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The Public Pulse: Vaccinations crucial; Simon family legacy; Energy facts; Stop bickering

The Public Pulse: Vaccinations crucial; Simon family legacy; Energy facts; Stop bickering

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Vaccinations crucial

One hears about the return to “normalcy” after COVID-19, but vaccine hesitancy, the unwillingness to be inoculated with either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, becomes a major sticking point (pun intended).

A significant number of people, including health care workers and military personnel, view their vaccine hesitancy as due to the “rushed” vaccine regulatory review, mistrust of employers, or putative conspiracy theories, despite their access to reliable sources. With lessening of social distancing mandates, emerging variants less tractable to vaccines, and children not being inoculated, these no-jab folks remain a vulnerable vector for continued spread with COVID-19 possibly becoming endemic.

In response to a question about vaccine hesitancy, Dr. Jeffrey Gold, chancellor of UNMC, in a recent Zoom meeting said the chances of dying from the vaccine are 2 to 4 per million, while for COVID-19 infection, 10,000 per million. “You do the math,” he quipped.

William P. Koslosky, M.D., Omaha

Simons’ legacy

I was saddened to read of the death of Bruce Simon. In a short period of time, we have lost three of the Simon family, Bruce, Alan and Fred, who have made a lasting impact not only on the growth and expansion of Omaha Steaks, but of Omaha itself.

I remember the first time I introduced Alan and Bruce to the World Wide Web at UNO in the 1990s. I believe it was an ad for a flower shop. I worked with Alan for 30 years on various community initiatives, including serving with him on the city’s job training committee. I worked with Fred on search committees for UNMC’s dean of public health. These three, along with Todd Simon, have made significant and lasting contribution to Omaha’s fine arts and human services nonprofits that will stand the test of time.

A personal thanks to all of them and their families for what they have done to make Omaha a better place to live.

B.J. Reed, Omaha

Same old, same old

Reading lots of complaining here in the Public Pulse, not many thought-out solutions or conclusions. Why submit if you can’t add to the conversation? For all the thumbs up/thumbs down regulars: Online comment section, this ain’t.

Tom May, Omaha

Energy facts

Gov. Ricketts’ statements regarding this week’s issues in our energy systems were both uninformed and concerning. The primary factor behind the outages, both planned and unplanned, is a lack of resilience in all aspects of the energy system — generation, supply chain, transmission and distribution. Investments in resilience in infrastructure can be expensive, but they almost always pay off over the long term.

The governor also used the term “radical environmentalists” to apparently characterize anyone else who might believe that there is a need for long-term transition of our energy systems away from fossil fuels. The governor is likely in the minority in this position. Most Americans believe that dealing with climate change is a high priority.

This use of political labeling of those with a different opinion is very unfortunate and is a reason for the political polarization that is crippling our country. The governor is practicing “radical short-sightedness” in his knowledge of our energy systems and in his leadership.

Mike McMeekin, Omaha

VA income policy

This in regard to “VA income limit” by Mr. Daniel Cannella (Feb. 17 Pulse). I also served from 1965-1969 and went to the VA hospital to get a COVID-19 vaccination. I am 74 years old. I was also turned away because of the combined income limitation. After the gentleman at the VA explained the income limit to me, I told him that the recruiter back in 1965 said we had full VA benefits. He said the recruiter might have said, by the time you reach the 70s age group, some politicians (that probably did not serve) will have changed the benefits and won’t tell you unless you ask.

So, I feel confident there is a large number of veterans that are in the non-full-benefit status.

Larry Palmer, Omaha

Loan forgiveness

My wife and I are so astounded. We just watched an NBC news report about Biden’s wanting to forgive $10,000 of student loans. They showed a family that has three kids and a nice brick home, and these “adults” (or should we call them immature, undisciplined spenders) have the gall to want other Americans like you and me to subsidize their overspending on college while having more kids, more house, or more lifestyle than they obviously could afford. This, when their priority should have been all along to repay their loan and keep a spending budget to live within their means.

Another spoiled egocentric and irresponsible person in the story said she needed $50,000 relief. These people made the decision that a particular university/degree was worth X number of dollars to them, and so it’s their job now to make their degrees work for them and make money to pay off the loan. These people have no shame and think the country owes them something. John Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”

These entitled Americans don’t grasp that concept, did not listen and are a disgrace. Heck, many would like their mortgage paid off. All loans matter!

Jerry Pascale, Omaha

Stop the bickering

It is abhorrent to me that at a time people in our country are suffering and dying, both parties seize the chance to turn this tragedy into a political football. We are quick to aid others when tragedy strikes, but when it hits our own country, we turn to finger pointing and bickering instead of empathy and helping. This is truly disheartening and not the American way.

Rich Herold, Omaha

Airmen/OPS link

With the death of the last linking Airman, Robert Holts, a Tuskegee airman, much has been written recently about those Tuskegee Airmen and their contribution to the victory of our allies in WWII. Nothing has been said about the Alfonza W. Davis Middle School in the Omaha Public Schools. That school was opened in August 2013 and named in honor of Alfonza W. Davis.

This oversight is perhaps because the school is most often referred to as Davis Middle School. I remember when the OPS school board made that decision. I was moved at the time, and I still appreciate the effort made to recognize these honored servicemen.

Nancy W. Huston, La Vista

A progressive Iowa past

Since it’s Black History Month:

When people think of school integration, they think if the 1960s, but the first court-ordered school integration took place in Muscatine, Iowa, in 1868, three years after the end of the Civil War. A 12-year-old girl, Susan Clark, became the first black child to attend an integrated school due to a court order. The Iowa Supreme Court issued that order in a case brought by Susan’s father, Alexander Clark, 86 years before Brown vs Board of Education.

In the Iowa case, a judge named Chester Cole ruled the Muscatine school board’s racial segregation policy was illegal. The Iowa Supreme Court was the first court in the nation to say segregation was illegal.

Stuart Wood, Bellevue

John Cook excellence

Like most Nebraska athletic fans, I was pleased with the hiring of Scott Frost. Like most Nebraska athletic fans, I was pleased with the hiring of Fred Hoiberg. Like most Nebraska athletic fans, it is hard to discern which of these two coaches is the most disappointing. At this juncture, it would appear that neither coach is progressing toward turning their programs into established winners.

Thankfully, Nebraska continues to have the services of volleyball coach John Cook. It may be worthwhile for Frost and Hoiberg to spend some of their time reading the book “Dream Like a Champion.” John Cook’s book is an excellent read, regardless of one’s interest in athletics.

James J. Vihstadt Sr., Papillion

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