As we roll into the new year, The Reader and El Perico staffs consider how we can make our coverage even more robust in 2022.
By Chris Bowling, John Heaston, Leah Cates, 1st Sky Omaha, Lynn Sanchez,
Karlha Velásquez Rivas and Bridget Fogarty, Report for America Corps Member
Reed Moore’s Daily Rundown
Happy Peculiar People Day
Today’s news celebrates the “unusual,” “different” and “eccentric” people who set the world in motion because they refuse to conform to society’s idea of “normal”: Douglas County hits its highest single day of positive coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, take a deep dive into ongoing safety concerns in meatpacking plants, and a 2009 Nebraska gun law spurred overcrowding in the state prison system, which has a faster-growing inmate population than any other place in the U.S., according to the Omaha World-Herald.
Harper’s Index Facts of the Day
- Percentage of U.S. prisoners released in 2008 who were arrested again in the following decade: 82
- Portion of those arrests that were for drug-related offenses: 1/2
Source: U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics
Reed Moore’s COVID-19 Roundup
As announced in the Wednesday, Dec. 29, bonus newsletter, in light of the Omicron variant, Reed Moore will replace the “Thing To Do” section with a COVID-19 spotlight featuring coronavirus-related content. The Reader believes it’s irresponsible to promote events when hospitals are nearing capacity, some community members refuse to get vaccinated and Omaha still doesn’t have a mask mandate. As cases continue, The Reader won’t promote any events — be they concerts, plays, art-gallery openings or stand-up comedy — that don’t require masks, vaccination and social distancing.
- Douglas County hits its highest single day of positive coronavirus cases since the pandemic began.
- Huskers football coach Scott Frost tests positive for the coronavirus.
- Learn about “Flurona” with Bryan Health’s Dr. Alissa Clough.
- As we inch toward year three of the COVID-19 pandemic, take a deep dive into ongoing safety concerns in meatpacking plants.
For nationwide COVID-19 case
and vaccination trends, click here.
- There’s a new baby elephant in the room at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium.
- The Nebraska Legislature considers how to proceed following the St. Francis Ministries fiasco.
- Scott Frakes, head of Nebraska’s prison system, is considering six sites near Omaha to build a prison.
- Read about the “surprises” experts from the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s counterterrorism center discovered about the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
- Hinwa Allieu, a former University of Nebraska at Kearney student and football player, dies in a car crash at age 24.
- Dig into North O history with Preston Love Jr., a legendary Nebraska politician and activist.
- Ricketts Roundup: As he prepares to release a state budget proposal this Thursday, Jan. 13, Gov. Pete Ricketts isn’t in favor of a significant uptick in spending state tax money. Nebraska Public Media reporter Fred Knapp sits down with Ricketts to talk abortion, the Nebraska State Penitentiary, natural resources and more.
- A 2009 Nebraska gun law spurred overcrowding in the state prison system, which has a faster-growing inmate population than any other place in the U.S., according to the Omaha World-Herald. Read what the World-Herald calls “a significant untold story behind the prison crisis.”
- A Title IX lawsuit against UNL goes forward in federal court.
- State Sen. Carol Blood drafts a bill to give education professionals retention payments.
- Dick Carson, younger brother of Johnny Carson who directed “The Tonight Show,” “The Merv Griffin Show” and “Wheel of Fortune” — and spent his formative years in Nebraska — dies at age 92.
This Week in Your Local Government:
Library Relocation and Warhorse Casino TIF on City Council Agenda. County Board to Discuss ARPA Funding and
Presented by Reader government reporter Anton Johnson
- HRR Board: In its first meeting of the new year, the Omaha City Council will revisit changes to the Human Rights and Relations Board that were postponed from Dec. 21. The proposed ordinance would clarify the duties of the board and give it the authority to act as the city’s Civil Rights Hearing Board, which has been inactive for more than two decades. Opponents took issue with the new language, and the proposal to shrink the Civil Rights Hearing Board from 11 members to three.
- Library Relocation: The plan to relocate the W. Dale Clark Library is on the agenda, as the City Council will vote on an agreement with Noddle Development Company to help manage the project. Mayor Jean Stothert announced the controversial move to 1401 Jones St. in November, and the lease agreement for the new location will be on the City Council’s agenda in the coming weeks.
- TIF: Developers are seeking millions of dollars in tax increment financing this week. The City Council will vote on a $3.8 million loan for a mixed-use development near Blackstone, and an $8.1 million loan for a commercial project near 48th and Leavenworth streets. The City Council will also hold a public hearing on a $17.5 million loan for Warhorse Casino, equal to the loan it approved last July.
- County board: The Douglas County Board of Commissioners will hold its first meeting of the year. The board will discuss various projects seeking ARPA funding and receive reports from the Douglas County Corrections Department and Douglas County Health Director Lindsay Huse amid skyrocketing COVID-19 cases.
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, Jan. 11, and tune in here to the Douglas County Board at 9 a.m. and the Omaha City Council at 2 p.m. Tuesday.
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