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The Public Pulse: Fireworks excess; The need for masks; Prevention excess; Juvenile center

The Public Pulse: Fireworks excess; The need for masks; Prevention excess; Juvenile center

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Rein in fireworks excess

When our daughter moved to Omaha, she told us that the people in Omaha lose their minds in June and July setting off fireworks with little regard to the community, friends or neighbors. The first time we visited her family, we made the mistake of coming in late June through the 4th of July week. The haze that lingered in the air day after day can only be compared to the air pollution along the New Jersey Turnpike in the ’60s.

The state, county and local officials need to get a handle on the actual sale and use, as well as where fireworks are set off. Fines of $100 would be like a gnat bite. Think in terms of thousands to make a real sting.

The responsibility is not limited to the people that set this off, but also to the officials that have been elected. This is not a time for those officials to be gutless. You have a beautiful city, and it takes everyone to keep it that way.

Larry Lavenberg, Columbia, Pennsylvania

Masks protect students, teachers

This past week I’ve read many stories of parents expressing their concern over their children wearing face masks in school this upcoming school year. Their justification is that their children are “too little” to understand, or that it is essentially a “petri dish” over their mouth, or that it’s their “right” to decide to wear one or not.

For those who have children who are “too little,” I’d like you to note the number of infants who wear eyeglasses and hearing aids to help them. Is your child in school unable to cope with a mask, or are you unwilling to help protect others, through the reduction of airborne spread, in the classroom?

And for those that claim a mask is dirty and will only lead to more infections and face lesions, when a baseball cap or sunglasses that are worn all day at a game, does this present the same problem? What about the doctors and nurses who wear masks for hours at a time for their job, especially in the current condition?

And rights are an important consideration. My child has a right to a safe educational environment. If another child is a carrier and not wearing a mask, they will have a greater chance to infect hundreds more children every time they attend school. My wife is a teacher and she has a right to a safe and healthy work environment herself.

Daniel Linder, Bellevue

Restrictions have gone too far

We were just informed that Elkhorn South High School’s summer football camp practices that have just begun have now been canceled until further notice based on the recommendation from Dr. Adi Pour, the director of the Douglas County Health Department, due to one player contracting COVID-19.

I cannot overstate the disappointment our community is feeling right now after all that has been lost in the past four months. We cannot and we won’t continue to operate in this manner. One player or even a group of players cannot dictate what a community does or does not do. This has never been the case and it never should be. As a community, we will not tolerate this continued unrealistic and draconian approach. We will fight for our families and our student athletes to get back to some normalcy — now.

Dr. Pour, as a part of a governing body, has set a very dangerous precedent here, and it has to stop. Returning to common sense is not optional.

I am asking Dr. Pour to help our community and advocate for common sense to prevail here.

We’ve gone way too far down a slippery slope here and must not allow this experience to continue to become a normal reaction to a person or group of people contracting this virus, or any virus, for that matter. Leaders like Dr. Pour need to step in and change course here.

Chris Ballard, Omaha

Elkhorn South High School parent

Just deal with it

Much has been bandied about constitutional rights in regard to wearing a mask or being able to walk around the State Capitol armed to the teeth. Remember the signs in business windows stating no shoes, no shirt, no service? Most people had no problem, right?

According to people who have shown up armed at the State Capitol, I’m supposed to deal with it. Can’t the same be said about people who take social responsibility for others and themselves by wearing a mask? Shouldn’t the people who don’t want to wear a mask just deal with it?

Robert Nunez Jr., Omaha

Best way to help juveniles

Johnny Rodgers’ story, as he told it in his July 5 Midland Voices commentary, is a dream come true — one we would wish for all of our kids. But he missed the point completely regarding the opposition by County Board members Boyle and Cavanaugh to building a downtown kids’ jail. And the community has not bought into this project.

Our Omaha, the group of which I’m president, has researched this issue and protested for the past two years against the wasteful $39 million proposed location of the Douglas County Youth Center. And no, Mr. Rodgers, minors are not a part of the adult system, nor would they be under any circumstances. Currently, the Youth Center has 90,000 square feet and a maximum of 96 beds, an adequate number to accommodate the average daily population of 70 kids. It is located on several acres with greenspace near neighborhoods. The proposed downtown kids’ jail is a four-story cell block with no greenspace except some grass on the roof and 61,000 square feet which will accommodate only 64 kids. It’s too small before it is even built. It’s expensive and won’t save a single child.

The current Youth Center could be remodeled and include two courtrooms for $15 million less than the proposed downtown center. No new social programs, outreach, mental health, nutrition programs, jobs programs or tutoring come with the new building. Only bricks and mortar.

Let’s invest this money in our children, not put it in the pockets of builders and developers.

Greg Sechser, Omaha

Show respect to achieve progress

In Rod Carlson’s July 1 Pulse letter, “Racist actions,” he appears to want to define unilaterally what does or does not constitute “racism”! There is no doubt that racism exists in our society (and virtually every society in the world). However, the term racism has too often been used in an incendiary way to smear anyone who does not agree with what the accuser considers their more “progressive” (anti-racist?) views. The terms “systemic racism” and “white supremacy” are thrown about recently with no context, as blanket accusations that are certain to do little more than inflame the current dialogue, a dialogue that does need to occur.

Mr. Carlson states that one is racist if one doesn’t vote (irresponsible, perhaps, but not racist!). He states that one is racist if one doesn’t acknowledge the economic (racial) disparities that exist, and assume that everyone has equal opportunity. In essence, if I or anyone doesn’t agree with Mr. Carlson’s viewpoint, we are essentially racists!

This unfortunately is a perfect example of the usage of “racism” and “white privilege” as incendiary accusations and slogans, and minimizes the opportunity for serious discussions regarding the primary issues that need to be addressed. These include economic and educational opportunity, primarily in the inner cities. What is systemic is the poverty and often horrendous inner-city schools that limit the opportunities of certainly black citizens but, also, all who are trapped in the inner-city urban enclaves.

Perhaps if there is more discussion of these issues (such as Preston Love Jr.’s column, June 21) and fewer incendiary epithets and “virtue signaling” about who or who is not a racist, solutions could begin to emerge!

G.R. Florine, Omaha

Vote by mail a great option

In the 2016 presidential election, only 61.4% of eligible citizens voted. Think how different our lives might be if more people voted. Personally, we would crawl over broken glass while being chased by hungry wolves to vote in this upcoming presidential election. Fortunately, no one has to risk his/her life to vote. We can now vote by mail.

July 6, 2020, was the first day that voting ballot requests for the general (presidential) election were accepted. Please vote. Your future is at stake.

David and Barbara Daughton, Omaha

Moral compass

In response to Susan Kuhlmann (Pulse, July 9, “Does Trump have no shame?):

To have (exhibit) shame, one must first possess a moral compass. To date, he has not demonstrated having such a compass.

Annabelle Keene, Bellevue

Russian bounties

While the White House continues to downplay the intelligence surrounding the accusations that Russia paid a bounty to the Taliban to kill American soldiers, what is factual, according to our generals and intelligence reports, is the fact that Russia has been supplying Taliban soldiers with cash and weapons for years now. Please tell me what the difference is.

Rick Madej, Omaha

Democrats, slavery, history

Amazing that Susan Kuhlmann (July 9 Pulse) talks about the “history” surrounding slavery and blaming it all on Trump, who hasn’t been president for even four years. Possibly she should check history further back than four years and find out what party a lot of the slavery supporters were and what their voting record was.

Also, drive through Klansman Robert Byrd’s West Virginia and see all the memorials named for him. Just one former powerful Democrat.

Daryl Achenbach, Omaha

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