The Public Pulse: Attention music lovers; Money better spent; OPS stipends | Letters


Jewell Jazz Club

Omaha music lovers, I hope you have all discovered the Jewell at 1030 Capitol Ave. We have been there on several occasions and appreciate the wide variety of musicians and genre they showcase, including jazz, funk, blues, vocals — the list goes on and on. As for the venue itself, it is inviting and cozy along with great cocktails and food. Folks, we have a “Jewell” in our midst. It’s so nice to have an opportunity to listen to jazz without driving south on the interstate to that other jazz town. Check it out and support our local businesses.

Money better spent

While I agree about the importance of furthering education after high school, our taxpayer dollars should not foot the bill for student loans which are already subsidized. I worked in a post-graduate financial aid office (work-study program) and watched some classmates take out student loans to invest money into a stock market bubble. There are consequences to poor fiscal behavior, and our financial aid counselors educated us about it. Some people just get greedy. Instead of student loan forgiveness, money is better spent on personal finance classes with competent counsel. If a company says that Nebraska has a brain-drain, then that company should afford the education as an apprenticeship.

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OPS stipends

It continues to amaze me how a positive act by OPS is immediately turned into a negative by the Omaha Education Association president and some of its members. The district did not have to use a portion of their CRRSA and ARP Act funds for these stipends (priced at $72 million), but chose to do so in order to acknowledge the extra effort staff had to put forth during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was an extremely challenging time for all staff, but especially teachers. Instead of a simple “thank you,” the OEA president, Michelle Settlemyer, said that while the members were informed by the district that taxes and retirement would be withheld, many didn’t expect so much to be taken out. She then blamed the district for “poor” communication. It is not the district’s responsibility to be tax advisor to the OEA and its membership.

As OEA president, Ms. Settlemyer should have taken the initiative to educate herself on payroll tax law so she could in turn educate her members. Any OEA members unhappy with the net pay on their stipends are welcome to return the money to the district. The taxpayers who originally funded the federal stimulus programs giving way to these stipends would probably love to have their money back.

Human sexuality

In response to Marguerite McGill’s letter “Bible teachings,” we are all aware of how many years Archbishop Lucas studied theology, just wondering what her theology credentials are? And, just a reminder, the Archbishop is speaking for Archdiocese schools only. These are religious-order schools where parents pay tuition for their children to attend.

Broadband internet

A recent article, “Nebraska plans to devote nearly $200 million to expand broadband internet access,” provided an excellent example of how our representative democracy currently functions, and it is not a favorable one. Nebraska will spend $200 million to provide broadband, described by our governor as “basic infrastructure that is crucial to improving the lives of residents and the state as a whole,” in the two Congressional districts whose representatives — Republicans Smith and Fortenberry — voted against the funding that makes it possible.

Can anyone explain what prompts our elected representatives and officials to feel the need to so clearly vote against the interests of their own constituents? The only one I can think of is that the people who elect them, in both cases overwhelmingly, aren’t their real constituents. Does anyone have a different explanation?

Humbling experience

My husband played in a Labor Day golf tournament at Champions Run. Each foursome had three members and one retired military service member.

My husband served 20 years in the Navy.

The gentlemen he played with presented him with three woods and a driver on four different holes. Each one handmade by a disabled veteran. My husband told me this story and was so overwhelmed by their kindness.

We hope those gentlemen know how much this meant. Thank you so much!

Thank you also to Champions Run for holding such a wonderful golf tournament.

Rich and Janet Phipps, Papillion


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