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“This is home.” Omaha Organizations Help Low-Income Homebuyers as Obstacles Increase

This story is part of (DIS)Invested — a longterm Reader investigation into Omaha’s inequities. *** As Jose Castañeda walked into the living room, he shut the door behind him. He looked to his left, then his right. There were no couches or rugs on the fresh gray carpet. No pictures on the beige walls. In […]

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Douglas County Corrections Struggles with COVID, but Health Director Says Declining Hospitalizations Provide Breathing Room. City Council Approves Extending Infrastructure into Northwest Omaha.

The Douglas County Board of Commissioners met Tuesday to receive reports on the corrections department and COVID-19, as the Omicron variant wave subsides. Douglas County Corrections Director Mike Myers said that the department experienced an “unprecedented” 95 staff members who missed time because of COVID throughout January. This resulted in nearly $600,000 being spent on […]

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The Kids Aren’t OK: Mental Health Issues Skyrocketed for Nebraska Children during Pandemic

This story was originally published on the Flatwater Free Press. Six-year-old Elijah Wastell, of Omaha, started feeling anxious last fall.  It came hard for the kindergartener at bedtime. His parents tried breathing exercise.They attempted to build up his confidence. They tried everything they could think of, but the anxiety only got worse. It got to […]

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Prairie Lawns Help Nebraskans Alleviate Climate Change and Promote Biodiversity

This story was originally published in the Nebraska News Service In the midst of droughts during the state’s driest year on record, homeowners struggle to maintain the ideal image of the impeccably-manicured, emerald-green front yard. As the weather turns to fall and Nebraskans finish up summer’s final yard work and prepare their lawns for cold weather, […]

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Six Small Nebraska Towns are Trying to Ban Abortion. Will it Change Anything?

This story was originally published in the Flatwater Free Press. For three weeks this July, Pastor Bill Forbes left his house around 5 p.m. and didn’t return until sundown. The Lutheran pastor went door to door his western Nebraska town asking his neighbors the same question: Would they sign a petition in support of banning […]

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Nebraska Prisons Leaders Wrote a Bill to Release Prisoners Earlier. They’re Applying the Law in a Way that Doesn’t.

This story was originally published in the Flatwater Free Press  In 2011, the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services wrote a bill that would allow well-behaved prisoners the chance to shorten their time behind bars. Eleven years later, that same department is applying the resulting law in a way neither the state senator who sponsored the […]

Posted inOver The Edge

Music Visions of 2022

Who could have predicted what we lived through over the past 12 months? Well, I guess I could. Before I give you a glimpse of what’s to come in ’22, let’s see how I did predicting ’21. 2021 Prediction: Vaccinating enough people so it feels safe to go to concerts again will take a lot […]

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Being Poor Is Pricey

This story is part of a series, published in The Reader and on, that spotlights the experiences of low-income, working families in Omaha. This is also part of a larger series about inequity in Omaha, titled “(Dis)Invested.” When Melissa Connelly, a 40-year-old single mom who lives in Fremont, was barred from housing assistance last year, she […]

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At North Omaha gym, Bud Crawford mentors young fighter who “reminds me of me.”

This story was originally published in Flatwater Free Press. As fighters went through their paces one recent night at B&B Sports Academy, its co-owner, world welterweight boxing champion Terence “Bud” Crawford, got right in the mix, interacting with pros and amateurs alike. He coached boxers at the North Omaha gym, teased them, cajoled them, encouraged […]