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Under the Influence

Barbara Garcia dumps a shoebox-full of pill bottles onto her bedspread.

“This one is for my heart,” she says, plucking a bottle from the pile. “This other one here is for migraines. And this is for depression.”

The list continues. The 57-year-old Omaha native takes 25 medications for ailments ranging from asthma to breast cancer. Although she receives Medicaid, the program doesn't cover all...

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On Edge

Sitting across the table from Mark Christensen, the blonde-haired, blue-eyed state senator from Imperial, I can't help but wonder if he's packing heat. After all, the National Rifle Association-endorsed Christensen, 48, has introduced some of the most radical gun-rights bills in the country, including a measure that would have allowed teachers to carry guns in school. Another, the so-called...

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Increasing Transparency: Legislature gets tools to help shape child welfare reform

A resolution adopted last week in the Legislature would allow the Health and Human Services Committee to investigate and assess the effects of Nebraska's child welfare reform — a process that has produced many problems and questions since the state privatized its services in November 2009. Since then, three of the five lead agencies hired in the reform have dropped out or declared bankruptcy,...

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Killing a Dream

More than a dozen opponents — including groups like Nebraska's Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education, Building Bright Futures, the Nebraska Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, and the largest Hispanic Conservative group, Somos Republicans — testified Monday that the Legislature's Education Committee should kill a bill to repeal the state's Dream Act, a 2006...

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At Ease

Vietnam War veteran and former Nebraska governor and U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey will be in Omaha Jan. 31 to salute At Ease, an Omaha program providing confidential behavioral health services to active duty military personnel and family members. Founded by Omaha advertising executive Scott Anderson, At Ease is administered by Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska. Kerrey, whose embattled New School...

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Police union president backs Mayor Suttle

A new anti-recall group emerged Jan. 18 to support Mayor Jim Suttle, one week before he faces the city's second recall election in more than two decades. The Taxpayers Putting Omaha First committee is made up of Omaha police union president Aaron Hanson and local attorneys Dan Stockman and Mike Dowd. The group says it has raised about $12,000 to fight the recall with nearly a quarter of the...

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Omaha Senator proposes alternative to immigration bill

Omaha State Senator Brenda Council is looking to Nebraska's Congressional delegation for a little help when it comes to sorting through the controversy of local immigration law. On Jan. 18, Council introduced a resolution to Fremont Sen. Charlie Janssen's Illegal Immigration Enforcement Act. Janssen's Arizona-style bill, LB48, would require police officers to check a suspect’s resident status...

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Problems Easy To Spot

In the seven weeks since nearly 29,000 citizens consented to potentially recall Mayor Jim Suttle, headlines in Omaha have read like a political thriller. But among the fraud allegations, busing controversies, court dates and political bickering, the two questions that started it all continue to get lost: What’s wrong with Omaha, and how do we fix it? Dave Nabity has an idea. “I think our...

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