/

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