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The Public Pulse: Event mask compliance; Thank you, Santa; Kudos for Creighton production

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Venue rules enforcement

Recently, my husband and I attended three wonderful events at the Holland Center. We thoroughly enjoyed Ann Hampton Callaway and Salem Baptist Choir’s “Joyful Noise.” Compliance with the Holland Center’s mask mandate at both performances made us feel safe and we could thoroughly enjoy the shows.

At the Clint and Lisa Hartman Black concert, however, the atmosphere was completely different. Many attendees refused to comply with venue rules. The ushers did their best to encourage folks to keep their masks on, and turn off electronic devices, however as soon as they walked away, the masks came right back off again and videos commenced. Seeing there were no consequences, others around us began removing their masks too.

Even though we have been vaccinated and wore our masks as required throughout the concert, the lack of enforcement made us and others around us feel nervous and uncomfortable to the point where we could not enjoy what was an amazing concert. We are now questioning whether it is worth putting our health and lives in danger by attending future events at the Holland, Orpheum and other Omaha venues. Judging from the poor turnout for this last concert, we are not alone in our concerns.

If they are going to continue hosting live entertainment, Omaha event venues must consider improving enforcement to protect the public, staff and performers. If someone is warned once by the ushers and still refuses to comply, security should be engaged to immediately remove the offenders from the venue. Proof of vaccination before entering a venue should also be a requirement. We enjoy supporting Omaha Arts, and after a long absence were thrilled to begin attending live events once again. I am praying the actions of an ignorant few do not ruin the return to live entertainment for the rest of us.

Jon Nelson, Omaha

Do your part

The opinions in this letter are my own and do not reflect the position of my employer. As a health care worker and a church musician, my heart aches to see so many people in churches who refuse to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Over 5 million people have died from COVID-19 worldwide, and thousands more are dying every day. Every death is a grievous loss of an irreplaceable life God created with great care and great love.

We know that COVID-19 is spread when an infected person breathes, talks, sings, coughs or sneezes around others. We know we can spread the virus before we are symptomatic and wearing a mask can help prevent this. We know that some people we infect will get sick, some will suffer long-term health problems, and some will die. And while we may never know which people we infect, and who of them will then die, we have nonetheless contributed to their suffering and death.

We also know that COVID-19 vaccines greatly reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to others. They reduce the risk of dying from COVID-19 by greater than 90%. And they greatly reduce risk of hospitalization and ICU care which is stretching our healthcare system to its limit, burning out health care workers, and decreasing the quality and availability of health care for all of us.

I love the church but I hate seeing so many of my fellow churchgoers who have such cavalier disregard for life as to refuse vaccination and mask wearing. To me, this is a failure of Christian love and a rejection of the Gospel. We in the church are called to love, to sacrifice for others and to heal, not kill. Thank you for doing your part by getting vaccinated and wearing a mask. And may the Lord have mercy on us all!

Rod Carlson, Omaha

Santa’s jeans

On Dec. 18, I took my two grandsons to the Durham to see the tree, and hopefully Santa. My 5-year-old grandson declined visiting Santa. Just as he said that, I noticed a man near the tree, with a full white beard, bright red shirt, and blue jeans. I pointed to the man and told my grandson maybe that was Santa. He said, “Santa doesn’t wear jeans.” So, we went up to the gentleman, and I said, “Excuse me, sir, my grandson doesn’t think that Santa wears blue jeans.” The kind man proceeded to say that Santa wears his red suit only on Christmas, and that other days of the year he needs to work, so he wears jeans and comfortable shoes, and then he asked my grandson what he wanted for Christmas. He was so bewildered that he didn’t know what to say. However, I am saying a big thank you to the thoughtful gentleman who kindly talked with my grandson about Santa and blue jeans.

Becky Balestri, Omaha

Creighton dancers

Kudos to the Creighton University dancers for their excellent production of “The Nutcracker.” It was a spectacular show! Seeing the college students playing the “children” in the party scene was fun! They were great! The dance director, Patrick Roddy, and his assistants did an outstanding job, not only with the choreography, but also with adding their creative touches. It would be neat if CU advertised their dance performances so more people would know about them and be able to attend.

Pat Carlson, Omaha

Rewarding teachers

The article on the South Dakota teachers who were “humiliated” to participate in a “Grab For Cash” event I find very interesting. Do they not have free choice? These individuals are responsible for teaching our children. Those who may have felt this was a childish way to be rewarded, should have voiced their concerns in advance. I believe this was simply an effort to reward our hard-working teachers with a fun way to have access to a bit of Christmas bonus money. We are all accountable for our own choices. If some teachers felt insulted, they could have been grown-up enough to voice their concerns and just not participate. I hope this school district re-thinks the way they reward good teachers. We need them!

Marie Salistean, Omaha

Coaching thoughts

Can John Cook coach football? Can Amy Williams coach men’s basketball? Way to go Lady Huskers! Here’s hoping the men can catch up someday.

Mike Rush, Omaha


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