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The Public Pulse: Energy woes; Old-time Nebraska cold; Teachers, vaccine; Antisemitism

The Public Pulse: Energy woes; Old-time Nebraska cold; Teachers, vaccine; Antisemitism

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Natural gas delivery

I would like to express my appreciation to the hundreds of workers for Northern Natural Gas and MUD that have worked tirelessly over the past weeks to make certain that all of their customers were able to receive their natural gas without any disruptions.

Northern Natural Gas has been providing gas transportation services throughout the Midwest for years and specifically during this extremely difficult time (COVID and extreme weather). Northern has always been able to transport the natural gas efficiently and safely, without disruption or interruption of service.

Northern Natural Gas and other pipelines have been providing our country with a very efficient and reliable source of energy!

Mike Zabawa, Valley, Neb.

Third World state

Gov. Ricketts said, “We are not some developing nation who has an unreliable power grid,” referring to power outages. He is trying to bolster the need for fossil fuels, oil, coal and gas, which cause the weather extremes we are experiencing and downgrade environmental solutions to climate change.

At the same time he says nothing about our Third World health care, education or poverty.

James Krueger, Omaha

Cold, then and now

We will all remember 2021 as a year of record cold. As an old-timer, I can also remember that 1936 was a record year in Nebraska in more ways than one. That year had one of the coldest winters and one of the hottest summers in Nebraska history. One winter day I can remember walking down a sidewalk in Columbus with my brother when he showed me that when he expectorated (spit), the liquid saliva froze into a solid pellet of ice before it hit the ground and bounced on the sidewalk like a little ball. Also, as an old-time farmer, I can remember that 1936 was an especially bad year for drought, dust storms and grasshoppers in Nebraska.

So, enjoy this record. It will soon be a thing of the past.

J.F. Johnson, Omaha

Troubling outages

On Tuesday, on orders from the Southwest Power Pool, OPPD enacted rolling blackouts that disrupted traffic, caused accidents and affected thousands. I listened to at least three interviews of the president of OPPD, and his one and only reason was basically, they told us to do it.

I’m extremely unimpressed.

I don’t know the exact numbers, and I’m sure OPPD won’t tell us, but I suspect that it would have been very easy to disconnect all the gigantic data centers first. They are a huge load, they have multiple feeds from different substations and they all have generators. I’m guessing one data center would offset hundreds, if not thousands, of homes.

This is what you get when you have politicians running the utility.

Neil Willer, Omaha

Home protection

A reminder to all homeowners if, god forbid, a tragedy should happen here as is happening in the southern states where power is lost and below freezing temps occur at the same time: Please be aware of how to shut your water supply off to your interior water lines. There should be a main water valve (probably in your basement) where the water line comes into your house. If you turn that off, that would shut off the water, but that is just to the lines in your house. It does not shut off the water up to the valve. To do that, you need to find what is called a water stop curb box. That would be outside in the yard between the house and MUD’s water main — that will shut everything off. On an older house, that may be hard to find (or it might not even be there) and it takes a special tool to work the valve, so unless MUD or a plumber would be able to do that in time, you might not be able to shut that portion of the water off. But at least, the interior of the house would be more protected.

I’m surprised the people in Houston, Dallas, etc. weren’t advised to do this when the forecasts were such that frozen lines were imminent. Homes could be uninhabitable for months before repairs could be made.

Clark Squires, Omaha

Teachers need the shots

I teach fifth grade in Omaha, and I am surprised and upset by the lack of support that Gov. Ricketts is giving to teachers in the classroom during this pandemic. Initially we were promised that we would be in one of the first groups vaccinated. We have been declared “essential workers,” and most teachers have been in the classroom since August supporting our community by taking care of the academic, social and emotional needs of our students.

However, Gov. Ricketts has repeatedly moved teachers down the line for vaccination. The argument that classrooms have been shown to be safe when CDC guidelines of six feet and masks are utilized, gives a false sense of security. I am in a school that is doing everything in its power to help keep our staff and students safe, but those things are not possible in a classroom. I have 26 students in my windowless classroom. We are not six feet apart. Masks are not always worn properly. Students forget, some have issues that make masks harder, and students often put their fingers in their mouths and noses, even with masks — think back to your days in school!

Students are also eating in our classrooms since they are unable to eat in the cafeteria, which means that teachers have no choice but to go eat in the lounge with other unmasked adults.

Many states, including Iowa, have already vaccinated their teachers, so for the governor to simply say the supply is not there feels dismissive. Please, think of your favorite teachers growing up or the teachers who educate your children every day and contact Gov. Ricketts about vaccinating Nebraska’s teachers now.

Lindsay Rathouz, Omaha

Antisemitism’s danger

District 66 has an obligation to directly address and educate its staff and students on the pervasive nature of antisemitism in its community, in Omaha and worldwide. Quoting Hitler is not a one-off accident; it indicates a tolerance for antisemitism and an expectation of the Jewish students to acquiesce to yet another dog whistle that undermines their humanity.

The Anti-Defamation League has reported record high numbers of antisemitic incidents in the U.S. Since 2018, antisemitic vandalism has risen by 19%, and assault by 56%. Omaha has a robust Jewish history and an abundance of local resources that District 66 should continue to leverage to create a meaningful curriculum that includes Jewish history and provides a safe environment where Jewish students and staff feel welcome and respected.

Amy Cherko, Omaha

Lasting harm

Early last year I recognized Trump preparing his base to believe mail-in ballots were overwhelmingly fraudulent, though 40 years of investigative oversight had never revealed any fraudulent activity of significance. His misinformation poisoned public discourse and generated unnecessary challenges during a deadly pandemic, creating needlessly dangerous circumstances for the entire country, especially the immuno-compromised.

Then, his lies and baseless claims went unimpeded by most Republicans who well knew the truth but schemed to capitalize on the rising tide of fear and perceived injustice he had instigated. I watched the Jan. 6 insurrection in horror.

I am deeply disappointed with the 43 Republican senators, including Sen. Deb Fischer, who chose not to hold Trump accountable for inciting an insurrection against his own government. No matter the reason(s), that decision will affect this nation’s future for generations to come.

No technicality will explain to my teenage daughter why, when consequences for violence in school are swift and painful, there are no consequences for violently attempting to overthrow a branch of the United States government.

Democracy operates on trust and goodwill. Believing those with different views are still worthy of our full cooperation is imperative! I’m especially grateful to Sen. Ben Sasse for not following along with mob rule or the deification of our leaders. Sadly, by standing for truth and democracy among Republicans in Nebraska, he now stands alone. The damage done to our political institutions by former president Trump cannot be overstated.

Sarah Wheeler, Omaha

Sasse is right

I would like to applaud Sen. Ben Sasse for his stance against Donald Trump. I disapprove of the Nebraska GOP censuring Ben Sasse. Did he say anything that was untrue about Donald Trump? Did not Trump disrespect almost every foreign head of state, did he not retaliate against anyone who disagreed with him, did he not lie constantly, as examples of what Ben Sasse said about Trump?

If you don’t believe the attack on Congress was an attack on our government, our democracy, our way of life, then don’t call yourself an American. If you still think Trump won the election, I feel sorry for you. The only fraud committed during the election was in the mind of Donald Trump, and he got everyone to drink the Kool-Aid and believe everything he said as gospel truth.

The vote on impeachment should not have been about just following party lines, it should have been about justice. Again, I thank Sen. Ben Sasse for his stance for truth and justice.

Jerry Baker, Omaha

GOP hypocrisy

The hypocrisy of those Republicans who still believe in Donald Trump’s innocence of insurrection is astonishing. If the president of the United States on Jan. 6 had been a Democrat, they would be clamoring for his removal from office. They would be voting for his impeachment. Right and wrong do not have a political affiliation.

Birte Gerlings, Omaha

Most outstanding

As a continuous subscriber for 48 years, I reference Michael Wagner’s letter (Feb. 16 Pulse) describing the most outstanding World-Herald carrier, and I must disagree. We live in the woods with a circular long driveway full of snow at 5 o’clock in the morning, with drifts three-quarters of a foot high. Our carrier makes it every morning up my steps, placing the newspaper inside my outer door.

With three heart attacks, a broken hip and at 88 years old, I never miss my 7 o’clock morning reading to start my day. i vote him for most outstanding.

Bill Jensen, Omaha

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