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County Board Says Racial Disparities in Jails, Maternal Health Outcomes Need to be Addressed. Health Director Has Good News on COVID-19, Says More Boosters, Pediatric Vaccine Could Be Available Soon.

On Tuesday, the Douglas County Board of Commissioners met to discuss racial disparities in incarceration and health, while the local health director shared that COVID-19 cases are declining. The Omaha City Council did not meet but will meet again on Oct. 19. Douglas County Department of Corrections Director Mike Myers gave a monthly report to […]

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Past Union President, Now Running for Sheriff, Was Deemed to Have Used Excessive Force. Then Omaha’s Police Chief Stepped in.

This story is a collaboration between The Omaha Reader and Flatwater Free Press. Sgt. Aaron Hanson, a former president of Omaha’s police union, used excessive force when he kneed an already-handcuffed Omaha man, the Omaha Police Department’s Safety Review Board unanimously decided in 2018. The board recommended a low-level punishment. But that punishment never happened. […]

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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 […]

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No Nitrate Police: State and Local Regulators Can’t, or Won’t, Stop Our Drinking Water from Getting Worse

This story was originally published in Flatwater Free Press. The farmer was growing impatient. He folded his arms. Shook his head angrily.  He and dozens of other central Nebraska farmers had gathered for mandatory training in Columbus a few weeks before Christmas last year. In response to stubbornly high nitrate levels, the Lower Loup Natural […]

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Nebraska’s Reopening Push Forward Déjà Vu: The Reader COVID-19 Roundup, Sept. 14, 2020

Starting today, nearly every county in the state is no longer required to follow state-issued directed health measures.  Under Phase 4, measures have been lifted that previously applied bars, restaurants, childcare facilities, churches, gyms, salons, barbers, tattoo parlors, weddings and more are lifted. Original guidance is still recommended, however. The only hard-and-fast limitation is that […]

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Being Poor Is Pricey

This story is part of a series, published in The Reader and on omahajobs.com, 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 […]

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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Born in Protest 50 Years Ago

As the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Department of Black Studies celebrates 50 years, there’s recognition this academic unit not only grew out of agitation, but is sustained by it. In 1969 students delivered their demands for, among other things, Black history courses to the then-UNO president. Dissatisfied with his response, the protesters staged a […]