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Dr. Derrick Fox, DMA, Director of Choral Activities at UNO, has partnered with the Country Music Association (CMA) Foundation to provide an online platform where music educators nationwide can brainstorm and share ideas on how to adapt music education for all grade levels (K-12 and college) to the challenges presented by the pandemic. 

This new collaborative effort, known as Unified Voices for Music Education (UVFME), is an expansion of Fox’s Professional Choral Collective.  With the support of the CMA foundation, music educators now have an online home to share resources, lesson plans, and creative ideas to continue music education in the upcoming school year.

Dr. Fox spent a little "Live & Local" time with Mike Hogan to talk about the program and how anyone can get free resources.  If one is interested in more information, email Derrick at DaFox@UnOmaha.edu.

KOLN

The number of COVID-19 cases is increasing in Nebraska.  State officials confirmed 131 new cases yesterday, bringing the total in Nebraska to 30-thousand-372.  There have been 361 coronavirus-related deaths statewide since the start of the pandemic.  Douglas County has seen more than 12-thousand COVID-19 cases. Parents of 81 Nebraska football players posted a letter to the Big Ten yesterday that voices their displeasure with the postponement of the 2020 season.

Omaha Children’s Museum has announced its plans to reopen to the public on Saturday, Aug. 15.  The first stage of the reopening will include timed tickets that must be reserved ahead of time, reduced hours, and masks requirements to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Omaha Children’s Museum Executive Director Lindy Hoyer joined Mike Hogan “Live & Local" to discuss the new hours, procedures for acquiring tickets, and the extensive cleaning and safety measures to insure everyone has fun, stays healthy. and gets to enjoy the learning benefits of the museum.

For more information, one can go to the website at http://www.ocm.org.

Nebraska lawmakers have approved new tax credits for homeowners, farmers and businesses and put more restrictions on abortions as they finish a session marred by ugly public disputes and criticism that they didn’t do enough to address the coronavirus pandemic. The 60-day session ended after several last-minute, unsuccessful attempts to derail the tax and abortion bills. Lawmakers gave both measures final approval and sent them to Gov. Pete Ricketts, who’s expected to sign them. Lawmakers convened as normal in January but suspended their session in March out of concern about the pandemic.

Omaha Reaches Settlement In Bearheels Case

Aug 14, 2020

The City of Omaha recently reached a settlement with the family of a man who died in police custody in 2017. Officials say the city agreed to pay 550-thousand dollars to the mother and estate of Zachary Bear Heels. Bear Heels was a mentally ill man who died in 2017 after he was tased by officers a dozen times during a struggle. One of the officers involved in the incident was fired, while three others were disciplined.

State health officials announced 416 new cases of COVID-19 in Nebraska yesterday. There are now 29,660 confirmed cases of the virus in the state, and 360 deaths. The Department of Health and Human Services says 36 percent of hospital beds and 80 percent of ventilators are available. Officials at Lincoln Southwest High School announced a positive COVID-19 test in the community yesterday. An email sent to parents did not specify if a student or staff member tested positive, but the freshman football team was told to quarantine.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Schools in the Omaha area are reporting new cases of the coronavirus, just days after opening classes to in-person attendance during a global pandemic. The Omaha World-Herald reports that officials disclosed two confirmed cases at Reagan Elementary School in the Millard Public Schools district. Ralston Public Schools also sent notice of a confirmed case in its Blumfield Elementary School. Officials in both districts said those infected and those who have been in contact with them have been told to self-quarantine, and that both schools are being deep-cleaned.

Ricketts Forbids TikTok Use On State-Owned Phones

Aug 13, 2020
Forbes

No TikTok for Nebraskans with state owned cellphones.  In a news release, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts announced the state made the decision to ban the popular video app on state devices to safeguard against intrusive cyber activities from China.  Last week, President Donald Trump ordered a ban on Chinese owned apps like WeChat and TikTok saying they're a threat to U.S. national security.

 

Douglas County Marathon To Proceed In Defiance Of Pandemic

Aug 13, 2020
WOWT

The COVID-19 pandemic is not stopping marathoners from lacing up their shoes.  The Douglas County Health Department is allowing the 45th annual Omaha Marathon to proceed.  The race will take place September 20th, and runners will undergo temperature checks and be instructed to wear face coverings when they are not racing.  In addition, the event will include staggered starts, and in-person award ceremonies will be eliminated.

Rick Erben, the long serving host of Jazz Junction is closing up shop after Saturday August 29. This month marks 30 years of volunteer hosting of jazz on KIOS for Rick and he has decided to step aside and enjoy his Saturdays away from the studio.

Council Bluffs is getting a financial boost as it improves its levee system. The eight-point-four-million-dollar Commerce Department Economic Development Administration grant will be used to upgrade the city's levees.  The federal grant will be matched by more than two-million-dollars in local investment.  

 

As parents nationwide prepare to help their children with more distance learning, a small but quickly growing number are deciding to take matters entirely into their own hands and begin homeschooling. Some are worried their districts are unable to offer a strong virtual learning program. For others who may have been considering homeschooling, concerns for their family’s health amid the coronavirus and the on-again, off-again planning for in-person instruction are leading them to part ways with school systems.

Consumer Reports

There are now more than 29-thousand COVID-19 cases in Nebraska.  As of yesterday, there had been 29-thousand-30 cases and 351 coronavirus-related deaths reported statewide since the pandemic began.  More than 11-thousand-500 of those COVID-19 cases have been reported in Douglas County. A public facemask ordinance is now in effect in Omaha to combat the pandemic.  City Council members approved the measure during yesterday's meeting. The measure passed 7-0 after four hours of testimony from a divided public.

NPR

The emergence of COVID-19 this year has presented us all with a host of unique and profound challenges.  Its impact has even rippled out to the broadcast world, affecting production processes and the shows they create.

As you may already know, these concerns involving COVID-19 have led to the end, or imminent end, of programs like Live From Here, Only a Game, and our own Jazz Junction.  They’ve also played a role in the reduction of On Point from two hours to one.  Hopefully, this will be the extent of it.

Rare Derecho Storm Wreaks Havok In Midlands

Aug 11, 2020

A rare wind storm with power similar to an inland hurricane swept across the Midwest, blowing over trees, flipping vehicles, and causing widespread property damage. The storm known as a derecho lasted several hours as it tore across eastern Nebraska, Iowa and parts of Wisconsin and Illinois. A scientist at the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center says the storm had the wind speed of a major hurricane, and likely caused more widespread damage than a normal tornado. Officials in the Iowa cities of Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Marshalltown say the damage is extensive.

Omaha World Herald

Nebraska is continuing to see an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.  Officials confirmed 264 new cases yesterday, bringing the statewide total to 28-thousand-696.  There have been 348 coronavirus-related deaths in Nebraska during the pandemic.  Douglas County has seen 11-thousand-354 COVID-19 cases, the most in the state.

Every autumn KANEKO celebrates a new year of exciting and inspiring exhibits and events in their space by throwing a Soirée for the Omaha Community.  This year, they have creatively redesigned this singular event into a menu of smaller offerings to invite you into their space while ensuring safety and physical distance – welcome to Soirée Season!

Executive Director of KANEKO, Stephan Grot joined Mike Hogan "Live & Local" to discuss this new format, the need to change the format, and how KANEKO is adapting to the changing world situation.

KANEKO has designed experiences for sponsors and the general public that include performance, educational opportunities, music, good food, drink and more.  The Soirée Experiences will help keep KANEKO accessible to the public and able to provide free, thought-provoking exhibitions, lectures, workshops, and programs for the community.

If one is seeking more information, one can go to https://thekaneko.org/soiree-2020/

KLKN

Lincoln Police closed down a bowling alley this weekend for violating the city’s coronavirus restrictions after the owner vowed to fight the rules requiring people to wear masks in public places. On Saturday, Lincoln Police enforced the local health department’s order to close Madsen’s Bowling & Billiards for violating restrictions related to the coronavirus outbreak. Officials have said that employees at Madsen’s Bowling & Billiards weren’t wearing face coverings, patrons were told that masks were optional and people weren’t far enough apart.

The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory for Lincoln yesterday in response to high temperatures. The advisory goes into effect when the heat index is from 100 to 104 degrees and there is a possibility of heat-related illnesses. To combat the hot weather, the CDC says to stay hydrated and wear light-colored clothing.

Hear and watch NPR's live coverage of the 2020 Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee, WI Monday, August 17th through Thursday, August 20th from 8:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Omaha Public Schools superintendent, Dr. Cheryl Logan, announced this afternoon that the start of school has been pushed back to August 18th and there will be no in-person classes.  For the first quarter of the 2020-2021 school year the 100% Remote Learning Instructional Model will be used.  

The text of the full notice sent to staff and families is below, as well as a link to the OPS website with more information.

A bomb squad and military experts had to be called to a northeastern Nebraska museum after live ordnance — including a World War II grenade and two artillery shells — were found in a museum storeroom. The Norfolk Daily News reports that staff at the Elkhorn Valley Museum in Norfolk discovered the grenade, ammunition and ordnance on Wednesday, shut down the museum and called Norfolk police. Officers were unable to determine if the vintage ordnance was live and called the Nebraska State Patrol bomb squad.

State health officials announced 332 new cases of COVID-19 in Nebraska yesterday. There are now 27,821 confirmed cases of the virus in the state, and 340 deaths. The Department of Health and Human Services reports 40 percent of hospital beds and 79 percent of ventilators are available. The Omaha City Council is expected to vote on a mask mandate on Tuesday. The council plans to propose an emergency ordinance to put the requirement in place, and needs six of the seven members to vote yes to immediately go into effect.

Philanthropist Doris Buffett has died.  The "Omaha World-Herald" reports that the sister of Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett passed away on Tuesday at her home in Rockport, Maine, at the age of 92.  Doris Buffett established the Sunshine Lady Foundation and the Letters Foundation, supported a college program for prison inmates and gave money to struggling single mothers.

Grand Redevelopment Plan Unveiled For Crossroads Property

Aug 6, 2020
WOWT

A 500-million-dollar development project is coming to the Crossroads Mall property.   Lockwood Development, Century Development, and the city of Omaha have signed a memo of understanding for the project.  The plan calls for mixed-use retail, restaurants, a hotel, apartments, and office space on 40 acres at 72nd and Dodge.  Completion on the project is scheduled for 2024.

Omaha Catholic Schools is delaying the new school year for students on six of its campuses.  Holy Cross, Our Lady of Lourdes, St. Bernadette, Saints Peter and Paul, St. Thomas More and the Dual Language Academy will now start classes on August 31st.  The schools were originally set to welcome students back on August 20th, but officials delayed the starting date due to COVID-19 concerns. Omaha Public Schools want to purchase more than 20-thousand digital thermometers for student use. WOWT-TV6 reports the school wants to spend 95-thousand dollars of philanthropic money.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Nebraska is surging past 27-thousand.  Officials confirmed 222 new cases yesterday, bringing the statewide total to 27-thousand-178.  Four more coronavirus deaths were reported yesterday, and the state has seen 332 deaths during the pandemic.

Omaha World Herald

Omaha school teachers are continuing their call for a city mask mandate.  More than 200 educators gathered yesterday at Memorial Park to demand that city and state leaders pass a public facemask order.  Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts says he is opposed to mask mandates, and he added that policymakers should decide if schools should reopen to students.

Eastman Receives Influential Endorsement

Aug 4, 2020

Nebraska congressional candidate Kara Eastman is getting a key endorsement.  Former President Barack Obama has endorsed Eastman for the November general election.  The Democrat Eastman takes on Republican Incumbent Second District Congressman Don Bacon in a rematch from two years ago.

 

Iowa Gov's Pandemic Response Sinks Her Approval Rating

Aug 3, 2020

Doctors across Iowa are urging Governor Kim Reynolds to enact a statewide face mask mandate.  WHO-TV reports dozens of medical professionals gathered on the steps of the State Capitol Saturday and presented data they say proves masks can slow the spread of coronavirus.  Iowa is one of only three states in the country that don't have some sort of mask mandate.

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