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The Omaha Academy of Ballet (OAB) is proud to present the 15th annual Omaha Dance Project (ODP), which will feature an impressive line-up of local and regional dance on January 24-26, 2020.

ODP 2020 will feature: La Esmeralda, a classical ballet based on Victor Hugo’s Hunchback of Notre-Dame, re-staged by Artistic Director Juliette Henning (Omaha), Flamenco Omaha, as well as works by Ashley Durst (Lincoln) and Lauren Wichert (Omaha).

Juliette Henning stops by the studios to chat with Mike Hogan "Live & Local" about the show, the exciting talent involved, and how you can enjoy the show.

More information and tickets for Omaha Dance Project are available at http://oabdance.org/home.aspx or by calling 402-346-0469.  All performances will be at the Mary Joy and Tal Anderson Performing Arts Center, 7400 Military Ave, Omaha, NE.

Max I. Walker is hosting the 13th annual "Ultra Chic Boutique" dress sale on Saturday, February 1st.  The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at "A View on State Street," located at 134th and State streets.  The event will include the standard dress sale (all dresses are sold for $30!) as well as a Dress Raffle Fashion Show.  This part of the event highlights some of the best and most beautiful gowns that have been donated to the sale, and raffles off the ‘first right to purchase’ these special dresses for just $30 to shoppers.  Some of these dresses originally cost hundreds, even a thousand dollars.

All proceeds are donated to the Alzheimer’s Association, Nebraska Chapter.  The 2018 and 2019 sales reached a combined $38,000 for the association.  Dress donations are still being accepted at all Max I. Walker locations. Employees will clean, press, and store the dresses for no charge.

Steph Dorland, (Marketing Director at Max I. Walker), and Casey Walker, (Director of Retail Operations at Max I. Walker) stop by the studios at 33rd and Burt to chat "Live & Local" with Mike Hogan about the event and how Alzheimer's has touched everyone, including the Walker family.

Dresses will be available in all shapes, sizes, and colors.  The event is a more economical and eco-friendly way to shop.  More information can be found at https://www.maxiwalker.com/ultra-chic-boutique/

Authorities say an investigation into reports of large drones flying in groups after dark since November has confirmed nothing unusual or criminal. They're mostly hobbyist drones, commercial aircraft, stars, planets and weather phenomena. Yet if history is any guide, the investigation involving flights of a heat-detecting plane in northeastern Colorado will settle nothing for many people. They've also been seen in Nebraska and Wyoming. Dan Carlson says drones have flown after dark near his Nebraska farm four times this year. He suspects military involvement. U.S.

Lawmaker Proposes Train System

Jan 15, 2020

A Nebraska lawmaker is proposing a new train system to link the state's two largest cities.  State Senator Adam Morfeld unveiled a proposal yesterday that calls for building a train system between Lincoln and Omaha.  Morfeld says a train system would boost each city's economy and help attract jobs.  The proposal also calls for a study to be conducted to determine the cost and economic impact of the project.

 

New Recycling Company In Place

Jan 15, 2020

The city of Omaha is moving forward with a new recycling company.  City officials have awarded a 312-thousand-dollar contract to FCC to haul recyclable materials from collection site.  FCC officials told city officials yesterday that trucks and containers have been ordered and employees are being hired.

 

George Joslyn loved to entertain in what is considered the “original man cave.” He and his friends would gather for billiards, cocktails, cigars and even bowling in the Castle basement. One can imagine many a lively conversation were had amongst George and his guests.

Janice Pickering, Manager of Programs & Events at Joslyn Castle, joins Mike Hogan "Live & Local" to talk about the third annual Speakeasy Series.  This is an opportunity to tour the “original man cave,” enjoy the spirits of the evening as well as hand picked food pairings.  A fantastic evening of sights, sounds, and tastes.

The evening begins with a drink and tour of George Joslyn's rarely-seen mancave basement.  After one explores the former epic space, you'll get settled in for an evening of sipping and noshing with some of Omaha's most respected experts in the field.

The series runs January through April on the third Thursday, and Joslyn Castle will host a tasting featuring one of the following favorites: Rum, Brandy, Scotch, and Gin!

More information can be found at https://joslyncastle.com/events/special-events/speakeasy-series.html

Papillion Landing Opens

Jan 14, 2020

 Papillion's new recreation center is open for business.  Papillion Landing opened its doors for the first time yesterday morning.  The 51-million-dollar facility includes gyms, an indoor water park and weight rooms.  Nearly 13-hundred people have signed up for memberships at the new facility.

 

The director of Nebraska's Medicaid program is stepping down in the middle of the state's effort to expand coverage under the federal health care law. Officials say Matthew Van Patton, the director of the Medicaid and Long-Term Care program, will leave his job effective Feb. 7. Van Patton had served in the job for almost two years and was a key leader in the effort to expand coverage for low-income residents. He was appointed by Republican Gov.

Military retirees in Nebraska will get to keep more of their retirement benefits under a bill that won first-round approval from lawmakers. The bill would exempt half of a military retiree's benefit from Nebraska state taxes, a key priority for Gov. Pete Ricketts. The measure advanced 46-0 on Monday through the first of three required votes. Sen. Tom Brewer, who sponsored the bill, said the measure would help Nebraska attract and retain military service members after they retire.

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has prepared special Valentine’s Day offers for people who want to mark the day at a state park. Discounts and special packages are available at Eugene T. Mahoney State Park, Ponca State Park, Platte River State Park and Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area. A park entry permit is required.

Nebraska businesses that hire felons could get a tax break under a measure before lawmakers that’s designed to make it easier for them to get jobs and reduce the likelihood they’ll re-offend. Supporters say the bill would encourage employers to take a risk on potential employees whose criminal records limit their job prospects, although it’s not yet clear how they’ll cover the cost of the proposed tax deduction. The measure by Sen. Justin Wayne, of Omaha, would allow companies to deduct 65% of the wages paid to workers with a felony conviction during their first year of employment.

Due to expected snow, Omaha Public Schools has released the following message:

“Greetings: 

Due to the inclement weather in the forecast, Omaha Public Schools is canceling all after school and school related activities today. Omaha Public Schools Foundation Kids Club will also be closed. Students will remain under supervision until they are picked up. 

Buses may be delayed during drop-off due to predicted conditions mid-to-late afternoon.

Please stay safe and warm.”

The Omaha Community Playhouse kicks off 2020 with the multi-award winning play A Raisin in the Sun.  Winner of five Tony Awards®, A Raisin in the Sun confronts life in South Side Chicago through the eyes of the Younger family. After years of battling poverty and racism, the Youngers hope an unexpected insurance check will be their ticket to a better life. With the looming fear that this may be their only chance, the family is torn apart as they struggle to agree on the most effective way to use the money.

Local actor Brandon Williams plays the role of George Murchison and he joins Mike Hogan "Live & Local" to discuss the importance of this play as well as the current relevance in today's climate.  The show opens Friday, January 17th.

More information can be found at http://www.omahaplayhouse.com/tickets/view/raisinsun/

Snow For Southeast Nebraska Friday, Affecting P.M. Commute

Jan 10, 2020

The National Weather Service says accumulating snow is expected Friday along and south of Interstate 80 in southeastern Nebraska.  The afternoon and evening commute will be affected.  Freezing rain and-or sleet could precede the snow this morning over parts of the southeast, according to the weather service.  Omaha and Lincoln could measure up to four inches of snow.

 

Nebraska prison officials say the hunt is on for an inmate who walked away from a low-level corrections center where he was serving up to 10 years for weapons and assault counts — including assault on a police officer. The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services says in a news release that 35-year-old Richard Reynolds walked away from the Community Corrections Center in Lincoln on Wednesday after removing an electronic monitoring device from his ankle. Officials say Reynolds was a little more than two years into his six- to 10-year sentence when he escaped.

Nebraska voters who want to cast an early ballot in the upcoming primary election can request their ballot as early as next week. The Nebraska secretary of state's office says Monday is the first day to request an early ballot for the May 12 election. Secretary of State Bob Evnen says counties that receive requests for early ballots will maintain a list, and those ballots will be among the first ones mailed on April 6. Evnen says some counties also maintain a permanent early voting list, which allows counties to contact voters who have indicated an ongoing preference to vote by mail.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers doesn't expect to eliminate from its reservoir system all the leftover water from last year's near record runoff that led to massive flooding along the Missouri River. Officials are raising the current releases in expectation of high spring runoff again this year. The Corps' John Remus told the Omaha World-Herald the system needs to make as much space as possible in light of forecasts for warmer than normal weather and higher than normal runoff.

A Colorado sheriff has rescinded his previous call for the public to be on the lookout for a command vehicle that may be operating the mysterious groups of drones spotted in recent weeks over parts of Colorado and Nebraska. The Phillips County Sheriff's Office said in a statement Wednesday that the request for public assistance is no longer relevant, without offering more details. A person who attended a closed-door meeting about the drones on Monday for law enforcement and government officials said authorities were never looking for such a vehicle.

Omaha Official Seeks Alternative Housing

Jan 9, 2020

An Omaha City Council member is looking for new ways to bring affordable housing to the community.  Council Member Ben Gray says he is researching using steel shipping containers as affordable housing for people with limited incomes.  The Fair Deal Market Village in north Omaha already uses the containers to house businesses. 

  

Nebraska's attorney general says the state's ability to fight human trafficking has improved substantially over the last several years thanks to recent laws that increase penalties for traffickers. Attorney General Doug Peterson said Monday that Nebraska is now well-positioned to address the problem. His comments came after Gov. Pete Ricketts proclaimed Monday as Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Nebraska received an “A" grade for its policies last year from Shared Hope International, a group that advocates on the issue of human trafficking.

The Lincoln City Council is cracking down on illegal dumping at the city's recycling collection sites. The council voted unanimously Monday to make it illegal to put recyclables anywhere but in the proper containers at the 19 collection sites available to residents. The new ordinance also bans dumping at the sites or in the recycling containers anything that can't be recycled. People have left garbage and other nonrecyclable objects at the sites, including hot tubs, tires, beds, televisions, wood pallets and pianos.

The Federal Aviation Administration is working with state and local authorities to determine who's behind a series of mysterious nighttime drone flights over northeastern Colorado and western Nebraska. A Colorado sheriff hosted a meeting with law enforcement agencies and government officials Monday to talk about the recent rural sightings. The drones reportedly have 6-foot wingspans and fly in grid-like patterns hundreds of feet in the air in groups of six to 10. The FAA says it's taking the sightings seriously and working to find out who's operating the devices and why.

Officials say three people have been arrested after a package containing tobacco, cellphones and synthetic marijuana were thrown over over a wall of the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln. The Nebraska State Patrol says in a news release that an 18-year-old man was arrested around 8 a.m. Tuesday after he was seen walking near the penitentiary and throwing a package over the wall. Nebraska Department of Corrections officials say it contained two cellphones, tobacco and K2. Two other men, ages 22 and 21, found in a vehicle across the street from the penitentiary also were arrested.

Nebraska lawmakers have kicked off their 2020 session with an expected focus on property taxes, the state's flood recovery and a surplus of tax revenue after several years of tight budgets. The new, 60-day session will put senators in a time crunch as they consider fresh proposals in addition to legislation carried over from last year's 90-day session. The first proposals slated for debate include a tax exemption for military retirees and a bill that would allow teachers to physically restrain violent students in classrooms.

Film Streams is a 501(c)3 nonprofit arts organization dedicated to enhancing the cultural environment of the Omaha-Council Bluffs area through the presentation and discussion of film as an art form.

Film Streams oversees two wonderful and distinct cinemas: the Ruth Sokolof Theater, the two-screen venue we opened in 2007 within the Saddle Creek Records complex in North Downtown Omaha, and the historic Dundee Theater, Omaha’s longest surviving neighborhood cinema.

Film Streams Communications Director, Patrick Kinney, stops by the studios at 33rd and Burt to chat with Mike Hogan about all the programs and film showings scheduled for this quarter.

More information about the education programs, workshops, and film schedules can be found at

https://filmstreams.org/

A state lawmaker concerned about overcrowding in Nebraska prisons plans to propose building a new 300-bed work release facility in Omaha. State Sen. Steve Lathrop says he'll introduce a bill calling on the state to begin planning a new community corrections facility. Building the new facility could cost more than $40 million, but Lathrop's bill would only require the state to plan for the new work release facility. Nebraska's prisons currently hold 2,006 more inmates than their design capacity of 3,535 inmates. The state's prison system is at 157% of its design capacity.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts will attempt to lower taxes for homeowners, farmers and military retirees this year while setting aside money to help the state recover from the historic 2019 floods. The governor tells The Associated Press he'll present lawmakers with a property tax package during the new legislative session that begins Wednesday. He says he'll also continue pushing for one of his earlier priorities, a tax exemption for military retirees equal to half of their half of their benefit income.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A group representing Nebraska public-school teachers is pushing once again for a state law that would allow educators to physically restrain violent students who pose an imminent threat. The Nebraska State Education Association released a survey of its members Thursday in which teachers reported getting bruises, cuts, torn ligaments, a broken nose and concussions from students. At least one educator said she was hit in the stomach while pregnant. The group has repeatedly asked lawmakers for legal protections over the last few years, but the measures have stalled.

(Brownville, NE)  --  The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is announcing a special inspection to be conducted at Nebraska's Cooper Nuclear Power Plant.  The NRC says it will be reviewing the circumstances that contributed to a recent problem with one of the Brownville plant's two service water systems.  According to the federal commission, the Cooper plant was operating at full power on December 6th when the plant operator was unable to establish water flow through a large pipe that discharges water used to cool some of the plant's safety-related equipment.  It was determined that large buildu

Midwest Economy Showing Growth

Jan 3, 2020

(Omaha, NE)  --  The Midwest economy is showing a bit of growth heading into the new year.  Creighton University Economist Ernie Goss says December's Mid-America Business Conditions Index is just under 51, which has the nine-state region including Iowa above growth neutral for the second time in the last three months.  He says the business managers in a recent survey say the inability to hire skilled workers and trade relations with China continue to be their biggest challenges.

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