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The Public Pulse: OPS, try this approach; Help the disabled; Israel/Palestinians

The Public Pulse: OPS, try this approach; Help the disabled; Israel/Palestinians

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OPS, try this approach

In an OWH May 10 article, Omaha Public Schools Superintendent Cheryl Logan stated that some schools support one set of children better than another set of children. She went on to state, this does not make her feel good to say as superintendent. To rectify this problem she sought out a program/consultant that will create major changes in all OPS high schools, not just the schools needing change.

It is true that Central High School parents and alumni seem to have the biggest problem with the academy/pathway program. Central High has the most to lose upon implementation of this program. Central has worked hard to maintain the academic excellence it has built over many decades. To fix what is not broken is not right.

Dr. Logan knew that there would be issues with the implementation of this program. She tried to ramrod it through without parental input. It is also apparent that very little input was sought from the staff at the high schools. After spending 42 years with OPS (the last 30 years as a principal), I feel OPS needs to focus on individual schools needing attention and let schools, such as Central, continue to provide quality education to the students they serve.

Ray Perrigo, Omaha

Hooray for Omaha arts

Kudos to Omaha By Design for organizing the public art project “Art + Infrastructure,” as reported in the Omaha World-Herald, and to Faith Charitable Trust for funding the project, and hats off to the talented artists for implementing and showcasing their wonderful talents at the ORBT stops in Omaha. What a great way to enhance our visual environment while uplifting the human spirit in the process of mitigating visual pollution. It’s a no brainer. Keep up the good work!

Michael Leonard, Omaha

Help these children

The legislators were not able to pass LB 376, which would have been a minimal attempt to help families and children in their medical and other needs. So much more is needed, but this at least would have been a move in a positive direction. I ask Nebraskans to try and understand the lack of leadership by our governor, the Legislature and the Department of Health and Human Services in so many areas and, in this case, with our most vulnerable population. This is not the first time nor will it be the last, unfortunately. A population who are not able to advocate for themselves because of their disability in most situations.

Why is it our governor can comment on anything and everything happening in Washington, D.C. but doesn’t have any interest in our own state and the needs of these human beings? Our mental health resources have been totally depleted over the years. Our son, Donny, resides at the Beatrice State Developmental Center, which is defined as an institution and so defamed by so many. We would say that it is and has been his home now and on a number of other occasions. Now the state again is trying to close it, not allow new admissions, reduce staffing and the list goes on. Another case where the state is not fulfilling its responsibility.

Our state could and should do so much more for families and individuals who need help. One only has to see what has happened to our child welfare system to observe more incompetence on the part of our governor and DHHS. People, please stand up, take an interest and understand the special needs of those in Nebraska. They need us and, by the way, they did not choose to have a disability, but we have a choice in helping them and their families.

Joe Valenti, Omaha

advocate for the developmentally disabled

Hatred toward Israel

I was appalled to read the Midlands Voices essay written by Naser Alsharif (“Middle East deserves peace with justice,” May 18). Even for the increasingly leftist Omaha World-Herald, this was a new low in publishing polemical rants. Mr. Alsharif depicts Palestinians as long-suffering victims of Israeli colonists in their ancestral homelands. He tries to project an image of Israel as a Derek Chauvin holding his knee on the neck of Palestinians, like a collective George Floyd. He states that the Israeli police stormed the Al-Aqsa mosque, causing Hamas to retaliate with “home-made” rockets.

Never mind the fact that Palestinians initiated the skirmish with a “protest” that included rocks slung at the police, which, incidentally, includes Arab-Israelis. And then, Mr. Alsharif states, Hamas retaliated with “home-made” rockets. More accurately, the terrorist organization, Hamas, which took control of Gaza by force in 2007 and gives shelter to another terrorist organization bent on the destruction of Israel, Islamic Jihad, launched thousands of explosives packed rockets at civilian populations in Israel — a universally recognized war crime. The rockets come from Iran and are smuggled into Gaza through a vast network of tunnels under the Gaza-Egyptian border. Hamas stages the rockets in civilian areas, knowing the counterattacks will injure civilians and conjure up sympathy in the West.

It is an easy step from there to blame Israel for all deaths and injuries and question its very existence. Of course, Hamas and its apologists, like Mr. Alsharif, do not want Israel to exist at all. Their ideal is a one-nation solution where all Palestinians can live and vote and vastly outnumber the Jews in one combined country. Imagine what would happen to that minority. Hamas and its sympathizers do not want a two-state solution. Despite the fact that Arabs in Israel have full citizenship rights, without an iota of the discrimination claimed by certain minorities in this country, Hamas apologists are now claiming that Israel practices apartheid — a ludicrous claim espoused by the likes of Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib.

The cause of peace between Israelis and Arabs is not helped by publishing grossly inaccurate, vituperative and hate-mongering articles like the piece by Mr. Alsharif, even on your Opinion page.

John Heida, Bellevue

Justice for Palestinians

Thank you for printing the essay “Middle East deserves peace With justice” in the May 18 Omaha World-Herald. Naser Alsharif points succinctly to massive and unjust abuse of the Palestinian people by Israel for many, many years. All too often, U.S. news reports imply that the Palestinians started it, and that the fighting is between near-equals. Little could be further from the truth. In reality, we see a David and Goliath scenario, where Israel, ironically, is the huge, boasting, well-armed Goliath to a puny Palestinian David. And who is the U.S. backing? Yes, we’re supporting the bad guy here.

There can be no peace until we begin to work for justice! We need to: 1. Tell the truth. And 2. Stop giving money and arms to Israel, who uses our aid to humiliate, segregate, injure and kill Palestinians and to keep stealing their land.

Sara Pahl-Ramirez, Omaha

Fight against polio

I would like to commend the World-Herald for its recent in-depth article regarding polio in Nebraska.

Today, there are 19 million people walking on Earth who would otherwise have been paralyzed by the wild polio virus, if not for international eradication efforts begun in 1979 by Rotarians, starting in the Philippines. An estimated 650,000 cases are now prevented each year. The world has gone four years without a case of wild polio virus outside of Afghanistan and Pakistan. There have been no cases in India for 10 years.

In Omaha, Downtown Rotary has raised $88,151 to fight the fight over decades. Rotarians in District 5650 (eastern Nebraska and southwest Iowa) have raised or contributed nearly $1.2 million. And Rotary International, founded and headquartered in Chicago, has raised $2.3 billion for the “Polio Plus Campaign” since 1985. A more recent partner and very significant contributor to the fight has been The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Rotary PolioPlus Funds most recently allocated for worldwide outbreak response, vaccines, research, operational support and surveillance include: $50 million each in October 2020 and in February 2021, with $50 million anticipated in June 2021. Rotarians never give up on the world’s children. And there are 1,800 of us in District 5650 alone, many who have traveled to India, Africa and other faraway places to personally administer vaccines.

Rotarians have also responded to the Ebola endemics and COVID-19 pandemic. Interestingly, trial data for the Salk Polio vaccine demonstrated 80-90% efficacy. Early Pfizer data indicated its COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective.

There is more information at endpolio.org and polioeradication.org.

John G. Sullivan, Omaha

president, The Rotary Club of Omaha (Downtown)

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