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Filling Ernie’s Shoes And A Moment for North Omaha

  By Chris Bowling Within puzzle-piece boundaries that jut and zigzag from the Missouri River to Cuming Street, up 48th Street and across Redick Avenue, lies Legislative District 11. Throughout Nebraska, there are 49 other malformed polygons like it. Every four years, about 35,000 people in those boundaries elect one among them to serve in the state’s legislature. But none…


We Must Stay Informed

By: Kenny McMorris MPA, FACHE, CHCEF, Chief Executive Officer, Charles Drew Health Center, Inc. We have long known that when it comes to health outcomes in America, inequalities have persisted along racial lines. The recent coronavirus pandemic has shined an ugly light on these disparities as severe cases of COVID 19, the illness caused by the virus, are disproportionately affecting…

NORTH OMAHA CORONAVIRUS EMERGENCY PLAN

By Terri Sanders, Publisher/Editor STAY HOME! STAY SAFE! Stay Home – Only leave home to shop for groceries, work or emergencies. Keep personal distance. Stay six feet apart. Wear a cloth face covering or mask. Call to get tested if you believe you have been exposed or have symptoms. Wash hands for 20 seconds with soap and water. Cover your…

Starting today, buy and have groceries delivered online with SNAP

by Chris Bowling As grocery stores and supply chains struggle to keep up with surging demand due to the coronavirus pandemic, Nebraskans will soon have a different option to restock their pantries. Starting today, more than 150,000 Nebraskans will be able to go online to buy and have groceries delivered to their door using benefits from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance…

Mobile pantry distributes hundreds of meals, but some leave empty handed

by Chris Bowling Sarah Comer walked backward across the blacktop, her arms waving the Toyota Camry forward like a plane on a tarmac. “Come on, come come on,” she said as she neared a yellow Penske moving van loaded with 200 bags of food outside Jefferson Elementary Monday afternoon. “Keep coming.” Volunteers in red aprons and black vinyl gloves appeared…

Down for the Cause, Not Down for the Count

By Chris Bowling for the Omaha Star More than 150 years ago, wagon trains carrying westward travelers crested the last hills along the banks of the Missouri River. Across those waters they viewed an expansive new land they hoped would hold opportunity and freedom. And through hardships of cold and arid weather, the hearty stock of pioneers turned prairieland into…

No Single “Answer” To Gentrification

By Lynn Sanchez GENTRIFICATION: “The process of repairing and rebuilding homes and businesses in a deteriorating area (such as an urban neighborhood) accompanied by an influx of middle-class or affluent people and that often results in the displacement of earlier, usually poorer residents.”  –Merriam Webster Dictionary Omaha is wrestling with the same city planning and economic issues that confound and…

OMAHA MUNICIPAL LAND BANK NO SILVER BULLET

by Lynn Sanchez After the national housing bubble burst, Omaha was in the same leaky boat as a lot of other cities. Saddled with bad properties no one wanted, the city ended up holding on to them indefinitely. Located in the oldest, poorest parts of town, they were a detriment to neighborhoods and a drain on city resources; mowing, and…

Omaha Municipal Land Bank Lacks Full Representation

By Mark McGaugh This article contains the opinions of the author.   With the reserves of affordable housing diminishing and the presence of private contractors increasing, residents aren’t left with many options to stay in their communities. However, The Omaha Municipal Land Bank (OMLB) has recently emerged as one tool to help stave off the negatives of gentrification. Created in…



Boring Public Meetings: Why You Should Pay Attention

By Lynn Sanchez “Nothing is more wonderful than the art of being free, but nothing is harder to learn how to use than freedom.” –Alexis de Tocqueville NEWS FLASH: Local government meetings are as dull as dry toast. But if you want to be “in the room where it happens” sometimes a meeting is that place. So you must develop…

Village Redevelopment Plans for Next Generation

By Lynn Sanchez In 2006, the 60-block area near historic Prospect Hill cemetery was one of the deadliest locations in Omaha. Residents lived in fear of being shot. Many would not allow their children to play outdoors. North Omaha community leaders from the Empowerment Network, Omaha Economic Development Corporation (OEDC) and others were concerned and decided to tackle the issue…

Who Are the People In Your Neighborhood Association?

By Lynn Sanchez From Aksarben Heights to Woodlyn Park, most Omaha neighborhoods have a grassroots group of volunteers working with one purpose: to watch out for their neighborhood. Year by year, block by block, they improve, advocate, maintain, protect and connect. “Without neighborhoods, we don’t have a community,” said Precious McKesson, president of North Omaha Neighborhood Alliance (NONA) board. “They’re…

Look Into Homestead Exemptions

By Lynn Sanchez Nebraska homeowners who are most likely to be cost-burdened by property taxes can qualify for up to 100% relief through the “Homestead Exemption” program. Douglas County is actively trying to “grow” the program. Applications are taken between February 1st and June 30st, 2020 for the following year’s (2021) property taxes. “It’s an awesome, awesome program,” said Douglas…

Wayne Hopes “Extremely Blighted” Designation Creates Investment, Ownership

By Lynn Sanchez Senator Justin Wayne is playing the long game. The District 13 representative is reshaping Community Development law to help Omahans struggling to live in the city’s oldest, most dangerous areas to achieve home ownership and get a bigger slice of the economic pie. But it begins with two words some might interpret as negative: “Extremely Blighted.” In…

FHAS 2020 PRE-PURCHASE CLASS SCHEDULE

If you are interested in being a homeowner some day, Family Housing Advisory Services offers regular classes to help with everything you need to know. 

Five Ways to Win at Homeownership

by Lynn Sanchez In mid-December, Metropolitan Community College hosted a public screening of the documentary “Priced Out; 15 Years of Gentrification in Oregon“ to an audience of about 30 viewers. The film was followed by a lively panel discussion with the audience and Amanda Brewer, CEO of Habitat for Humanity; Alexis Bromley Director of ONE Omaha; Teresa Coleman Hunter; CEO…

Tax Certificate Auctions: How They Work

By Lynn Sanchez The Tax Man: Treasurer John Ewing Omahans receive their annual property tax bills in mid-December from the Douglas County Treasurer John Ewing. The Treasurer’s office collects property taxes, vehicle registration fees and permit and licensing fees from county entities such as the Health Department. Because they share space with the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles, people often…