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The Public Pulse: Attention music lovers; Money better spent; OPS stipends

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Jewell Jazz Club

Omaha music lovers, I hope you have all discovered the Jewell at 1030 Capitol Ave. We have been there on several occasions and appreciate the wide variety of musicians and genre they showcase, including jazz, funk, blues, vocals — the list goes on and on. As for the venue itself, it is inviting and cozy along with great cocktails and food. Folks, we have a “Jewell” in our midst. It’s so nice to have an opportunity to listen to jazz without driving south on the interstate to that other jazz town. Check it out and support our local businesses.

Janet Koenig, Omaha

Money better spent

While I agree about the importance of furthering education after high school, our taxpayer dollars should not foot the bill for student loans which are already subsidized. I worked in a post-graduate financial aid office (work-study program) and watched some classmates take out student loans to invest money into a stock market bubble. There are consequences to poor fiscal behavior, and our financial aid counselors educated us about it. Some people just get greedy. Instead of student loan forgiveness, money is better spent on personal finance classes with competent counsel. If a company says that Nebraska has a brain-drain, then that company should afford the education as an apprenticeship.

Katrina Tomsen, Minden

OPS stipends

It continues to amaze me how a positive act by OPS is immediately turned into a negative by the Omaha Education Association president and some of its members. The district did not have to use a portion of their CRRSA and ARP Act funds for these stipends (priced at $72 million), but chose to do so in order to acknowledge the extra effort staff had to put forth during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was an extremely challenging time for all staff, but especially teachers. Instead of a simple “thank you,” the OEA president, Michelle Settlemyer, said that while the members were informed by the district that taxes and retirement would be withheld, many didn’t expect so much to be taken out. She then blamed the district for “poor” communication. It is not the district’s responsibility to be tax advisor to the OEA and its membership.

As OEA president, Ms. Settlemyer should have taken the initiative to educate herself on payroll tax law so she could in turn educate her members. Any OEA members unhappy with the net pay on their stipends are welcome to return the money to the district. The taxpayers who originally funded the federal stimulus programs giving way to these stipends would probably love to have their money back.

Scott Roberts, Omaha

(Former OPS CFO)

Human sexuality

In response to Marguerite McGill’s letter “Bible teachings,” we are all aware of how many years Archbishop Lucas studied theology, just wondering what her theology credentials are? And, just a reminder, the Archbishop is speaking for Archdiocese schools only. These are religious-order schools where parents pay tuition for their children to attend.

Lucille Mickells, Omaha

Broadband internet

A recent article, “Nebraska plans to devote nearly $200 million to expand broadband internet access,” provided an excellent example of how our representative democracy currently functions, and it is not a favorable one. Nebraska will spend $200 million to provide broadband, described by our governor as “basic infrastructure that is crucial to improving the lives of residents and the state as a whole,” in the two Congressional districts whose representatives — Republicans Smith and Fortenberry — voted against the funding that makes it possible.

Can anyone explain what prompts our elected representatives and officials to feel the need to so clearly vote against the interests of their own constituents? The only one I can think of is that the people who elect them, in both cases overwhelmingly, aren’t their real constituents. Does anyone have a different explanation?

James Regan, Omaha

OWH Public Pulse August 2022

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Pulse writer praises Creighton Prep for setting their own policy on gender identity.

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Pulse writer questions why Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Pillen refuses to debate.

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Pulse writer asks how is student loan forgiveness fair to those who worked to pay for their education?

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Pulse writer says Congressman Don Bacon votes against the interests of NE-02.

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Pulse writer questions the idea of roundabouts on Farnam.

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Questioning the roundabouts

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Pulse writer offers suggestions for Husker fans headed to Ireland.

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Pulse writers weigh in on OPPD continuing to burn coal at their North Omaha Station plant for at least three more years.

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Pulse writers continue to weigh in on Jim Pillen refusing to debate.

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Pulse writer would like Congress to fairly compensate disabled veterans.

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Pulse writers give their opinions on Jim Pillen breaking with at least 50 years of tradition by refusing to participate in a gubernatorial candidate debate.

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Pulse writer challenges readers to give ORBT a try.

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Pulse writer asks who has the ultimate right to life, mother or baby?

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Pulse writer raves about the Carne y Arena exhibition at the KANEKO. 

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Pulse writers give their thoughts on the current events surrounding the former president.

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Pulse writer reminisces on summer memories at Peony Park.

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Pulse writers give differing views on Nebraska Rep. Don Bacon's record.

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Pulse writer praises the newly renovated Gene Leahy Mall.

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The streetcar project should be voted on by the people of Omaha, a Pulse writer says.

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Pulse writer says gubernatorial candidate Carol Blood has worked on behalf of Nebraskans for years.

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Pulse writer says Nebraska's voter ID push violates the 24th Amendment and hurts elderly voters.

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Pulse writer says 

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The CHIPs Bill would add roughly $54 billion in new spending each year over the next 5 years, Pulse writer says.

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Pulse writer says that it's imperative we have lawmakers who are able to draw on their valuable military experience to ensure the United States is able to combat tyranny.

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Don Bacon has worked across the aisle to find common-sense solutions to climate change, Pulse writer says.

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Changes to the downtown Papillion crosswalk still leaves pedestrians at risk, Pulse writer says.

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Pulse writer's express their thoughts on Representative Bacon's votes on the “Women’s Health Protection Act of 2022” and “Ensuring Access to Abortion Act of 2022.”

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