Digging Into Omaha’s Affordable-Housing Crisis, and How We Solve It

Affordable housing has long been a top issue for Omaha’s advocates and residents dealing with housing instability. But until recently, we didn’t know how bad the problem was. Now we do. And it’s serious.

Q&A with Front Porch Investments Executive Director Meridith Dillon, by Chris Bowling. Published in The Reader.

Reed Moore’s Daily Rundown

Happy National Violin Day

Today’s news reminds us that those at higher risk are anyone 65 and older, children, pregnant people, and individuals with chronic illnesses: Lee Enterprises pushes back against the Alden Global Capital takeover, public-school students’ test scores drop, and famed Huskers player Johnny Rodgers, 70, is in Nebraska Medical Center’s internal care unit with COVID-19.

Harper’s Index Facts of the Day

  1. Rank of New Mexico among states whose residents googled the phrase “is Santa real” most often this year: 1
  2. Average weight, in pounds, of a professional Santa: 245

Sources: 1. Google (Mountain View, Calif.); 2. National Santa (Babylon, N.Y.)

For nationwide COVID-19 case and vaccination trends, click here.

Around Omaha

  • ICU beds in the Omaha Metropolitan Health Care Coalition reach 97% capacity as of Friday, Dec. 10.
  • In Case You Missed It: Lee Enterprises, which owns 12 Nebraska newspapers, including the Omaha World-Heraldrefuses Alden Global Capital’s buyout offer –– but, according to Flatwater Free Press, the Omaha World-Herald union says Lee Enterprises should “remain vigilant.” Alden is infamous for gutting newspapers under its ownership.
  • Taking Control of Traffic: A $301,925 study will search for ways to fix the U.S. 75 traffic plaguing the Florence neighborhood, and the City of Omaha will record and analyze curbside traffic.
  • The Omaha Housing Authority (OHA) terminates 18 utility workers, after the OHA and Nebraska Public Employees Local 251 Union can’t come to an agreement.
  • Omahan Heather Godinez still hasn’t received word from all her family members in the path of devastation from this weekend’s tornadoes. Here are ways to help tornado victims, from CNN and KETV.
  • Students aren’t necessarily safe at school due to the staffing shortage, according to Omaha Public Schools staff members.
  • “The governor wants to build a prison, something that I am strongly against”: Dive into last week’s town hall, sponsored by Black Votes Matter, which featured state Sen. Terrell McKinney.

Around Nebraska

  • In a four-set win over Texas, Huskers volleyball makes it to the NCAA Final Four. According to Tom Shatel, the Omaha World-Herald‘s lead sports columnist, this might be the most talented Nebraska volleyball team in history.
  • “If I was raped today, I wouldn’t report it. Because there’s no point”: According to the Lincoln Journal Star, female police officers from the Lincoln Police Department have encountered disciplinary action, including suspensions and firings, after they make formal complaints of sexual harassment and discrimination.
  • Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson is not going to run for reelection.
  • Nuclear power technology might help Nebraska cut down carbon emissions, according to President and CEO of Nebraska Public Power District Tom Kent.
  • Delta Air Lines will end flights between Lincoln and Minneapolis.
  • The state’s pharmacies are battling staffing shortages.

In Your Local Government:
City To Discuss Redistricting and Civil Rights Hearing Board; County Looks To Spend ARPA on Mental Health

Presented by Reader government reporter Anton Johnson.

  • Redistricting: The Omaha City Council will hold a public hearing on an ordinance to redraw the Council’s seven districts during Tuesday’s meeting.
  • Civil Rights Hearing Board: The City Council will hold a public hearing on a proposal to amend city code to clarify the role of the Human Rights and Relations Board, and reassign the inactive Civil Rights Hearing Board. Previously, the Civil Rights Hearing Board consisted of 11 members chosen from the community. Under the new proposal, three members would be appointed from the Human Rights and Relations Board. If passed, the amendment would allow the board to recommend policies to the mayor that would address discrimination.
  • Douglas County Corrections: Douglas County Director of Corrections Mike Myers will give the Board of Commissioners a monthly update during Tuesday’s meeting. The Board will also discuss allocating more than $5 million in ARPA funding to address increased staffing costs the corrections department has experienced throughout the pandemic.
  • ARPA spending on mental health: The Douglas County Board of Commissioners made mental health a priority for distributing funds from ARPA. On Tuesday, the Board will discuss allocating nearly $1 million to the Douglas County Youth Center to hire two mental health therapists, and $1.5 million to Front Porch Investments to operate a non-congregate shelter for populations vulnerable to COVID-19.

Every week, The Reader‘s Anton Johnson picks noteworthy agenda items from the Omaha City Council and Douglas County Board of Commissioners. See the full City Council and Board of Commissioners agendas for Tuesday, Dec. 14, and tune in here to the Douglas County Board at 9 a.m. and the Omaha City Council at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Reed Moore’s Thing To Do: 
Lidwina: Years 1-4

This photo and fiber art series, which runs through Jan. 18 at Metropolitan Community College’s Gallery of Art and Design, illustrates artist Sheila Talbitzer’s struggle with multiple sclerosis.

Event spotlight by Jonathan Orozco. Published in The Reader.

As COVID-19 variants spread through the community, remember to get vaccinated, boosted, and masked before checking out shows. Find more visual art content here, and check out local guides here.

The Daily Funny

Comic by Koterba. Support him on Patreon. 
To see more daily funnies, click the image.

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