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Old Market Shooter Evicted; Bars Will Not Reopen

2 hours ago

The Omaha bar owner involved in a deadly shooting during protests is being evicted.  The "Omaha World Herald" reports that the property owner of The Hive and The Gatsby in the Old Market says the businesses will not be allowed to reopen and bar owner Jacob Gardner has been evicted.  Gardner shot and killed 22-year-old James Scurlock on Saturday near 12th and Harney Streets.  The Douglas County Attorney's Office announced this week that Gardner will not be charged at this time, and the shooting was ruled to be in self-defense.

 

Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert has been granted emergency powers.  City council members voted yesterday to give the mayor the ability to extend a state of emergency declaration including a curfew for up to a week.   The council approved the measure on a five-to-one vote with Councilman Chris Jerram voting "no." Council members also voted yesterday to pass a resolution condemning the actions of the Minneapolis police officers involved in George Floyd's death.  The resolution noted that the city council grieves with Floyd's family for their loss and joins them in their call for justice and peace.

Gov. Pete Ricketts says Nebraska could see another flare-up of coronavirus cases because of the demonstrations over the death of George Floyd, but he concluded that allowing protesters to peacefully vent was more important than concerns about the pandemic. His comments came as new, lighter virus restrictions went into effect throughout most of the state. The restrictions approved by Ricketts allow bars, zoos, swimming pools and other public venues to reopen, with crowd limits based on a venue’s occupancy.

An Omaha bar owner won’t be charged  in connection with the fatal shooting of a 22-year-old man during weekend protests in downtown Omaha over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, authorities said Monday. The shooting occurred at around 11 p.m. Saturday in the city’s Old Market area and within a couple of blocks of where protesters had gathered. Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said Monday that Jake Gardner, who owns two bars near where the shooting happened, fired the fatal shot during a scuffle with protesters outside one of his bars.

Demonstrations are continuing in Omaha in response to the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.  Hundreds gathered in the Old Market yesterday for a fourth day of protests, and Deputy Police Chief Ken Kanger joined demonstrators in a march.  At one point, someone threw a water bottle at officers and pepper balls were deployed.  Police say there were two gun-related arrests, and at least a dozen others were taken into custody. Omaha, Bellevue, La Vista, Springfield and Papillion all announced 8:00 p.m. curfews;  Lincoln implemented a 9:00 p.m.

A top state health administrator says the coronavirus pandemic appears to be taking a disproportionate toll on Nebraska’s Hispanic, Asian and black residents. Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services CEO Dannette Smith says data compiled so far is startling and state officials need to do more to address the problem. Among the 9,630 infected people whose races are known, Smith says 2,430 were minorities. About 40% of the residents who have been hospitalized with the virus identify as Hispanic, even though that group represents just 11% of the state’s overall population.

A State of Emergency is issued in Omaha as protests continue in response to the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.  Mayor Jean Stothert announced the State of Emergency yesterday and it will last for 72 hours.  Omaha also implemented an 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. curfew that started last night.  Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts has activated the National Guard to help maintain peace in Omaha. Demonstrations took place yesterday in North Omaha and the Old Market.  The North Omaha rally at the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation ended before the 8:00 p.m.

State health officials reported one additional death from COVID-19 in Nebraska yesterday. There are now 164 deaths from the virus in the state, and 13-thousand-261 confirmed cases. The Department of Health and Human Services says 41-percent of hospital beds and 79-percent of ventilators are available. Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird announced yesterday that she will allow some local restaurants to expand their outdoor dining areas. Baird said she will take emergency action to give the restaurants the opportunity to increase their capacity while maintaining social distancing guidelines.

Nebraska’s tourism industry has lost millions of dollars in revenue to the coronavirus pandemic and will face major challenges as it tries to recover. Nebraska Tourism Commission Executive Director John Ricks says visitor spending was $152.6 million lower in March than it was at the same time last year. The tourism commission’s revenue from a state lodging tax dropped nearly 60% as well, indicating that hotels and motels were severely hit. Ricks says he’s hopeful that the governor’s recent moves to ease social-distancing restrictions on Monday will help.

Omaha-area hospitals are reporting another uptick in coronavirus patients, but local health officials are still managing the caseloads without any issues. Nebraska Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Gary Anthone, says Douglas County’s hospitals are treating 135 patients, up from 122 last week. But Anthone says the increase hasn’t had much of an impact on the available bed space or ventilators within the hospitals. Among the coronavirus patients is Nebraska state Sen. Mike Moser, of Columbus, who is receiving care at Nebraska Medical Center. Gov.

Nebraska will use its $1.1 billion share of federal coronavirus money to help small businesses, local governments, nonprofits and other groups hard-hit by the pandemic. Gov. Pete Ricketts provided a first glimpse of the state’s plan, which focuses heavily on small businesses and unemployment insurance for laid-off workers. Nebraska will receive $1.25 billion under the federal CARES Act, the emergency law passed to help Americans with the pandemic.

OPD Reacts To George Floyd Incident

May 28, 2020

(Omaha, NE)  --  Omaha police are reacting to an incident involving an African-American man in Minnesota who died after an officer knelt on his neck.  Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer says he and his deputy chiefs reviewed the video of George Floyd being detained by Minneapolis police.  Floyd died after the incident.  Omaha police say the Minneapolis officers' actions in the Floyd case are not consistent with their training and protocol of the profession. 

Governor Urges Self Quarantine For Lake Goers

May 28, 2020

(Lincoln, NE)  --  Nebraska officials are reacting to large parties that took place at a Missouri lake.  Governor Pete Ricketts is urging Nebraska residents who visited the Lake of the Ozarks during the Memorial Day weekend to stay home if they experience COVID-19 symptoms.  Officials in Missouri and Kansas have already advised people who attended the parties to self-quarantine for at least 14 days.  

The Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha is set to reopen to the public.  The zoo will open as a one-way walking safari on June 1st with social distancing and enhanced cleaning protocols in place.  Visitors will be asked to wear facemasks, and guests will be required to make reservations on the zoo website ahead of time. The Lincoln Children's Zoo is also reopening June 1st. The Zoo is kicking off its reopening with a Wildlife Walk paving a one-way path through the zoo with visits at many of its outdoor exhibits. Zoo officials said the indoor buildings will remain closed to visitors.

Nebraska is continuing to see an increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases.  State officials had reported 12-thousand-619 cases and 153 deaths as of yesterday.  There have been more than 33-hundred COVID-19 cases reported in Douglas County, while Dakota County has seen more than 16-hundred cases and Hall County has confirmed more than 14-hundred cases. A ninth COVID-19 related death is reported at the Life Care Center of Elkhorn.

Omaha Clinics Now Able To Test For Coronavirus Antibodies

May 26, 2020

Omaha health clinics can now test for coronavirus antibodies. Doctors at 88-Med in West Omaha told WOWT-TV6 that testing helps health care providers identify if someone was in contact with another person who had COVID-19. Doctors said the testing process takes 15-minutes at the most and results come back within a few days. Medical Directors at 88-Med say the benefit of antibody testing allows state health departments to make more well-informed decisions for the public.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning for rural parts of south-central Nebraska after up to 8 inches of rain fell in the region overnight. The weather service has issued the warning for parts of Adams, Kearney, Buffalo and Hall counties, reporting that roads in some low-lying areas were covered by floodwaters and impassable early Monday morning. The service says at least one house, near Kenesaw, has been flooded.

The number of COVID-19 cases is continuing to increase in Nebraska.  As of yesterday, there were 12-thousand-134 cases and 150 deaths reported statewide.  Douglas County has seen the most cases in the state with more than three-thousand. The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing the cancellation of many Memorial Day events in Nebraska.  Annual ceremonies at Memorial Park and Forest Lawn Cemetery in Omaha have been cancelled.  Services at the Omaha National Cemetery have also been called off.  Offutt Air Force Base hosted an online service at 9:00 a.m.

Protections For Renters Will Not Be Extended Past June 1st

May 22, 2020
Knowles Law Firm

A state proclamation to protect renters from eviction amid the COVID-19 pandemic is ending June 1st. Governor Ricketts yesterday said he is not extending the halt on evictions past May because he feels Nebraskans have received a sufficient budget of employment assistance, an extra 600-dollars a month to help people pay their rent. Legal Aid of Nebraska told WOWT that it would have made sense to halt evictions until the end of July when the federal suspension runs out.

Nebraska will let bars, zoos, movie theaters and swimming pools reopen and allow small concerts and auctions to resume on June 1 in all but four hard-hit counties. Gov. Pete Ricketts says he plans to further loosen social-distancing restrictions to strike a balance between public health and the need to move back toward normal life as people grow restless. His announcement came as the number of coronavirus deaths continues to rise. Businesses that do reopen will still face mandatory social distancing restrictions.

State health officials reported five additional deaths from COVID-19 in Nebraska yesterday. There are now 143 deaths from the virus in the state, and 11-thousand-425 confirmed cases. The Department of Health and Human Services says 43-percent of hospital beds and 77-percent of ventilators are available. A sixth resident at the Life Care Center in Elkhorn is dead from COVID-19. The nursing home says 57 residents have been diagnosed with the virus out of 79 who have been tested.

Creighton University has furloughed 190 employees and made several other spending cuts because of the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. Creighton officials said Wednesday they expect to have to cut at least $35 million from the university’s budget to offset declining revenue from tuition and fees. The university said it will suspend its contributions to employee retirement plans on July 1, and top executives will take a pay cut. Creighton said it also won’t pay merit raises this year and will cut discretionary spending.

Nebraska's governor says he's “very pleased” with a coronavirus testing program established by out-of-state contractors. Gov. Pete Ricketts' words of confidence in TestNebraska came Wednesday despite uncertainty that the program will meet a goal of 3,000 tests per day by the month’s end. Nebraska announced the $27 million, no-bid contract with Utah-based Nomi Health and other firms on April 21. The state's chief medical officer says Nebraska tested 1,197 people on Tuesday.

The coronavirus has hurt a vast majority of Nebraska’s businesses and about one in six of them are worried that it will force them to close their doors permanently. That's according to a report released Tuesday by the Nebraska Business Development Center at the University of Nebraska Omaha. The report highlights the sweeping damage caused by business closures and social-distancing measures to keep the virus from spreading. It says 87% of Nebraska businesses have been hurt because of the pandemic.

The number of COVID-19-related deaths is increasing in Nebraska.  The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services reported seven deaths yesterday, bringing the statewide total to 132 since the start of the pandemic.  There have been 10-thousand-846 coronavirus cases reported in Nebraska.

Our community will be giving midnight to midnight on May 20, 2020. How about you? Omaha Gives! has raised more than $49 million for local nonprofits since 2013 through more than 300,000 donations. Together, we care, we connect, we celebrate!

Ally Freeman, Director of Communications for the Omaha Community Foundation joins Mike Hogan on “Live & Local” to discuss the big day of giving, how you can win $1,000 for your favorite charity, and the importance of helping during a time when everyone’s contribution is so important.

You can get to the KIOS Omaha Gives! page here: https://www.omahagives.org/kios/overview

Or you can peruse the entire Omaha Gives! site at https://www.omahagives.org/index.php

OPS Allies With T-Mobile To Power iPads

May 19, 2020

The Omaha Public School District is teaming up with a national data provider for its iPad program.  The school board voted last night to approve a 10-point-eight-million-dollar agreement with T-Mobile.  The company will provide data services for the more than 56-thousand iPads the district will hand out to students this summer and fall.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts is warning that the coronavirus pandemic will likely lead to state budget cuts and force lawmakers to water down two of his biggest priorities, including a property tax bill for farmers and homeowners and a new business incentive package. His comments came after lawmakers announced plans to resume their regular session on July 20. It’s not clear whether the property tax or business incentive measures had enough support to pass even before the pandemic.

U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse’s attempt at humor during a speech at a Nebraska high school's online commencement, which included jokes about students’ fitness and psychologists and also blamed China for the coronavirus outbreak, has drawn strong criticism.

Republican U.S. Rep. Don Bacon has scored a surprise endorsement from former Nebraska state Sen. Bob Krist, the 2018 Democratic nominee for governor. Krist previously supported Omaha attorney Ann Ashford, who lost to Kara Eastman in Tuesday’s primary election. Krist was a Republican for most of his time in the nonpartisan Legislature, but left the GOP shortly before he announced his gubernatorial bid. He initially launched his campaign as an independent, but re-registered as a Democrat because of the difficulties nonpartisan candidates face in qualifying for the ballot.

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