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The Public Pulse: OPS mask mandate; City council vote; Nursing home closures
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The Public Pulse: OPS mask mandate; City council vote; Nursing home closures

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Mask up

We want to commend the Omaha Public Schools for its continuation of a mask mandate. This is not the time to stop mask mandates. The highly infectious omicron variant will soon challenge Nebraska’s health care system. Even more alarming for schools, omicron is spreading faster in the younger age groups. An additional health concern is that influenza typically peaks between December and February. Omicron and influenza can both be spread by inhaling small airborne droplets that contain the virus. Mask wearing can provide a barrier to these droplets and can help reduce the transmission of omicron and influenza. Schools and businesses must consider implementing mask mandates to keep hospitals from being overwhelmed by the worrisome twosome of omicron and influenza.

David and Barbara Daughton, Omaha

Street work

Here we go again! The “good ol' boys” system is alive and well! Our esteemed city council voted to pay 50% of street paving costs for an area much more affluent than those who never received any financial help (Dec. 22). They say the city is going to pay? That’s you and me, my friend.

Decades ago, we in the area of 85th and Seward, had to pay more  for paving our streets. I can assure you the Loveland area consists of much more affluent citizens than ours!

The sub-headline read: “Some members express concerns on favoring one neighborhood over another”. Not too much, it would appear.

The article mentions a “precedent”. Please more on that, as I don’t recall anything about that.

Bottom line: We can’t trust our elected leaders, locally and nationally to fairly represent us.

Charles Garber, Omaha

Virus question

It is a fact that over 650,000 people every year die of heart disease.

Leading causes of this are obesity, sedentary lifestyle, alcohol and tobacco use. Would you be in favor of the government mandating your maximum weight, 30 minutes of daily exercise, and limiting or eliminating your alcohol and tobacco use? All of which would contribute to better health. It is also a fact that a fully vaccinated person can catch, pass along and die from COVID-19 . To be clear, I am not anti-mask or anti-vax, but I do believe it is a gross overreach of power for the government to mandate either. After much study and thought on this, I do have a question. Is this really about health or about control?

Jim Birkel, Fremont

Open and honest

Many Americans seem to oppose critical race theory because they want to believe that racism is decreasing and becoming less a problem for our minorities. They see more minorities elected to political office and more appearing in television, more media attention, more equitable treatment of minorities. However, almost every day we can read news about racist treatment of blacks, Asians, Indigenous people, gays, lesbians, and transgender persons women, and children.

I taught high school American history and CRT for 33 years. I also taught classes in prejudice and discrimination, the Soviet Union, and African-American history. I taught both the complimentary and the uncomplimentary issues in each topic.

Today, many of my students say I taught critical thinking. I encouraged my students to discuss opposing opinions (with evidence), to disagree with me and issues. The issue of racism was always current — slavery, the Jim Crow system after the slaves were freed, their treatment today in being pushed by prejudice into ghettoes and secondary jobs and denied opportunities — yes, still today. The treatment of the indigenous persons, the killing of thousands of them, and being pushed into ghettoes (reservations.)

Hundreds of Native women murdered and raped. The deportation of Mexicans in the early 19th Century. The rounding up of thousands of Japanese Americans, permitting them to leave homes with only one suitcase each and their loss of bank accounts, homes, business and farms and then moved to 10 internment camps for four years.

Yes, CRT is a current dilemma and always will be as long as we are human. And it is critical to all those millions who suffer from it. We must discuss it openly and honestly.

Tom Black, West Point, Neb.


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