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The Public Pulse: Remembering Tutu; Roads at issue; Midlands Voices response
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The Public Pulse: Remembering Tutu; Roads at issue; Midlands Voices response

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Hope and goodness

Archbishop Desmond Tutu said, “that forgiveness is how we unchain ourselves from the past.” We chose the “forgiveness cycle” instead of the revenge cycle.

We can teach our children to look at a problem from different points of view — to keep an open mind. To choose forgiveness over revenge.

This is how we evolve into better more compassionate, more peaceful creatures. Every major religion gives lip service to the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Sometimes it does seem impossible given all of our human failings ... greed, selfishness, lust for power and wealth ...

I do think that more people are becoming more caring ... about each other, our environment, etc. Unfortunately, the media devotes so much space to covering all the bad, hateful things that are going on in the world and not enough reporting about all the goodness and kindness that’s out there. To be fair I have seen more human interest stories at the end of news programs, so at least a bit of uplifting news at the end.

As we end 2021 and move on to 2022, let’s all take a few lessons from Archbishop Tutu and Jane Goodall, many off their thoughts and words are in this letter and excerpts from Jane’s Book “The Book of Hope.” Let us start 2022 with hope for our future, with compassion and love in our hearts, and with forgiveness and understanding and create a better world for ourselves, our families, our children and grandchildren. I do believe in hope and goodness. Thank you for reading this. Wishing each of you a happy, hopeful, compassionate New Year!

Rita Belz, Elkhorn

Substandard roads

When is a precedent not a precedent? When it’s not. The Omaha City Council recently voted against contributing an extra 10% to the cost of replacing substandard roads around Loveland Elementary School located at 82nd and Pacific. The main objections raised by naysayers Pete Festersen, Brinker Harding, Aimee Melton and Dan Rowe were in fear of setting a precedent for other street improvements in the city and of being “unfair” to other neighborhoods which only received a 50% match. So, what is different about this case and just why did residents of a relatively affluent area ask for a higher contribution? What’s different is this is a long-standing public safety issue that affects 300 elementary students and their families, one-fourth of whom come from throughout the city as “opt-in” transferees from Omaha Public Schools.

Loveland was never developed in the modern sense when AJ Love platted the land a century ago and provided only gravel roads. The two streets in question, which are immediately adjacent to the school grounds, are classified as substandard by the city and have been so throughout the 65 years since annexation. This represents over six decades of neglect by both the city and the school district. In order to win buy-in from the handful of private owners along these streets, several of whom are retired, residents proposed a financial solution that called for a 60% city contribution, 30% from Westside Community Schools and 10% from private owners. If this were the case, private owners would be assessed amounts comparable to recent street improvement projects in Loveland.

Providing a higher city contribution would not have set a precedent, far from it. It would only have recognized the city’s obligation to respond to a long-time problem affecting hundreds of children and residents in a case that is unique among the 178 schools in Omaha. We are not giving up, but are disappointed that our elected representatives took the easy way out on this issue. The negative vote was a mistake and a disservice to our community.

Peter Gadzinski, Omaha

Wonderful article

The Dec. 24 issue of the World-Herald had a wonderful Midlands Voices authored by Father Steven Boes. He has been the Boys Town president and national executive director since 2005. From everything I have heard and witnessed, he has done an outstanding job in that role.

Father Boes does not sugarcoat the tremendous failures of both Christian orphanages and reform schools. The atrocities should make one sick to their stomach.

Fortunately, in 1917, along came Father Edward Flanagan, the founder of Boys Town. His thought processes were totally different than previous organizations that worked with troubled and traumatized youth.

The Roman Catholic Church names new Saints on a regular basis. As I understand it, candidates had to perform at least two miracles. Father Flanagan’s philosophy, regarding troubled youth, has created miracles constantly for more than 100 years.

Please take the time to read this wonderful article regarding vulnerable children. May Father Boes remain in his current role until his days of retirement.

James J. Vihstadt, Sr., Papillion

Margo Carlson, Lincoln


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