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Roughly one month after the federal government announced a new crackdown to keep e-cigarettes away from children, state lawmakers in Iowa and Nebraska are forging ahead with similar proposals of their own. Both states are considering new laws to raise the minimum age for vaping to 21 years old in addition to other measures to try to restrict the product. An Iowa Senate Subcommittee advanced the measure earlier this month to raise that state’s legal age from 18 to eliminate the conflict with federal law. In Nebraska, a legislative committee will review its own bill on Tuesday.

The Omaha Community Playhouse has done it again!  Native Gardens is a hilarious turf war between neighbors, generations, and ethnicities.  When Pablo and Tania purchase a new home in a well-to-do white neighborhood, the couple next door initially offer a friendly welcome.  But when a laughable property line disagreement dissolves into an all-out turf war, the dirt begins to fly.  Packed with witty quips—and plenty of back-and-forth mudslinging—Native Gardens is a side-splitting reminder that, despite our differences, we all share a much larger common ground.

Director Ablan Roblin stops by the KIOS studios to chat with Mike Hogan about the show and how important it is to laugh at ourselves while we navigate through the important role of "neighbor."

The show opens on February 14th and runs through March 15th.

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

The TakeCare Campaign wants to inspire you to re-imagine your health through powerful story telling of inspiration and transformation.  TakeCare of your whole health – mind, body, spirit and community – so you can live life fully for whatever matters most to you.  

TakeCare Chair Spokesperson, Jessica Janssen Wolford, who is also the Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Midland University, joins Mike Hogan "Live & Local" to discuss the campaign (only six cities were chosen nationally for the kickoff, the greater Omaha area is one of them) and the difference TakeCare has already made in her personal life.

A free launch event will be held at Midland University 900 North Clarkson in the Campus Cafeteria on February 5 from 12-1:30PM.   More information can be found at https://takecare.org/

A new report says families who want access to high-quality child care in Nebraska may be out of luck depending on where they live or how much they make. The report by the Nebraska Early Childhood Workforce Commission says access to child care varies widely, with 11 of the state's 93 counties having no licensed child care facilities. The report also finds a high turnover rate among early childhood care providers, driven in part by low pay. The report says the median wage for early childhood professionals teaching in community-based child care centers was less than $19,000 in 2016.

Nebraska farmers could get free, special permits to hunt deer on their land before the official rifle-hunting season starts under a legislative bill that won initial approval. Lawmakers advanced a measure Thursday that would allow farmers to hunt on the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday before the official hunting season if they get the permit. Sen. Dan Hughes, of Venango, says he introduced the legislation to reward Nebraska farmers who lose an estimated $60 million a year collectively when deer destroy their crops.

The roarin’ 20s are back and better than ever!  First Tuesdays at the Joslyn Castle with Omaha Conservatory of Music starts in February and brings the sights and sounds of the 1920s come roaring back to life!  Joslyn Castle has partnered with the Omaha Conservatory of Music to bring you '20s-inspired duets, string quartets, ragtime piano performances and more.

Each performance will be hosted in the gorgeous, and historically appropriate, Joslyn Castle Music Room every First Tuesday beginning in February.  This is the very room the Joslyns' hosted live music for the community in their day and we are thrilled to honor their passion for the arts once again.

Janice Pickering, Manager of programs and events at Joslyn Castle, and Candace Jorgensen, director of community engagement, join Mike Hogan live in the studios to discuss this program.

More information can be found at https://joslyncastle.com/events/special-events/first-tuesdays-with-omaha-conservatory-of-music.html

(Des Moines, IA)  --  A new online court system process is allowing Iowans to get a divorce without a lawyer. The Iowa Judicial Branch released part of a series of free online court forms that help Iowans without minor or dependent children access the system without an attorney. Officials say the Iowa court system saw over five-thousand divorce cases last year from couples without children.

Governor Reynolds Appoints New Iowa Supreme Court Justice

Jan 30, 2020

(Des Moines, IA)  --  Cedar Rapids attorney Dana Oxley is the new chief justice of the Iowa Supreme Court. Governor Reynolds appointed Oxley yesterday to fill the position after the death of Chief Justice Mark Cady last November.  Oxley is Governor Reynolds' third Supreme Court appointment.

Affordable Housing Project Under Consideration

Jan 30, 2020

(North Platte, NE)  --  An affordable housing project is under consideration in North Platte.  Dial Property Management is planning to build a 28-million-dollar apartment and commercial project at West A Street and Lakeview Boulevard.  Developers also requested Tax Increment Financing for the proposal.  North Platte planning commissioners approved the plan yesterday, and the matter will go before the city council next month.

Billionaire Warren Buffett is giving up on the newspaper business. He's selling all of Berkshire Hathaway's publications to Lee Enterprises for $140 million. The deal announced Wednesday covers 31 daily newspapers in 10 states as well as 49 paid weekly publications with digital sites and 32 other print products. Buffett is a lifelong fan of newspapers but he has said for several years that he expects most of them to continue on their declining trajectory, save for a handful of national papers such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Students and teachers from private schools have rallied at the Nebraska Capitol to recognize National School Choice Week, a campaign to promote alternatives to public schools. The gathering on Wednesday drew hundreds of students, administrators and advocacy groups who want to promote private schools, charter schools and homeschooling. Nebraska public school teachers celebrated with their own “I love Public Schools Day." Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, a Republican who supports public school alternatives, proclaimed this week as National School Choice Week as part of the event. Lt. Gov.

Performing Artists Repertory Theatre presents their next production MAMMA MIA! opening January 31 and running through February 16, 2020.  Over 60 million people worldwide have fallen in love with the characters, the story and the music ​that make Mamma Mia! the ultimate feel-good show!

ABBA's hits tell the hilarious story of a young woman's search for her birth father. This sunny and funny tale unfolds on a Greek island paradise. On the eve of her wedding, a daughter's quest to discover the identity of her father brings three men from her mother's past back to the island they last visited 20 years ago.

Mackenzie Dehmer and Analisa Peyton stop by the KIOS-FM studios on 33rd and Burt to chat with Mike Hogan about the show and what makes the evening of laughs and entertainment so special.

More information can be found at http://www.performingartistsrepertorytheatre.org/

The driver of a snowplow plunged the vehicle into the Platte River on Tuesday as he was being followed by authorities who later arrested him. U.S. marshals and Sarpy County sheriff's deputies believed the driver of the Nebraska Department of Transportation snowplow was a wanted federal fugitive and began following the plow on a highway south of Gretna. After a few minutes, the Lincoln Journal Star reports the the plow left the road and landed in the river. The driver managed to get out of the cab and officers pulled him to safety.

Street Proposal Goes Before Council

Jan 29, 2020

Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert's proposed 200-million-dollar bond is being considered by the City Council.  The bond proposal calls for 75-million-dollars per year to be spent on road repairs.  Stothert says if the bond is approved, the owner of a 100-thousand-dollar home would pay about 26-dollars in year in property taxes.  The City Council will hold a public hearing on the bond next Tuesday.

La Vista police are investigating after customers were sickened after allegedly being served cleaning solution at a movie theater.  Police tell KETV that two people who had ordered drinks at the Alamo Drafthouse theater yesterday were accidentally served cleaning solution.  Both customers and a bartender who tasted the drinks began having symptoms and were taken to a hospital for treatment. 

Grant Application Process Opens

Jan 28, 2020

The application process is open for the city of Omaha's 2020 neighborhood association grant program.  The mayor's office is offering 75-thousand-dollars in grants this year, and neighborhoods can receive up to five-thousand-dollars for an individual project such as festivals, public art or landscaping.  The application deadline is March 23rd, and grant recipients will be announced in May.

Food Bank Serves Thousands

Jan 28, 2020

The Food Bank for the Heartland is continuing to help thousands of Nebraskans.  Food bank officials say they have provided more than 612-thousand meals during the disaster recovery efforts following last year's flooding.  Mobile pantries are currently serving residents in Schuyler and Valley.  Local food banks are making preparations in the event their services are needed again this spring. 

 

Missouri River Breaches Repaired

Jan 28, 2020

Flood damage repairs are continuing along the Missouri River. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported yesterday that two Missouri River outlet breaches were closed on Saturday.  They are the third and fourth breaches to be repaired on Missouri River Levee System L-594.  More than 500 miles of levees on the Missouri, Platte and Elkhorn rivers and their tributaries have seen significant flooding over the last ten months.

 

The Bluebarn Theatre wants you to know you are invited to a celebration.  A celebration of time, gratitude, our childhoods, and the million miracles at work in the world in every single moment.  There will be pictures.  There will be music.  Gifts.  Wonder.  Grief.  Rebirth.  From Will Eno, author of the BLUEBARN’s productions of Thom Pain and Gnit, comes an extraordinary, strange and beautiful experience that wakes up the big questions, and awakens us to one another with sly humor, compassion, and grace. 

P.S. There will be cake.

Wakey, Wakey opens on January 30th and runs through February 23rd, 2020.  Director Barry Carmen joins Mike Hogan "Live & Local" to discuss the production and the importance of celebration.  And there really will be cake!

More information can be found at http://bluebarn.org/tickets/

75 North is a nonprofit that has transformed a neighborhood over the past decade to be more community-focused and raise people up out of poverty.  

Their official mission is breaking the cycle of poverty and community deterioration by partnering to create high-quality housing, thriving schools, recreational facilities and other neighborhood enrichment amenities.

Cydney Franklin is the Chief Operating Officer of 75 North and she stopped by the KIOS studios to chat with Mike Hogan "Live & Local" about the mission of the organization, the new "Dining Room" (a food-court style dining area with three restaurants), and the incredible rejuvenation of the Highlander neighborhood over the past decade. 

More information about how you can help or what amenities and business you can enjoy in this revitalized area can be found at http://www.seventyfivenorth.org/

Leaders in western Iowa say lingering floodwaters and damage from last year's Missouri River flooding has led them to again cancel Loessfest. The Council Bluffs City Council said Friday in a news release that restoration work on Tom Hanafan River's Edge Park, where the festival is held right across the Missouri River from Omaha, Nebraska, can't begin until after the spring thaw. The council says there isn't enough time between the thaw and the Memorial Day weekend event to get the work done.

The Nebraska chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union says it has hired an Omaha attorney as its new legal director. Adam Sipple will lead the state ACLU's legal program, replacing Amy Miller, who resigned in November. Before joining the ACLU, Sipple had spent 20 years as a civil rights and criminal defense litigator for Johnson & Mock of Omaha. Sipple says he's looking forward to handling complex litigation for the civil rights group, which in recent years has tackled criminal justice and prison reform.

Four states along the Missouri River are joining forces to look for ways to avoid the kind of flooding that caused millions of dollars in damage last year. Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and Kansas are pooling their money to pay for half of a $400,000 study with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to measure how much water flows down the Missouri River. State officials hope to present a united front to federal officials to gain more influence over how the river is managed after devastating floods in 2011 and 2019.

Terry Streetman is the Director of Public Policy and Advocacy for the Alzheimer's Association, Nebraska Chapter.  He spends a great deal of time and effort at this state's capitol showing the unicameral senators how they can help the many thousands of families in Nebraska impacted by Alzheimer’s Disease.

He took the time to swing by the studios at 33rd and Burt to discuss with Mike Hogan the latest bill that has been introduced, explain how he advocates for Alzheimer's related causes, and how you can get involved.

More information can be found at https://www.alz.org/nebraska

In addition to all of the great year-round offers (found here), KIOS MemberCard holders can take advantage of special bonus benefits each month.    You can redeem these benefits by using your wallet card, or by using the MemberCard app (available from iTunes or Google Play).

Mayor Stothert Proposes Street Improvement Bond

Jan 24, 2020

Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert proposes a 200-million dollar bond for street improvements.  Stothert announced the plan Thursday morning, saying city streets have been under-funded for too long.  Stothert says the bond would cost property owners about 35 dollars per 100-thousand dollars of property value a year.  She wants Omaha residents to vote on the bond in May.

 

Online retailer Hayneedle will lay off some 200 workers at its Omaha headquarters in the coming months. Hayneedle's parent company, Walmart, told the Omaha World-Herald on Thursday that about 100 local workers will remain employed and will be based at the Sarpy County call center. Those being laid off will get at least a 60-day notice and will be eligible to apply for other jobs within the Walmart organization. A written statement from Walmart says the layoffs follow a decision to integrate the Hayneedle business and select functions within Walmart.com.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska's new economic development director has been confirmed by lawmakers who praised him for his business experience. Senators voted 42-0 to put Tony Goins, of Lincoln, in charge of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. Gov. Pete Ricketts appointed Goins in July. Goins replaces Dave Rippe, who stepped down as the director to return to his home in Hastings. Goins serves as director of Branded Products for Lincoln Industries, where he leads a sales team responsible for aftermarket truck and Harley Davidson parts. Goins started in his new role Oct.

Nebraska's chief justice says the state's courts are expanding their public services to protect abused children, keep former prisoners from re-offending and help some counties save money. Nebraska Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Heavican outlined the accomplishments of the state's judicial branch in his annual State of the Judiciary address to lawmakers. Heavican says the courts are working to reunite more foster children with parents, help offenders with drug and alcohol addictions, and save money by having clerks serve both district and county courts.

Nebraska's attorney general has filed a lawsuit against a state commission that voted to allow machine bets on previously run horse races despite the attorney general's warnings that the machines are illegal. The lawsuit alleges that the Nebraska State Racing Commission approved so-called “historical horse racing” even after state lawyers advised the commission that the machines violate state law and the Nebraska Constitution's prohibition of gambling.

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