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The city of Omaha is moving forward with a public facemask mandate.  City Councilman Pete Festersen tweeted yesterday that the council will consider an ordinance similar to one adopted in Lincoln.  The move comes after the Omaha Public Schools Board of Education requested this past weekend that the city consider a mask ordinance as the best way to slow the spread of COVID-19. Douglas County Health Director Adi Pour had been widely expected to issue a mandate Friday after the Douglas County Board of Health last Monday voted unanimously to support a mask mandate.

Absentee Ballot Applications On The Way

Jul 31, 2020

Absentee ballot applications will start appearing around Omaha this week. Douglas County Election Commissioner Brian Kruse said the applications are on green, postcard size cardstock. He says voters need to fill out the application portion and return it in the official drop box, through the mail, or by email before the end of October. The only difference for Sarpy County residents is that the applications are printed on salmon-colored cardstock.

The Douglas County board has approved spending $1.85 million in federal coronavirus relief funding to buy a mobile command center for the sheriff's office. The decision came despite objections from board members who said the money should be used for rent assistance and other human needs. The Omaha World-Herald reports that the board voted 4-2 Tuesday to approve the expenditure. Sheriff Tim Dunning and supporters said the vehicle could be used for mass vaccinations in rural areas. Coronavirus numbers continue to climb in Nebraska.

State health officials announced 344 new cases of COVID-19 in Nebraska yesterday. There are now 25,766 confirmed cases of the virus in the state, and 328 deaths. Thirty-seven percent of hospital beds and 80 percent of ventilators are available. New unemployment claims decreased in Nebraska last week. The Department of Labor reported 3,544 initial claims, a decline of more than ten percent from the week before. However, officials announced 1,570 new pandemic unemployment assistance claims for the past week. This is an increase of four-point-nine percent.

Better Business Bureau Warns Against Fearmongering Scams

Jul 30, 2020

The Better Business Bureau is warning against scammers preying on fear. Better Business Bureau Investigator Steve Baker said scammers will pretend to be the I-R-S and take victims' bank information to withdraw money from the accounts. The Omaha Regional President and CEO said scammers are also claiming to be the C-D-C. Those scammers tell victims they can give them access to CARES Act funding. Baker said government agencies won't call asking for your personal information.

Nebraska’s meatpacking plants won’t have to worry about any new state-mandated safety restrictions this year, despite outbreaks of the coronavirus among their workers. A Nebraska lawmaker who wanted to add more protections on Wednesday failed to secure sufficient support for the idea. Sen. Tony Vargas, of Omaha, fell two votes short of the 30 he needed to introduce a bill this session. Bills can only be introduced during the first 10 days of each session, unless a super-majority of lawmakers agrees to suspend the rule.

Billy McGuigan is taking the party outside! Experience Billy McGuigan’s Pop Rock Orchestra from the socially-distanced comfort of your own car. All your favorite rock ‘n’ roll mega hits from the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s in a drive-in style concert—live from the OCP parking lot! Led by international touring artist Billy McGuigan and backed by the 9-piece Pop Rock Orchestra, these all-star musicians serve up fresh, original arrangements covering everything from The Beach Boys to Billy Joel.

Billy took some time out of his busy day to chat with Mike Hogan "Live & Local" about the show and the thrill and reward of performing in front of a live audience. 

The show runs August 5th through the 23rd and ticket information is available at https://www.omahaplayhouse.com/tickets/view/poprock/

Lincoln Journal Star

Nebraska residents are showing their support for people who work in the meatpacking industry.  Union members, community advocates and church groups were among those who rallied outside the state Capitol yesterday. Demonstrators called on state lawmakers to take steps to protect meatpacking workers from the COVID-19 pandemic by requiring companies to provide protective gear, ensure social distancing and other measures.  

There are now more than 25-thousand COVID-19 cases in Nebraska.  As of yesterday, there were 25-thousand-157 cases and 321 coronavirus-related deaths in the state.  Douglas County leads Nebraska with more than 98-hundred COVID-19 cases. Officials say dozens of inmates at the Douglas County Jail have tested positive for the coronavirus. A news release from the county says 36 of 41 inmates in a single housing unit at the jail recently tested positive for the virus.

This school supply drive, organized by community-minded local banks, is collecting items until July 31, 2020, for a dozen Omaha metro charities!

Marjorie Maas, Executive Director of SHARE Omaha, chats with Mike Hogan "Live & Local" about the drive and all the different ways everyone can participate to help students have the materials they need to start the most different school year on record on the right foot!

For information on how to be a part of this drive, one can go to www.shareomaha.org/supplies 

Million-Dollar Lottery Ticket Purchased in Lincoln

Jul 28, 2020

One lucky Lincoln resident is the winner of a million-dollar Lottery prize. Nebraska Lottery confirmed a ticket sold during Saturday's 117-million-dollar Powerball draw matched the first five numbers of the winning ticket. Officials said it was bought at the Fast Mart on North 27th Street. Nebraska Lottery says players should check their tickets and report them to Nebraska Lottery to claim their prize.

KETV

Another Omaha area school district is revealing its reopening plans. Millard Public Schools emailed parents its back-to-school plan yesterday.  The plan calls for students with last names beginning with A through F to go to class August 10th, those with last names starting with G through L will go August 11th, M through R students will return to class August 12th, and S through Z students will attend class starting August 13th. Officials say during the first week of school, students will only attend class one day in person and masks will be required for children and staff members.

Slimmed-Down State Fair Will Proceed Without Carnival

Jul 27, 2020

The Nebraska State Fair will happen this year, but the event will take place without a carnival. Organizers say this year's fair will focus on exhibits by Four-H and the FFA, along with livestock competitions. The fair is scheduled for the weekends of August 28th through the 30th and September Fourth through Seventh in Grand Island.

70+ Protestors Arrested After Saturday Night Demonstration

Jul 27, 2020

Dozens of people are taken into custody during a protest in Omaha against racial injustice and police brutality. The protest, which was held in support of demonstrations in Portland, Oregon, started Saturday night near Turner and Farnam.  Authorities say the protesters began walking into traffic lanes on Farnam and started throwing barricades at police cruisers.  More than 75 protesters were cited on charges including failure to disperse and obstructing traffic.  

The full uninterrupted 30 minute interview with Dr. Cheryl Logan is now posted on the website.  You can listen to it right here: https://www.kios.org/post/5-part-interview-dr-cheryl-logan-ops-status-and-more

The owner of a pharmacy that provided drugs to Nebraska for use in a 2018 execution is expressing remorse for making the sale, but acknowledging that he knew that prison officials wanted them for a lethal injection. Public records released late Thursday show that Community Pharmacy Services, a pharmacy in Gretna, Nebraska, agreed to sell the drugs to the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services for two payments totaling $10,500. State officials had refused to identify their supplier until the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled in May that they cannot withhold that information.

State health officials announced 332 new cases of COVID-19 in Nebraska yesterday. There are now 23-thousand-818 confirmed cases of the virus in the state and 316 deaths. Thirty-four-percent of hospital beds and eighty-percent of ventilators are available. Officials in Omaha say a citywide mask mandate could go into effect next week. Douglas County Health Director Adi Pour said the area needs to get COVID-19 under control in order for schools to reopen.

The final installment of the five-part interview with Dr. Cheryl Logan is now posted on the website.  You can listen to it right here: https://www.kios.org/post/5-part-interview-dr-cheryl-logan-ops-status-and-more

College athletes in Nebraska may soon be able to sign endorsement deals with sneaker companies, car dealerships and other sponsors under a bill approved by lawmakers. Lawmakers gave the measure final approval on Tuesday with a 37-6 vote. The measure would apply to student-athletes at the University of Nebraska and its smaller state colleges. It would cover athletes in all sports, although Nebraska’s football, basketball and volleyball players are likely to have the most money-making opportunities.

SHARE Omaha is presenting "Banking on Supplies," a drive for local school supplies now through July 31. Needed items may be dropped off at participating bank branch locations during business hours or ordered online.  Drop off locations and details at https://shareomaha.org/supplies.

Omaha's Friendship Program Announces Imminent Closure

Jul 23, 2020
KETV

Omaha's Friendship Program is closing its doors.  The center at 73rd and Maple streets serves adults with mental health needs, and it also provides an adult day care service.  The non-profit organization says it is no longer getting reimbursed enough to fund all of the services that it provides.  The program's last day is August 13th.

Part 4 of the five-part interview with Dr. Cheryl Logan is now posted on the website.  You can listen to it right here: https://www.kios.org/post/5-part-interview-dr-cheryl-logan-ops-status-and-more

Part 3 of the five-part interview with Dr. Cheryl Logan is now posted on the website.  You can listen to it right here: https://www.kios.org/post/5-part-interview-dr-cheryl-logan-ops-status-and-more

Hundreds of new COVID-19 cases are reported in Nebraska.  Officials confirmed 343 cases yesterday, bringing the statewide total to 23-thousand-190.  There have been 310 coronavirus deaths in Nebraska during the pandemic.  Douglas County leads the state with 89-hundred COVID-19 cases.

State auditors say a former finance chief for the Nebraska State Fair collected nearly $150,000 in undocumented payments through a company he created last year. Auditors say the review found two checks totaling $149,415.60 that were made out to RKBB Enterprises Inc. RKBB Enterprises was created in May 2019 by Brandon Kopke, the fair’s former chief of finance and administration. Kopke resigned in November after telling board members that the fair was headed for bankruptcy. State auditors say they identified the questionable payments during a review of the fair’s spending.

Nebraska residents who qualify for expanded Medicaid under the federal health care law can start enrolling next month. Gov. Pete Ricketts is defending the state’s nearly two-year time frame to offer coverage after voters approved it. Ricketts says Nebraska will open enrollment on Aug. 1, and coverage will begin as scheduled on Oct. 1. The roll-out begins nearly two years after Nebraska voters approved a measure to expand Medicaid coverage in the November 2018 election over the objections of Ricketts and conservative groups.

Nebraska lawmakers returned to their session with lingering concerns about the coronavirus and extra safety precautions that will likely remain in place until they adjourn for the year. The 60-day session resumed Monday with plexiglass barriers separating lawmakers in the legislative chamber, mandatory temperature checks to enter and tougher restrictions on who can access the room. Lawmakers took the unusual step of suspending their session on March 25 to try to keep the virus from spreading after they passed an emergency coronavirus funding bill.

Part 2 of the five-part interview with Dr. Cheryl Logan is now posted on the website.  You can listen to it right here: https://www.kios.org/post/5-part-interview-dr-cheryl-logan-ops-status-and-more

Insurance company Mutual of Omaha has announced it will replace its longtime corporate logo, which features a depiction of a Native American chief. The move comes as corporations and sports teams face increasing pressure to dump nicknames and depictions that reference American Indians amid a nationwide movement calling for racial justice. The company is in the process of creating a new logo.

Ricketts Moves To Challenge Lincoln Mask Order

Jul 20, 2020
Lincoln Journal Star

Lincoln and Lancaster County's mask-wearing mandate is facing a possible challenge from Nebraska's top elected official.  Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts' office says the governor is considering all available legal options in challenging the mask order. A spokesperson for Ricketts says the governor encourages the use of masks in appropriate situations, but he disagrees with Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird's public mask order, which runs until August 31st.

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