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The Public Pulse: Nebraska, let's look to our positives; Redrawing the Gretna district

The Public Pulse: Nebraska, let's look to our positives; Redrawing the Gretna district

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Nebraskans should stop yielding to a longstanding inferiority complex and work together to move forward, a Pulse writer says. 

Look to our positives

Re: “Nebraska Expats point to brain drain problem” by Will Grove (More Commentary, Sept. 19):

All my life I have been reading articles and hearing speeches about what is wrong with Nebraska and why it experiences a “brain drain” of young people. While the brain drain is something we should be concerned with, I think it is part of a longstanding inferiority complex this state has. Young people in small Nebraska towns, for example, often feel they are limited in their career and life aspirations, and lack mentors and support networks to tell them otherwise. Ironically, people who have migrated to Nebraska from places as diverse as the U.K. and California to start businesses or join a corporation are often surprised at all that Nebraska has to offer. In my world travels, I invariably encounter people who are either from Nebraska or want to go there. Indeed, I have an Italian friend who lives on the Italian Riviera whose dream it is to live in Nebraska.

Of course there is no other place like New York City. Let’s get over that. But Nebraska has its own beauty and opportunities, along with the lowest unemployment rate, and affordable cost of living. And after all, most of us stayed in Nebraska, brains intact. So let’s get over the inferiority complex and keep working to make Nebraska an even better place to live.

Rebecca S. Fahrlander, Ph.D., Bellevue

Signs of the time

Protesters hold signs “Let them breathe.” Will they be satisfied when they or a loved one needs to be hospitalized and placed on a respirator? Will their signs then say “Give me a bed?”

Virginia Davidsaver, Omaha

Gretna district

Now is the time to have a district that better represents our area and in particular create a “community of interest” that represents our growing population in the Gretna School District.

Having a district that better represents the growth in our area with similar challenges is essential. One example is the assessed value to our residential and rural land within our school district. Land prices in our area run from $30,000/acre (no access to water and sewer) to $60,000/acre with access to water and sewer. In Saunders County their acre prices depending on soil type/slope/flood issues are between $4,800-6,000/acre. Just in this example alone, our property tax assessments, infrastructure development, continued economic development, etc. are just one example of the gross difference in our communities.

LB4, a proposed redistricting for state legislative seats, provides a map that is similar to our Gretna school boundaries and continues north into Douglas County to areas that are growing in a similar fashion as our area. We have common interests and challenges. This district, while not perfect, is a better representation of our growing area.

Please also reach out to the Redistricting Committee at this email address: to advocate that we have a district that better represents us.

Angie Lauritsen, Gretna

Transformational leader

Mike Boyle was transformational. As election commissioner, he introduced innovations that created the efficient and accurate electoral processes that serve all of us in Douglas County to this day. As mayor of Omaha, he brought new energy to City Hall and a new commitment to creating a great, just, humane and inclusive city. As a county commissioner, he was relentlessly dedicated to the two primary purposes of county government — justice and necessary services to people, especially those with the least influence and greatest need. Throughout his public life, he was intolerant of conventional wisdom, artificial barriers, inertia, excuses, and above all racism and intolerance itself.

But Mike Boyle was most transformational in his very humanity. At his memorial service, one of his grandsons read Isaiah 58:6-10. This passage is the credo of Mike Boyle. Mike used to refer to my mother of blessed memory as his “Jewish mother.” In Jewish folklore there is a legend of the “lamed vavniks,” 36 people of such great goodness that for their sake, God sustains the world. I have no doubt that Mike Boyle was a lamed vavnik. His humanity and goodness establish a standard for the rest of us to reach for.

Martin Shukert, Omaha

Valuable help

I’d like to give a big shout out to Nick Amato, who works for St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Lincoln and also his father Jim for letting us know about the N-95 masks, which are much needed at all the homeless shelters. The hospital was going to throw them away until we got a call from Jim Amato, informing us about about the masks. They provided the Stephen’s Center homeless shelter which we shared with Open Door and Siena Francis House. In conclusion, with the outbreaks of COVID. We greatly appreciated St. Elizabeth’s hospital and Nick Amato.

Robert Macaitis, Bellevue

Texas law

The restrictive anti-abortion law in Texas and the outsized reaction to it are noteworthy as indicators of deeply held beliefs on both sides of the issue. It is possible that some results of the law may not be as disastrous as abortion supporters may fear.

There may be more consistent and effective use of contraceptives and the morning-after pill. Women, knowing that there is such a limited time frame, may also be motivated to seek pregnancy testing and related care in a more timely manner after an unprotected encounter. These activities are not subject to the new law.

Perhaps even the most ardent proponents of abortion may recognize that these particular results are not necessarily bad.

Susan Judd, Omaha

We must be humane

People have a right to seek asylum in the U.S. Recent policies caging the children and shipping the parents to Mexico is beyond cruel. To expel South and Central American migrants of Haitian descent is a new kind of cruelty. One can’t help thinking racism plays a role. To see our government on horses rounding these people up like cattle, with ropes and whips is horrifying. Also, who came up with the idea to ship them, without letting them know their destination? This evokes images of slave transports to a foreign land.

Haitians have sought refuge in South America for decades. Many have not been to Haiti for years and may not even speak the language. Port au Prince is struggling with great political uncertainty, violence and unrest. The president was assassinated, and they are recovering from a 7.2 earthquake. To send them to this epicenter compounds both their and the country’s suffering.

The U.S. foreign policy has contributed to much of the suffering and inequities in Haiti, as well as Central and South America, starting from their independence declaration in 1804. I could delineate all the instances, but it would be too long. Suffice it to say that we owe all of them the chance to seek asylum from injustices that in no small part the U.S. government has had a hand in making.

Rachel Dowd, Omaha

Vaccines work

Regarding Jay Purdy’s allegation (Sept. 19 Pulse) that President Biden is overstepping his bounds by mandating a vaccine, he should know the following: After vaccines, cases of smallpox, diphtheria, measles, polio and mumps were decreased by over 99%. Back then, people got vaccinated for the common good.

If you get sick, Jay Purdy, please stay home and don’t infect the rest of us. We need the hospital beds. Good luck.

Dave Peck, Bellevue

Timely comparison

Imagine you had information that could have stopped the Sept. 11 attacks. Now imagine you did nothing about it. That’s the choice anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers make as they insist on prolonging a pandemic that every two days kills as many Americans as the 9/11 attacks did twenty years ago. What retribution will be paid by our leaders who have killed more Americans than Osama bin Laden could have ever dreamed of?

Lane Phillips, Omaha

Health, not politics

In the OWH on Sept. 10, Gov. Pete Ricketts is quoted as saying in response to President Biden’s new vaccine rules: “This isn’t about public health — this is about government control and taking away personal liberties.” This is an interesting statement if one looks at the definitions of key words used.

The National Institutes of Health have identified that public health is about protecting the public’s health and safety, and the Supreme Court has granted the Federal Government broad powers under the Constitution to accomplish the public goals. Personal liberty is generally understood to be the freedom of an individual to do as they please. One of the exceptions noted for personal liberty is securing the public’s health. A concept not mentioned by the governor is civil liberties, which indicate an individual only needs to follow laws that are for the good of the community.

The president is requiring employers to either require workers to be vaccinated or be tested for COVID-19 weekly. The CDC reports close to 644,000 cases of mortality due to COVID-19 and the number is likely underestimated. Cases are trending upwards with non-vaccinated and younger ages becoming more prominent. Douglas County, for example, is identified by the CDC has experiencing a high transmission rate.

A review of these key concepts indicates a significant public health problem that supersedes personal liberties. As a nurse, I choose public health and civil liberties over personal liberties. Unfortunately, only a politician would only mention parts of concepts that support their political beliefs, and not the well-being of their constituents.

Mary Tracy, Omaha


An editorial Sunday about Gov. Pete Ricketts’ comparison of the flu to COVID among children included a disparity in data cited by The World-Herald and that used by the Governor’s Office. In tracking child deaths from COVID-19, the Governor’s Office uses data of children 17 and younger; The World-Herald data was for 18 and younger. As of Sept. 15, the former is 439; the latter is 516.

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