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Two Bills in Unicameral Aim to Increase Minimum Wage for Workers Across Nebraska

It has been more than 10 years since the federal minimum wage increased. On July 24, 2009, the federal government raised it from $6.55 per hour to $7.25. Over the years, it has become clear to millions of Americans that this wage is inadequate, and now lawmakers throughout the country are working to raise the […]

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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’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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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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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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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 […]

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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 […]

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Contract for Deed: The promise of homeownership that often leaves Midwest buyers out in the cold

Most Americans who want to own a house – and can afford it – follow a fairly straightforward path to their dreams. They start with a loan from a bank or mortgage company, institutions that are subject to state and federal regulations. When buyers close on the home they want, the agreement is registered with […]