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Environmental Alchemy

When it rains in Omaha, it pours raw sewage, industrial waste and toxic chemicals into nearby waterways. The city’s century-old sewer system is designed to either put it there or into your basement. Neither is an inviting option. But that design is changing thanks to a federal mandate from the Environmental Protection Agency. The oldest part of the city — nearly everything east of 72nd St. —...

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<p>Some of the community leaders behind the first South Omaha Violence and Intervention meeting.  </p>

Ganging Up

Alberto Gonzales didn’t enter the meeting room at the South Omaha Library on March 15 so much as the room opened up and embraced him. The 30 or so community leaders at the first South Omaha Violence Prevention and Intervention meeting included: local clergy members; representatives from the mayor’s office; citizens; school advisors; the captain of Omaha’s Southeast Police Precinct; and...

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Hard Climb Ahead

Get comfortable before you ask state Sen. Kathy Campbell what concerns and questions she has about Nebraska's child welfare privatization program. You're likely to be there for a while. “Is the program as we've set it up sustainable, both financially, as well as service contracts or sub-contracts with other agencies?” she says. “I think the financial questions and its future of...

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Sending a Message

In an interview in office number 1403 in the State Capitol, Sen. Charlie Janssen doesn't offer much insight about why a first-term senator would make immigration — inherently contentious and complicated — his pet issue. There's no Minuteman poster on his wall. No United States map with a red target. Instead, there are drawings from school kids with Latino names thanking him for a visit; not the...

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Increasing Transparency: Legislature gets tools to help shape child welfare reform

A resolution adopted last week in the Legislature would allow the Health and Human Services Committee to investigate and assess the effects of Nebraska's child welfare reform — a process that has produced many problems and questions since the state privatized its services in November 2009. Since then, three of the five lead agencies hired in the reform have dropped out or declared bankruptcy,...

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Killing a Dream

More than a dozen opponents — including groups like Nebraska's Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education, Building Bright Futures, the Nebraska Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, and the largest Hispanic Conservative group, Somos Republicans — testified Monday that the Legislature's Education Committee should kill a bill to repeal the state's Dream Act, a 2006...

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Invisible Wounds

When Jeff Miller returned from Saudi Arabia in 2003, he jumped feet first back into society. The staff sergeant and security forces specialist with the 363rd expeditionary security forces squadron did everything expected of him: got married; got a job; had two children. But something was wrong. He started having nightmares, flash anger — going from mildly irritated to explosively angry in...

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At Ease

Vietnam War veteran and former Nebraska governor and U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey will be in Omaha Jan. 31 to salute At Ease, an Omaha program providing confidential behavioral health services to active duty military personnel and family members. Founded by Omaha advertising executive Scott Anderson, At Ease is administered by Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska. Kerrey, whose embattled New School...

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