Omaha, NE – An official with the American Red Cross Heartland Chapter says interest in volunteering is up following the earthquake in Haiti.
At least 50,000 people are believed dead and most of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, is destroyed. An American Red Cross campaign allowing people to donate to Haiti relief via text message has raised more than $8 million so far.
Omaha, NE – Governor Dave Heineman says strengthening education, growing the economy and making state government more efficient are his priorities this legislative session.
Heineman gave his State of the State address Thursday in Lincoln. He acknowledged lawmakers' work last November during a special session to close a $335 million budget shortfall. But the Governor says Nebraska is still in a difficult financial situation, and he doesn't want to raise taxes.
Omaha, NE – A state lawmaker wants the Legislative Planning Committee to study whether Nebraska should consolidate its counties from 93 to about 30.
Senator Rich Pahls of Omaha introduced the legislation. Under the bill, services and functions of county governments would be consolidated. It sets a deadline of 2018 for the Legislative Planning Committee to create a proposal for county consolidation.
Omaha, NE – Nearly 30 percent of teens in Omaha were overweight last year. Now, a group of organizations are working to combat childhood obesity.
Live Well Omaha received a $360,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to work toward lowering childhood obesity rates. The organization plans to focus on both diet and exercise as components of a healthy lifestyle. Executive Director Kerri Peterson says the goal is to keep kids active and practicing a healthy lifestyle.
Omaha, NE – Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle has added two new members to his Cabinet.
Suttle announced Tuesday that Richard O'Gara is Omaha's new Director of Human Resources. O'Gara comes to Omaha from a consulting job with an engineering firm in Colorado. Suttle says O'Gara will help the city create a responsive and responsible HR department.
Lincoln, NE – A Nebraska lawmaker wants the state to return to a winner-take-all system.
Senator Beau McCoy of Omaha introduced legislation changing the way Nebraska awards its electoral votes. Right now, only Nebraska and Maine can split their electoral votes. In 2008, the vote tied to Omaha's Second Congressional District went to President Barack Obama.
McCoy says his legislation is an effort to bring Nebraska in line with what 48 other states do. He says the current system puts Nebraska at a political disadvantage.
Omaha, NE – Gusty winds are causing blowing and drifting snow conditions. That's reducing visibility and making roads hazardous. Two accidents were reported this afternoon, one on U.S. 6 and the other on Interstate 80.
Roads that are closed include:
-Nebraska 1, 34, 43, 50, 63, 64, 66, 77, 79, 92, and 109. All other roads are reported as snow and ice covered.
-U.S. 6 is closed in Council Bluffs from Interstate 80 to Iowa 48. Portions of U.S. 20, 30, 34, 59, 71, 169, and 275 are also closed.
Omaha, NE – Public Works crews are once again plowing and clearing streets after five inches of snow fell in Omaha Wednesday.
Street Maintenance Engineer Scott McIntyre says blowing and drifting snow is hampering crews' efforts to clear streets. Snow is pushed to the middle lane of major highways and then picked up at night. It's taken to the city-owned property at 11th and Locust streets.