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Nebraska will reopen a series of federally funded grant programs to help small businesses and nonprofits that are struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic. Nebraska still has $160 million available from the $1 billion it received under the federal CARES Act. The state will accept applications for assistance from 10 a.m. Wednesday until Nov. 13 on a first-come, first-served basis.

President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden are holding a final debate Thursday in Nashville, with Kristen Welker of NBC News moderating. After a haphazard first debate, and a canceled second one, this final debate has new rules established by the Commission on Presidential Debates. Follow live updates and analysis.

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This Year's Derecho Storm Goes Down In History Books

Oct 19, 2020
Andrew Pritchard / Youtube

The August derecho is being called one of the worst storms ever.  The National Weather Service says the derecho was the worst thunderstorm disaster in U.S. history.  The Weather Service estimates the storm did seven-and-a-half-billion dollars worth of damage.  That's more damage than nine of the ten hurricanes to hit the U.S. this year.

ACLU-Funded Billboard Demands Justice For Bearheels

Oct 19, 2020
NET

A new billboard in Omaha is calling for justice for a man who died in police custody.  The billboard at 53rd and Center features Zachary Bear Heels, who died in Omaha police custody in 2017 after he was shocked 12 times and punched in the head.  None of the officers involved in the incident were convicted, but one officer lost his job.  The ACLU funded the billboard.

NBC News

President Donald Trump is pushing back at Sen. Ben Sasse on Twitter, calling the Nebraska senator “a liability to the Republican Party, and an embarrassment” to the state. The president’s Twitter attack Saturday came after Sasse told constituents in a telephone town hall Wednesday that Trump has “flirted with white supremacists,” mocks Christian evangelicals in private, and “kisses dictators’ butts.” Sasse is running for a second term. He made his comments in response to a question about why he has been willing to publicly criticize a president of his own party.

Nebraska Medicine

The number of people hospitalized with the coronavirus and the rate of new cases remains high in Nebraska. The state said Tuesday that 299 people were hospitalized with COVID-19. That’s just under the record of 305 people set last weekend but well above the spring peak of 232 set on May 27. An Associated Press analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University shows the state continues to have the seventh-highest rate of new cases. The seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Nebraska declined slightly over the past two weeks, going from 13.22% on Sept. 28 to 13.08% on Monday.

Omaha Public Schools brought students back to in-person classes with Phase 1 of a several phased approach.  Superintendent of OPS, Dr. Cheryl Logan took the time to sit down with Mike Hogan, “Live & Local” to answer questions.

In this four part interview, Dr. Logan talks about how the first week has gone, what they expect for the next phase, and how OPS can help parents and how important parents are to the success of the students.

All four parts of the interview are below.  If you are looking for more information or resources please check https://district.ops.org/

  

October is Blindness Awareness Month, and the nonprofit Outlook Enrichment typically has its biggest fundraising event of the year, the Vision Beyond Sight Banquet, to raise awareness during October of the capabilities of the visually impaired, as well as the needs of people affected by vision loss in our community. Since this is far from a typical year, Outlook Enrichment decided to cancel having a large group gathering and is instead going to celebrate Blindness Awareness Month in a new way.

Kaneko’s new exhibition, Community, will progressively open throughout October with three special Openings of exhibits by Watie White, Pamela Conyers-Hinson, and Therman Statom.  On October 29th their first-floor galleries will open to the public and by the end of November, the Tessellation Project installation and Juan Sanchez’s exhibit will open in our second-floor galleries.  Welcome back to KANEKO!

  

Initially started nearly thirty years ago in response to increased requests from members in the North Omaha community seeking food, clothing, shelter and financial assistance, the Heart Ministry Center has always aimed to assist people needing life’s most basic necessities.

CEO Eric Crawford joined Mike Hogan “Live and Local” to discuss how the organization has grown and uses many tools to help people get their lives in order and become self-sufficient.

More information can be found at https://heartministrycenter.org/.

Nonprofit Quarterly

Nebraska will soon celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day.  Under a new law that will take effect on November 13th, Indigenous Peoples' Day will be celebrated along with Columbus Day starting in 2021.  The bill's sponsor, State Senator Patty Pansing Brooks, tells WOWT it is important to recognize indigenous people for the impact in their communities.

WDUN

As Iowa surpassed 100,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and remained the fourth-highest state for rate of infection, the mayor of Des Moines expressed concern that President Donald Trump’s rally this week at the city’s airport could become a super-spreader event. The state averaged 1,300 new cases per day over the past four days. On Saturday the state posted 21 more deaths after recording 14 deaths on Friday. on Sunday, the state reported six more deaths. As of Monday, positive cases in Iowa reached 100,052 and 1,464 people have died since the virus surfaced in March.

Record Highs Of Gambling In Iowa This Fall

Oct 12, 2020

The state of Iowa is setting records when it comes to sports betting.  The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission says people bet more than 72-million dollars in September, up 43 percent from August.  Iowa's casinos kept about five-million dollars of that money, the state keeps about seven percent in tax revenue.

State health officials announced 663 new cases of COVID-19 in Nebraska yesterday. There are now 50,059 confirmed cases of the virus in the state, and 514 deaths. The Department of Health and Human Services reports 29 percent of hospital beds and 80 percent of ventilators are available. Television station KSNB reports that Grand Island Public Schools is experiencing a rapid rise in teachers and staff having to quarantine after testing positive or being exposed to the virus.

Omaha World Herald

Republican U.S. Rep. Don Bacon has scored a big endorsement from a former political rival who lost to him in 2016. Former U.S. Rep. Brad Ashford, a Democrat, announced he will support Bacon in this year’s general election. Bacon is running against Democrat Kara Eastman in a competitive race for Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District, encompassing the Omaha area. Ashford lost his seat to Bacon in 2016 after serving one term in Congress. He released a statement announcing his endorsement minutes before a televised political debate between Bacon and Eastman.

Doane University Facing Significant Program Cuts

Oct 8, 2020
The College Post

A Nebraska college could cut dozens of programs.  Doane University in Crete has recommended several programs for elimination including International Studies, Physics, Philosophy, Political Science and Criminal Justice.  School officials say the proposed cuts are part of a process that began in January.  Officials have not revealed how many jobs would be impacted by eliminating the programs.

The Nebraska prosecutor who declined to file charges after a white bar owner fatally shot a Black man during protests last spring has switched political parties after Democrats criticized his handling of the case. The state GOP says Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine planned to register as a Republican on Wednesday. The Nebraska Democratic Party passed a resolution last month that said Kleine “perpetuated white supremacy” with his comments about 22-year-old James Scurlock, who was shot and killed by Jake Gardner after they scuffled outside of Gardner’s bar.

KXAN

Critics are questioning the police response to an unpermitted parade in support of President Donald Trump through the heart of Omaha. Witnesses say the Sunday afternoon parade of trucks and vehicles flying Trump flags and signs blocked traffic and ran through red lights and that cross traffic was blocked by parade participants on motorcycles. Police tell the Omaha World-Herald that parade participants had left by the time officers responded to reports of the parade along Dodge Street. Police confirmed caravan participants had not secured a parade permit beforehand.

KETV

The number of COVID-19 cases is continuing to climb in Nebraska.  Health officials reported 498 new cases yesterday, bringing the total in the state to 48-thousand-757.  The coronavirus has claimed 507 lives in Nebraska since the beginning of the pandemic.

Lincoln Journal Star

Some of the biggest conservative names in Nebraska politics are lining up against ballot measures to legalize casinos, which they argue would fuel an increase in gambling addictions and related social problems. Opponents of the legalization measure include Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts, former Gov. Kay Orr and U.S. Rep. Tom Osborne, a former Nebraska football coach. Voters will decide next month whether to allow casinos at state-licensed race tracks in Omaha, Lincoln, Grand Island, Columbus and South Sioux City. In-person, early voting for the general election started Monday.

ACLU of Nebraska

A lawsuit accuses Omaha police of using excessive force when they responded to protests against police brutality and racial injustice in Nebraska's largest city earlier this year with pepper balls and mass arrests. The American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska filed a federal lawsuit Monday challenging police tactics. City officials said they believe police acted properly, and previously, they have defended the arrests made during protests because police believed the gatherings had the potential to become violent and in some cases violence had already broken out.

The Lincoln Journal Star reports that researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln on Thursday released the 2017 Economic Impact of the Nebraska Agricultural Production Complex report. The report uses 2017 data because that was the year of the most recent Census of Agriculture. The report found that agriculture accounts for nearly 34% of business sales, 22% of the gross state product and nearly a quarter of the state’s jobs. Those figures were reported even though 2017 was the lowest-income year for Nebraska farmers and ranchers of the decade.

NBC News

Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse is working from his Nebraska home until October 12th.  Sasse attended a gathering for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett at the White House Rose Garden last month, and doctors advised him to stay inside as much as possible after close interaction with multiple people who were infected with COVID-19.  Several people who attended the event later tested positive for COVID-19, including President Trump.  A spokesperson for Sasse says the senator has had two COVID-19 tests since then, and both tests came back negative.

Charles Schwab’s $26 billion acquisition of rival broker TD Ameritrade is set to close next week after the companies received final approval from regulators. The Federal Reserve signed off on the stock swap deal this week. The companies said the deal that was announced last November — not long after both brokers eliminated commissions on most stock trades — will close on Tuesday. Schwab and TD Ameritrade haven’t said how many jobs are expected to be eliminated after the merger, but significant cost cuts are expected.

KOLO

State health officials announced 621 new cases of COVID-19 in Nebraska yesterday. There are now 46,185 confirmed cases of the virus in the state, and 493 deaths. The Department of Health and Human Services reports 29 percent of hospital beds and 78 percent of ventilators are available. There are 86 new cases of COVID-19 in Douglas County K-12 schools. The cases were reported in the last two weeks. The County Health Department says 46 cases are in staff members while 40 cases are students.  The department says more than 350 people are quarantining, while another 400 are self-isolating.

Family, Inc. in Council Bluffs is up for a huge grant and all you have to do is vote online.  Director of Public Health Services at Family, Inc., Jenny Sharrick, joined Mike Hogan, “Live & Local” to discuss how they made it to the top 200 finalists nationwide to compete for votes online to be awarded $25,000 for their project.

Voting ends on 10/2 and the top 40 organizations all get a $25,000 grant.  If you would like to vote for Family, Inc. you can go to https://www.neighborhoodassist.com/entry/2034107

FAMILY, Inc. (www.FamilyIA.org) provides public health and family support services to women, children and families in Pottawattamie and Mills Counties. It is FAMILY’s primary goal to assist parents in becoming their child’s first and most influential teacher through education, empowerment, and wellness. With offices located in Council Bluffs and Walnut, Iowa the agency serves both urban and rural communities. These services are administered in homes, shelters, and community settings. Through its various programs, FAMILY works to ensure families have access to the services and support they need to allow their children to enter school healthy, safe and ready to learn.

The general voting website for any other Omaha/Council Bluffs organization, is www.neighborhoodassist.com.

Polls across Nebraska will be open as usual for the November 3rd General Election, even with a high number of people voting early. Nebraska Secretary of State Bob Evnen says COVID-19 protections and precautions used in the state's primary election will again be in place for the general election. He says as more is known about COVID-19, he expects the percentage of those going to the polls in November to be higher than in the primary. Evnen also urged voters not to give their ballot to an unfamiliar third party who promises to turn it in on their behalf. Along with Gov.

Lincoln First In Nation For Census Participation

Oct 1, 2020
WOWT

The city of Lincoln is tops in the nation when it comes to census reporting.  Lincoln ranks first among cities over 250-thousand people in census participation.  The city spent 40-thousand-dollars to encourage people to fill out their 2020 U.S. Census forms.  Lancaster County officials say the community will receive an additional 13-thousand-dollars in federal funding over the next decade for every person who takes part in the census.

United Way of the Midlands hosted “Unlock the Power Within You,” a free, virtual event featuring special guest Chris Gardner, on September 23rd.

Gardner, who is ranked the 5th most motivational speaker in the world, is a critically-acclaimed author, entrepreneur, single parent and philanthropist.  His autobiography, The Pursuit of Happyness, served as inspiration for the 2006 film starring Will Smith.

Before the virtual event, Gardner took the time to chat with Mike Hogan “Live & Local” about numerous topics.  The full, two part episode is posted below.  In this discussion, Chris discussed his experiences with poverty and homelessness and shared how his love for his son helped him overcome many of the challenges he faced.

If you missed the event, the link to it is below.  https://www.facebook.com/UnitedWayMidlands/videos/326339398690210/

More information is available at https://www.unitedwaymidlands.org/

Due to forecasted cold weather, the previously scheduled free outdoor Omaha Symphony performances at 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3 and Sunday, Oct 4 will now be held indoors at the Holland Performing Arts Center Peter Kiewit Concert Hall.   

Dani Meier, Vice President of Artistic Administration and a member of the bass section, joined Mike Hogan on KIOS-FM to chat about the thrill of getting together and playing live music again.

Both performances will remain free and open to the public, but the events will now require that audiences RSVP via free ticket reservation.  It is recommended that attendees reserve their ticket ahead of time. Tickets may be reserved online at ticketomaha.com, by calling Ticket Omaha at (402) 345-0606, or through the Ticket Omaha app.  

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