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VOTE

in the PRIMARY

 may 1 2

M AY 2020 | volU M E 27 | ISSUE 03

Stories of th e

Pandemic

©Andre Sessions Photography

as told by writers of The Reader & El Perico


402.496.0220 402.496.0220 402.496.0220 www.huberchevy.com www.huberchevy.com “Your “Your Way! Way!Under Underthe theExpressway!” Expressway!” 11102 West Dodge Rd. • Omaha, NE 68154 “Your Way!Dodge UnderRd. the Expressway!” 11102 West • Omaha, NE 68154 11102 West Dodge Rd. • Omaha, NE 68154

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May 2020

www.huberchevy.com


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A Publisher/Editor Note

publisher/editor........... John Heaston john@thereader.com graphic designers........... Ken Guthrie Sebastian Molina news..........................Robyn Murray copy@thereader.com lead reporter............... Chris Bowling chris@thereader.com associate publisher.... Karlha Velasquez karlha@el-perico.com creative coordinator...... Lynn Sanchez lynn@pioneermedia.me

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS healing...............Michael Braunstein info@heartlandhealing.com arts/visual.................... Mike Krainak mixedmedia@thereader.com eat.................................. Sara Locke crumbs@thereader.com film.................................Ryan Syrek cuttingroom@thereader.com hoodoo................. B.J. Huchtemann bjhuchtemann@gmail.com music..................... Houston Wiltsey backbeat@thereader.com over the edge..............Tim McMahan tim.mcmahan@gmail.com theater.................... Beaufield Berry coldcream@thereader.com

Doubling Down on Distance As Things Start Opening Up, Let’s Keep A Lid On This Thing

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JOBS: As Ne Moves To Reopen Before Projected Peak, Workers And Owners Fearful, Uncertain

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District 11: Seven People Vie For A Spot As District 11’s State Senator; Voters Decide

Barely into the first quarter of this pandemic, we are starting to win. To stay ahead, though, we need to stay extra careful and to follow all the precautions, giving widespread testing its chance to catch up. Every time we do it eliminates the chance of coronavirus spread and allows our state and county health departments to focus on tracing and stemming the next outbreak, giving our healthcare system a breather and the chance to operate normally. Bottom line, it also saves lives. The basics include:

14

DISH: Don’t Call it a Comeback: Depite Dining Freeze, Omaha Culinary Scene Grows

• Keeping distance, at least 6 feet, you can still see and hear someone fine

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COVER: Stories of the Pandemic (featuring the writers of The Reader & El Perico)

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ARTICULO DESTACADO: Volteando La Tortilla Durante La Pandemia

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ARTICULO DESTACADO: El Programa Científico, All of Us Nos Necesita

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by John Heaston

he economic hit has been brutal, the emotional and mental toll is rough, but by mostly staying at home, Omaha and Nebraska started to mostly flatten its curve. It’s not quite as hard as moving to unchartered wilderness and living in a sod house, but that tough, pioneer spirit persists here and it paid off. To celebrate with context, we asked our writers and readers to share their own personal stories from the pandemic, a mix of heartache and hope. Please enjoy this snapshot of an unprecedented time in our history. The impacts will continue to reverberate long after we reach herd immunity.

• Wearing masks in public, consider it a necessary accessory • Cleaning surfaces and washing hands thoroughly, it’s the new habit OUR SISTER MEDIA CHANNELS

• Isolating when you have any symptoms: fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and/or new loss of taste or smell • Quarantining when exposed to someone sick, even if you feel fine, you could still be a carrier and infect everyone else

OUR DIGITAL MARKETING SERVICES

Let’s move forward confidently, but carefully. Looking forward to the day we all can shake hands, hug and lick each other at will, let’s protect everyone for now so we can see that day. Be safe.

A QUICK NOTE

Proud to be Carbon Neutral

Last month’s first COVD issue featured a commisioned piece for the cover. Unfortunaly it was not tagged. Thanks goes to Hugo A. Zamorano (hugo39.wordpress.com). While we’re at it: Thanks to Andre Sessions for this month’s cover photo.

May 2020

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ProKarma, Inc.

Software Engineer #254980 ProKarma, Inc. has mult. openings for Software Engineer in Omaha, NE; travel and/ or relocation to various unanticipated locations throughout the U.S. is required. Resp. for designing, programming, coding and analyzing new computer programs and data structures in accordance with specifications and user needs. Correct errors by making appropriate change and rechecking the program to ensure that the desired results are produced. Req. a Bachelor’s degree in Comp Sci, Engg (any), IT, or related tech/analytical field, plus three (3) yrs of exp in an IT/Comprelated position. To apply, email Resumes via email to postings@prokarma.com with Job Ref# 254980 in subject line.

ApplicAtion Developer - Mobile

As team member develop business & customer facing software solutions. Responsible for delivering solutions across application life cycle in a Lean environment using established best patterns & practices, including test driven development & unit testing. Design, develop & ensure quality within team project by following/adapting existing patterns & using service-based, multi-tier, object oriented architectures. Extend/adapt designs for changes to business systems. Analyze existing code bases, software systems, & integrated processes to correct, enhance, or replace. Solve problems by reviewing objectives & scope, gathering facts, analyzing data, performing independent research & making recommendations. Create new documents & diagrams modeled after existing ones. Collaborate to understand desired systems & identify & discover system needs. Review stories & augment/enhance/suggest new stories. Produce software solutions supporting testing at multiple levels, including decomposition of functions, interface based design, dependency injection, unit testing, test driven design, service level testing, & supporting user interface automation testing. Modify existing code thru application of design patterns. Create test cases to ensure boundary & adverse condition scenarios appropriately handled. Modify & create code to submit units of development to source code repository. Enable successful automated builds, deployment & testing & continuous integration & frequent, reliable releases. Monitor system performance & provide on-going production support. Minimum Requirements: Bachelor’s degree or equiv in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, MIS or closely reltd field with 3 yrs exp developing Windows multi-tier, Intranet/Internet & web-based &/or mobile platform technologies & prior experience creating multi-tier, web-based applications using Visual Studio & related Microsoft .NET Technologies; with web technologies & frameworks (HTML5, CSS, Angular, REST API, &/or JavaScript), SQL Server or sim relational database concepts, unit testing frameworks (NUnit), structured analysis & programming techniques, continuous integration/delivery, Azure DevOps & GIT, & website scripting & technologies using Responsive design patterns; creating & maintaining complex/integrated applications; configuring IIS to host web sites & services; developing iOS and/or Android native mobile applications using Swift or Kotlin respectively; & creating Web API and/or REST Services. Send resume to Caylee Messersmith, Farm Credit Services of America, FLCA, 5015 S. 118th Street, Omaha, NE 68137.

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May 2020

O M A H A

J O B S

As state moves to reopen before projected peak, workers and owners fearful, uncertain

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by Chris Bowling

s Douglas County enters new directed health measures in effect from May 4 to May 31 that allow some businesses to reopen with restrictions, some workers and owners say the decision is premature, posing serious risks to public health before the state’s even reached its peak caseload. Governor Pete Ricketts cited low Covid-19-related hospitalizations as a main driver for the decision. Many businesses owners like Luke Mabie of Culprit Café and Bakery have announced they will not reopen. For many, it’s also about growing case numbers, lack of testing and general uncertainty of the pandemic’s trajectory. “That’s the reason why people aren’t opening up,” Mabie said. “If they’re not it’s because they don’t feel comfortable with the education level on this [new directed health measure].” Others, including salons, barbershops, tattoo parlors, childcare facilities, massage therapy services allowed to reopen in Douglas County as well as regions across the state, are having to make hard choices between fear of spreading the virus and fear of not having enough money to survive. “People are being forced back to work because we’re not getting help from the entitlements that we’ve paid into for however many years,” said Jordan Palmer, an Omaha hair stylist. “So we don’t have an option.” Palmer started a Facebook group to connect hairdressers and similar workers with information about Covid-19. That group swelled to 1,800 people in a few weeks, many of whom frustrated about not receiving unemployment benefits or other financial salves. Many of these professionals saw a lag in payments because independent contractors and self-employed people needed to be paid through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program set up through the CARES Act. Nebraska had to wait for federal guidance on how to update its system to distribute those funds, said Grace Johnson, public information officer with the Nebraska Department of Labor. They started sending those checks April 27, she said. Since March 8, the department has received nearly 130,000 applications for unemployment, roughly equal to all the claims they received in 2017, 2018 and 2019 combined. So far it’s processed more than 81,000 of those claims. Johnson said their goal is to process 75% of claims within three to four weeks of receiving them. Unemployment benefits will continue as long as the worker’s business stays closed due to Covid-19 even under the new directed health measure, Johnson said. Johnson said the department would backpay for weeks between application and approval. Howev-

er, if employees decline to return to work, refuse new work or quit “without good cause,” their benefits will end unless they provide a doctor’s testimony that existing health conditions put them at risk. Palmer helped start an online petition asking Ricketts to reconsider his new measures. In one day, it gained nearly 3,600 signatures. Among its listed grievances is that people in these industries don’t know best practices to keep themselves and their clients safe. They want more information on where to find the right kind of personal protective equipment, how to sanitize their stations properly and how to mitigate risks. Mabie said he felt a similar disconnect. He’s in a Facebook group in which restaurant owners share articles and public health postings to understand the situation in lieu of a more centralized source of information. But Zoe Olson, Executive Director of the Nebraska Restaurant Association, said she’s constantly disseminating information. Olson, whose organization represents 600 member restaurants and 120 ally members, said she’s regularly emailing her member network and updating information online based on daily conversations with a national network of restaurant associations. In addition, she noted resources for best sanitizing practices are available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website. Servers will be required to wear personal protective equipment. Dining rooms will have to operate at 50% capacity and practice social distancing guidelines. There’s no mention of whether customers will be required to wear masks. Olson did not know how many businesses are choosing not to reopen. And while she acknowledges it’s a case-by-case decision, Olson said people should feel confident going out to dine by May 4. “I know the lengths that Nebraska restaurants go to to keep everything safe and sanitary. And we’ve only ramped that up,” she said. “So Nebraska restaurants are safe. As safe as any place you’re going to go.” But that does little to assuage workers like Cameron Lee, the pastaiolo at Via Farina. Lee can give an explanation of different mask filtering materials that would impress any epidemiologist and doesn’t doubt his workplace’s ability to sanitize and restructure to accommodate social distancing standards. But none of that can answer his questions. How many people have the virus? When will the state reach recommended testing capacities? And, above all, how much risk will he and his coworkers be assuming if they start serving guests? “It’s not really fear,” Lee said. “It’s just uncertainty. And the uncertainty of uncertainty.” read the full story online


ProKarma

Software Engineer #153035

ProKarma

Software Engineer #152643

We have multiple openings for Software Engineer

We have multiple openings for Software Engineer

in Omaha, NE; travel and/or relocation to various

in Omaha, NE; travel and/or relocation to various

unanticipated locations throughout the U.S. is

unanticipated locations throughout the U.S. is

required. Resp. for designing, programming, coding,

required. Resp. for designing, programming, coding,

and analyzing new computer programs and data structures in accordance with specifications and user needs. Correct errors by making appropriate change and rechecking the program to ensure that the desired results are produced. Req. a Bachelor’s degree

and analyzing new computer algorithms and data structures in accordance with specifications and user needs. Primarily work on application development which includes building interactive and highperformance angular JS applications with Spring boot service layer to interact with web API’s. Req. a

in Comp Sci, Engg (any), or related tech/analytical

Bachelor’s degree in Comp Sci, Engg (any), or related

field, plus three (3) yrs of exp in an IT/Comp-related

tech/analytical field, plus five (5) yrs of exp in an

position.

IT/Comp-related position.

To apply, email Resumes via email to postings@prokarma.com with Job Ref#153035 in subject line.

To apply, email Resumes via email to postings@prokarma.com with Job Ref#152643 in subject line.

ProKarma

Project Manager #153038

ProKarma

Software Engineer #152508/162371

We have multiple openings for Project Manager

We have multiple openings for Software Engineer

in Omaha, NE; travel and/or relocation to various

in Omaha, NE; travel and/or relocation to various

unanticipated locations throughout the U.S. is

unanticipated locations throughout the U.S. is

required. Resp. for driving and managing all operations, projects, and programs using Agile/ SCRUM methodology. Provide project management expertise and leads key project work streams working with the full project life cycle. Req. a Master’s degree

required. Resp. for designing, programming, coding, and analyzing new computer programs and data structures in accordance with specifications and user needs. Correct errors by making appropriate change and rechecking the program to ensure that the desired results are produced. Req. a Master’s

in Comp Sci, Engg (any), or related tech/analytical

degree in Comp Sci, Eng (any), CIS, or related tech/

field, plus two (2) years of exp in an IT/Comp-related

analytical field, plus two (2) years of exp in an IT/

position.

Comp-related position.

To apply, email Resumes via email to postings@prokarma.com with Job Ref#153038 in subject line.

To apply, email Resumes via email to postings@prokarma.com with Job Ref#152508/162371 in subject line.

May 2020

5


ProKarma

Software Engineer #206250

Software Engineer #162571

We have multiple openings for Software Engineer

We have multiple openings for Software Engineer

in Omaha, NE; travel and/or relocation to various

in Omaha, NE; travel and/or relocation to various

unanticipated locations throughout the U.S. is

unanticipated locations throughout the U.S. is

required. Responsible for implementing large and

required. Resp. for designing, programming, coding,

complex SAP BW HANA and SAP Native HANA projects and design architecture to meet complex business requirements in Sales, Supply Chain Management and Finance. Req. a Bachelor’s degree in Comp Sci, Engg (any), or related tech/analytical

and analyzing new computer programs and data structures in accordance with specifications and user needs. Correct errors by making appropriate change and rechecking the program to ensure that the

field, plus five (5) yrs of exp in an IT/Comp-related

desired results are produced. Req. a Master’s degree

position. Will also accept Associates Degree in Comp

in Comp Sci, Eng (any), or related tech/analytical

Sci, Engg (any), or related tech/analytical field, plus

field, plus two (2) years of exp in an IT/Comp-related

six (6) yrs of exp in an IT/Comp-related position.

position.

To apply, email Resumes via email to postings@prokarma.com with Job Ref#206250 in subject line.

To apply, email Resumes via email to postings@prokarma.com with Job Ref#162571 in subject line.

ProKarma

Software Engineer #162405

6

ProKarma

ProKarma

Software Development Engineer in Test #162649

We have multiple openings for Software Engineer in Omaha, NE; travel and/or relocation to various unanticipated locations throughout the U.S. is required. Resp. for designing, programming, coding, and analyzing new computer programs and data structures in accordance with specifications and user needs. Correct errors by making appropriate change and rechecking the program to ensure that the desired results are produced. Req. a Bachelor’s degree in Comp Sci, Engg (any), or related tech/analytical field, plus three (3) yrs of exp in an IT/Comp-related position. will also accept an Associate’s degree in Comp Sci, Engg (any), or related tech/analytical field, plus four (4) yrs of exp in an IT/Comp-related position.

We have multiple openings for Software

To apply, email Resumes via email to postings@prokarma.com with Job Ref#162405 in subject line.

To apply, email Resumes via email to postings@prokarma.com with Job Ref#162649 in subject line.

May 2020

Development Engineer in Test in Omaha, NE; travel and/or relocation to various unanticipated locations throughout the U.S. is required. Resp. for designing and developing test automation framework and scripts suitable for agile/scrum projects using Selenium Web-driver with Core Java, and HP-UFT, and develop customized HTML reports as part of the framework. Req. a Master’s degree in Comp Sci, Engg (any), or related tech/analytical field, plus two (2) yrs of exp in an IT/Comp-related position.


ProKarma, Inc.

Quality Assurance Test Engineer #244134

ProKarma, Inc. Business Analyst #241124

related position.

We have mult. openings for Business Analyst in Omaha, NE; travel and/ or relocation to various unanticipated locations throughout the U.S. is required. Responsible for gathering requirements and creating user stories based on customer and stakeholder interactions. Define and create the product roadmap for multiple projects for the executives and business partners. Req. a Master’s degree in Comp Sci, Engg (any), Info. Sys., or related tech/analytical field.

To apply, email Resumes via email to postings@prokarma.com with Job Ref#244134 in subject line.

To apply, email Resumes via email to postings@prokarma.com with Job Ref#241124 in subject line.

We have mult. openings for Quality Assurance Test Engineer in Omaha, NE; travel and/or relocation to various unanticipated locations throughout the U.S. is required. Responsible for reviewing requirements and specification and technical design documents to provide timely and meaningful feedback. Create detailed, comprehensive, and well-structured test plans and test cases, design, and execute test plans on computer applications. Req. a Bachelor’s degree in Comp Sci, Engg (any), or related tech/analytical field, plus five (5) yrs of exp in an IT/Comp-

ProKarma, Inc. Solutions Architect #243718

ProKarma, Inc. Solutions Architect #241263

We have mult. openings for Solutions Architect

We have mult. openings for Solutions Architect

in Omaha, NE; travel and/or relocation to

in Omaha, NE; travel and/or relocation to

various unanticipated locations throughout

various unanticipated locations throughout the

the U.S. is required. Designing, Responsible for

U.S. is required. Provide guidance and facilitate

analyzing, designing, developing, migrating,

digital transformation, project planning, test

integrating, and deploying analytic solutions and

planning, conversion planning, cut-over planning,

projects. Ensure the technical architecture and

automation, and regression planning. Analyze

design meets the customer quality and security

current IT applications and landscape and

standards. Req. a Bachelor’s degree in Comp

facilitate digital modernization. Req. a Bachelor’s

Sci, Engg (any), or related tech/analytical field,

degree in Comp Sci, Engg (any), or related

plus five (5) yrs of exp in an IT/Comp-related

tech/analytical field, plus five (5) yrs of exp

position.

in an IT/Comp-related position.

To apply, email Resumes via email to postings@prokarma.com with Job Ref#243718 in subject line.

To apply, email Resumes via email to postings@prokarma.com with Job Ref#241263 in subject line.

May 2020

7


ProKarma, Inc.

Quality Assurance Test Engineer #241093

Software Engineer #241234

We have mult. openings for Quality Assurance

We have mult. openings for Software Engineer

Test Engineer in Omaha, NE; travel and/or

in Omaha, NE; travel and/or relocation to various

relocation to various unanticipated locations

unanticipated locations throughout the U.S. is

throughout the U.S. is required. Designing, Responsible for designing and executing test plans on computer applications. Test system modifications to prepare for implementation. Develop testing programs that address areas such as database impacts, software scenarios, regression testing, negative testing, error or bug retests, or

required. Designing, programming, and analyzing new software applications and data structures in accordance with specifications and user needs. Correcting errors by making appropriate changes and rechecking the program to ensure that the desired results are produced. Req. a Bachelor’s

usability. Req. a Bachelor’s degree in Comp Sci,

degree in Comp Sci, Engg (any), or related

Engg (any), or related tech/analytical field, plus

tech/analytical field, plus five (5) yrs of exp

five (5) yrs of exp in an IT/Comp-related position.

in an IT/Comp-related position.

To apply, email Resumes via email to postings@prokarma.com with Job Ref#241093 in subject line.

To apply, email Resumes via email to postings@prokarma.com with Job Ref#241234 in subject line.

ProKarma, Inc. Software Engineer #244669

ProKarma, Inc. Software Engineer #246686

We have mult. openings for Software Engineer in

We have mult. openings for Software Engineer

Omaha, NE; travel and/or relocation to various

in Omaha, NE; travel and/or relocation to

unanticipated locations throughout the U.S. is

various unanticipated locations throughout

required. Responsible for modifying existing software to correct errors and allow it to adapt to new hardware, or to improve its performance. Designing, programming, coding and analyzing new computer programs and data structures in accordance with specifications and user needs. Req. a Master’s degree in Comp Sci, Engg (any), or

8

ProKarma, Inc.

the U.S. is required. Responsible for designing, developing, and implementing various applications including Internet and Intranet application development using Microsoft .Net Framework, C#, ASP.Net MVC. Develop different database objects containing Stored Procedures and Triggers in SQL Server. Req. a Master’s degree in Comp Sci, Engg (any),

related tech/analytical field, plus two (2) yrs of exp

or related tech/analytical field, plus two (2) yrs

in an IT/Comp-related position.

of exp in an IT/Comp-related position.

To apply, email Resumes via email to postings@prokarma.com with Job Ref#244669 in subject line.

To apply, email Resumes via email to postings@prokarma.com with Job Ref#246686 in subject line.

May 2020


ProKarma, Inc.

Technical Delivery Manager #244951

ProKarma

Solutions Architect #297017

We have mult. openings for Technical Delivery Manager in Omaha, NE; travel and/or relocation to various unanticipated locations throughout the U.S. is required. Responsible for conducting a detailed analysis of the applications currently monitored by the CA APM and create a plan on how to migrate it to AppDynamics. Conduct workshops with the App teams to understand their technology stack and ensure that the applications and underlying infrastructure are completely monitored. Req. a Bachelor’s degree in Comp Sci, Engg (any), or related tech/analytical field, plus five (5) yrs of exp in an IT/Comp-related position.

We have multiple openings for Solutions Architect

To apply, email Resumes via email to postings@prokarma.com with Job Ref#242951 in subject line.

To apply, email Resumes via email to postings@prokarma.com with Job Ref#297017 in subject line.

ProKarma, Inc. Software Engineer #246679

in Omaha, NE; travel and/or relocation to various unanticipated locations throughout the U.S. is required. Lead the technology direction for a team of internal and external developers throughout a project covering the full lifecycle of a servicebased engagement, from defining the idea through implementation, QA and post-implementation support. Req. a Bachelor’s degree in Comp Sci, Engg (any), or related tech/analytical field, plus five (5) yrs of exp in an IT/Comp-related position.

ProKarma

Software Development Engineer in Test #157997

exp in an IT/Comp-related position.

We have multiple openings for Software Development Engineer in Test in Omaha, NE; travel and/or relocation to various unanticipated locations throughout the U.S. is required. Resp. for designing and developing test automation framework and scripts which are suitable for agile/ scrum projects using Selenium web-driver with Core Java. Develop customized HTML reports part of framework and design. Req. a Bachelor’s degree in Comp Sci, Engg (any), or related tech/analytical field, plus five (5) yrs of exp in an IT/Comp-related position. Will also accept an Associate’s degree in Comp Sci, Engg (any), or related tech/analytical field, plus six (6) yrs of exp in an IT/Comp-related position.

To apply, email Resumes via email to postings@prokarma.com with Job Ref#246679 in subject line.

To apply, email Resumes via email to postings@prokarma.com with Job Ref#157997 in subject line.

We have mult. openings for Software Engineer in Omaha, NE; travel and/or relocation to various unanticipated locations throughout the U.S. is required. Responsible for modifying software to correct errors, allowing it to adapt to new hardware or to improve its performance. Design, program, code, and analyze new computer programs and data structures in accordance with specifications and user needs. Req. a Bachelor’s degree in Comp Sci, Engg (any), or related tech/analytical field, plus five (5) yrs of

May 2020

9


D I S T R I C T

1 1

A moment for North Omaha As seven people vie for a spot as District 11’s state senator, voters will make the ultimate decision on their community’s direction by CHRIS BOWLING

W

ithin puzzle-piece boundaries that jut and zigzag from the Missouri River to Cuming St., up 48th St. and across Redick Ave., lies Legislative District 11. Across 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 stands out as much as District 11. In a state and city that’s overwhelmingly white, District 11 is majority black. Whereas most Nebraskans define their history by homesteaders and wagon trains, the history of District 11 is informed by the civil rights era as well class and racial struggle.

practicing law and holding public office. But every candidate should know, this job is more demanding than they think, said Council, a former Omaha City Councilwoman and two-time mayoral candidate who was less than 1,000 votes shy from becoming the city’s first black and first woman mayor in 1997. “I’m concerned, do people really understand what this position entails?” Council asked. “It’s not like the City Council; it’s not like the school board; and it’s not like the county board.” Even with her experience, working six or seven days a week, researching hundreds of bills and trying to stay in touch with her community 60 miles away was a serious challenge.

is a chance for someone who’s passionate, intelligent and dogged to address serious change. Whoever wins, Council wants them to know she’ll be there to offer help. “These issues need to be addressed immediately. Immediately and effectively,” she said. “Whoever gets elected to represent this district, I’m more than willing to assist them in any way I can. Because ultimately the objective is to advance the interests of the people who live in District 11. That’s the ultimate objective.”

Fred Conley

Keeping your day job isn’t an option either, Council said. That means missing days on the floor and blowing opportunities to inch your ideas forward.

F r e d Conley leans back in his chair, a Samsung p h o n e tucked behind satiny black suspenders and a blue sportcoat.

“This area unfortunately is plagued with some historic deficits that, quite frankly, when it comes to governmental intervention, the state is the entity that has the most resources and tools that can be brought to bear,” she said.

This is not where he wants to be, meeting among masked shoppers milling over the worn, gray carpet in the OfficeMax near 72nd and Dodge streets. But that’s just one adjustment of running a campaign during a pandemic.

“I hope whoever gets it does not have to feel that he or she will have to be me,” Chambers said.

From her perspective, those tools have been underutilized. That’s apparent in the chronic poverty and joblessness that’s persisted in the area.

“The timing is the timing,” Conley said.

Brenda Council knows what’s at stake: Leveraging state authority is possibly the only way to create serious change here. Council succeeded Chambers after he was first prohibited from running due to term limits in 2008. In 2012, she lost to Chambers following a gambling scandal that barred her from

Coronavirus is highlighting inequities in housing, unemployment, health care access, the latter being the most stark as African Americans in the city have died at rates twice their population size. But these aren’t new issues. They’re old, baked into the neighborhoods north of Dodge St. Now

No other area has had such consistent leadership, either. In the past 50 years, only two people have represented it. Since 1970, Ernie Chambers has antagonized, challenged and pushed the conventions of the Unicameral. However, term limit restrictions bar Chambers from running again for another four years. That’s opened up opportunities for seven new candidates who see this as a moment to address new and longstanding issues in the community. Chambers wouldn’t comment on the race or the district’s current issues only that his successor must have strong personal resolve.

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On top of that, the job only pays a $12,000 salary.

May 2020

The 72-year-old former city councilman, one-time interim Omaha mayor would rather walk the blocks of North 24th St. to talk about the open senate seat of District 11. Conley, currently a member of the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District Board of Directors, decided to run for the seat as he saw old problems returning, such as voter suppression, threats

to public school funding and educational inequity. “There are issues that are prominent today that have not been prominent for years,” he said. The area’s gone through immense change since Conley’s family moved here from Arkansas in the late ‘50s. He grew up working at the Northside Inn, which his mom and stepdad ran on 24th and Hamilton streets, before graduating high school and joining the United States Air Force in 1967. While stationed in Colorado Springs, Conley worked with the NAACP, which he’d been active with in Omaha through its youth program. After returning to Omaha and graduating from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, he got a job as a social worker assisting the deaf and blind in Douglas County. An interest in politics followed. “I’ve always been a people person, even in high school,” he said. “I liked talking to people about the issues and their pro and con positions. But I thought [getting involved politically] was a fair way to get diversity on the city council.” At that time, an African American had not served on the city’s highest legislative body. Twice in the ‘70s, Conley ran for and lost a seat for Omaha City Council when positions were still decided by citywide votes. In 1979, a state law championed by Chambers changed city council elections from at-large to district voting. Conley ran for the council seat representing North Omaha and won by a slim margin, becoming the first black member of the Omaha City Council in 1981. Over his 12 years on the council, Conley said he considers downtown development and divestment in South Africa during apartheid as some notable


D I S T R I C T acheivements. He also became interim mayor in 1988, still the only person of color to do so. Since leaving City Council in 1993, he’s served on the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District board of directors and the Metro Community College board of governors, which he resigned from under pressure in 2016. He also ran for his old seat on the Omaha City Council in 1997 and lost. As people piled into the race for District 11’s spot, Conley saw it as an opportunity to leverage his past with his ambition for the future. “It’s just something I’ve always loved,” Conley said. “And so at this stage in my life, I’m 72, this might be my last opportunity to serve in a different capacity.”

Gwen Easter Lifelong North O m a h a resident Gwen Easter said District 11 needs a leader who’s willing to address how big changes are affecting North Omaha’s residents. “I want to be able to see people who live here be able to start their own businesses and remain here,” Easter said. “What I want to see is our culture remain here.” For 20 years, Easter’s owned Safe Haven Community Center, a family service provider focused partially on helping children struggling to read and those with dyslexia. In recent years, competition from free childcare offered through Omaha Public Schools has severely undercut private, local institutions like hers, she said. Easter, 50, is also concerned about equitable development. Projects such as Seventy Five North has brought fresh commercial and residential facades, but Easter knows not many current residents can afford to live there. Many in the area are already surviving on minimum wage or have a hard time finding sustainable work in a community that doesn’t offer enough livable wage jobs. A bet-

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ter alternative would be focusing on building more affordable single-family housing, she said. These issues aren’t confined to District 11. As a state senator, Easter said jobs, education and protecting community business across the state would be priorities for her. In that position, she sees herself as patient and willing to listen but also bold when it comes to her ideas. And Easter is not one to keep quiet. In 2016, Easter’s picture appeared in newspapers across the nation as she, along with many others, objected to Omaha Public Schools changing its sex education curriculum. In 2017, she ran and lost in the primary for the seat of Omaha City Council member Ben Gray. But Easter said it’s important she keep speaking out. While leaders have helped the community over the years, they’ve been too silent on other issues. “There are certain things that have happened in our community where nothing’s being done by those we need in leadership,” she said. “So yes, I will hold people accountable for certain things taking place in our community, and at the same time I want to work with those senators to better our community as well as Nebraska.”

Teela Mickles Teela Mickles is not a politician. She knows a candidate for state s e n a te shouldn’t admit that, but the image of a suited lawmaker elb ow - r u b bing and deal-maki n g seemed far from her personality. Since 1994, Mickles, 71, has worked to serve and advocate for incarcerated people through her organization, Compassion in Action. And for a long time, that avenue seemed sufficient. But this race represents an opportunity to treat the societal ills overcrowding Nebraska’s prisons from the outside.

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“My community needs to be valued; they need to be validated,” Mickles said. “They need to hear a voice that tells them they will be heard and what they know and what they want to contribute is important.” Mickles said her campaign is rooted in listening. She wants to take her lead on legislation from the community. The problem is that many citizens of District 11, where Mickles has lived almost all her life, do not engage in civic conversations. North Omaha has had some of the lowest voter turnout and registration in the city, lagging by as much as 20 percent in some elections. But that doesn’t translate to simple apathy, Mickles said. It’s because leaders are not engaging the average person in thoughtful discussion on District 11’s systemic problems, such as unemployment, poverty and education gaps. “I truly believe the answer and resolve to our situation is in these houses someplace, behind these walls,” she said. “It’s behind there somewhere, I think there are creative ideas.” While social distancing has hampered Mickles’ people-first approach, she’s confident her abilities as a listener and connector will prevail when life’s normal activities reconvene. For proof, she points to her years in charge of Compassion in Action. There she found common ground with everyone from corrections directors to inmates serving life sentences. But, more than anything, Mickles believes in her ability to speak in human terms. To make issues real and urgent, to get to the heart of a problem and find ways to solve it. “I put flesh on the process,” she said of making the issue personal. “I put flesh on the people.”

Terrell McKinney On a sultry day in August, 2014, the city of Ferguson, Missouri, erupted in protest and anger after a po-

lice officer shot and killed 18-yearold Mike Brown. About 12 miles away in St. Louis, Terrell McKinney watched the anguish unfold through friends with family still in the St. Louis suburb. A year later, McKinney attended a barbecue in Ferguson and saw how the community had found a way to survive despite baring deep scars. “It was like life still goes on,” he said, “but these people are still affected by this issue.” For most of the now 29-yearold McKinney’s life, people knew him for wrestling. He was a twotime state champion at Omaha North High School and an All-American at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He transferred with the former team’s head coach to Maryville University in St. Louis, Missouri, after UNO dropped the sport in 2011. For McKinney, wrestling was an escape from poverty and its trappings. Much of his family where he grew up in North Omaha is in jail or connected to gangs, he said. But as he saw more of the world, he thought critically of why it looked so profoundly different from his home. After moving back to Omaha, he got involved with activist groups such as Black Men United and worked as the Hunger Action Advocate with Nebraska Appleseed. He will soon be studying law at Creighton University. McKinney decided to run for the state senate seat in District 11 because he knows its issues so personally. Criminal justice, health care, education and housing all top his list. “I’m looking at an equity package that would include resources for scholarships, resources for small businesses’ infrastructure and resources for businesses to build in our community,” he said. “I believe in growth from within.” His plan for health care will depend on whether Medicaid has been expanded by the time he’s elected. He also wants to look at re-entry programs for incarcerated people to make sure they are provided adequate training and resources to transition back into civilian life.


D I S T R I C T As for how he would govern, McKinney respects Chambers’ legacy as someone who has singularly and passionately fought for the area. McKinney said whoever’s in office needs to continue that fight. “I feel I have a real understanding of our people and what they need and want,” he said. “But I’m always someone who’s willing to listen. I never want to tell people, ‘This is what I think we should do.’ I’d rather go in a room and say, ‘What needs to be done? How can I help you fix this?’ That’s my approach to this.”

John Sciara When John Sciara, 64, registered his name for the state senate race in District 11, he counted on pounding the pavement to sway voters. The Republican knew his party’s presence in the community was small. However, if he could knock on people’s doors and tell them his ideas, like increasing opportunities for small businesses, Sciara felt he’d get their support. But Covid-19 took that away. “This whole thing seems to be a whole different scenario than I’ve expected,” Sciara said. Sciara, most recognizable for challenging Chambers’ residency in 2017 after losing to him in the 2016 election, said he has not sought alternative campaign methods and does not expect to move on to the general election this fall. Originally from New York, Sciara said he settled in Omaha while serving on Offutt Air Force Base. After 12 years in the Air Force and 10 years in the Army Reserve, Sciara said he has had a variety of job titles, including black jack dealer, insurance salesman and telemarketer. Most recently, he’s been driving a school bus to supplement military retirement and Social Security benefits.

Cornelius Williams R u n ning for p u b l i c office has been on Cornelius Williams’ mind for a long time. Last year, he started thinking about vying for District 11’s seat in the state legislature as Chambers’ term limit exit meant opportunities for newcomers like himself. However, the real motivation goes back even further. “When I was a small child, I figured I’d do a lot of things, and politics was one of them,” Williams said. Along with a public position, Williams, 56, imagined he’d win the Heisman Trophy and study science like his hero Spock on Star Trek. Eventually, science, nuclear physics specifically, overshadowed football, and he studied at Stanford University, Texas A&M University and Michigan State University, earning his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees, respectively. Coming back home to North Omaha wasn’t necessarily important to Williams, but a lack of research and teaching opportunities made finding a job in physics challenging. Now, he’s a part-time college teacher and fills the financial gaps doing others’ taxes and delivering food. Coming back home has also pushed Williams to get involved in local politics, serving as a member of the Learning Community of Douglas and Sarpy Counties and the Nebraska Democratic Party Black Caucus. Now, he’s looking to reach a wider audience as a state senator, to help an area that’s in need of significant change. “We are a community in distress and crisis,” he said. Among the issues he sees most ailing District 11 are poverty, unemployment and inequity through lack of transit options and raised prices on commodities, such as gas. And while he sees a need

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for intense focus on District 11, he wants his solutions to have a broader impact. Williams said if he is elected, he will strive to bring more renewable energy to Nebraska. In addition to combating climate change, the construction of wind turbines and solar panels would train Nebraskans in jobs to aid the future’s energy industry. To get that done, Williams said his experience as a scientist will work to his benefit. He describes himself as someone who can cut through the noise of an issue and isn’t afraid of leafing through stacks of research. “More than anything else, I’m willing to talk past the concepts and get down to the real nuts and bolts,” he said. “As a scientist doing research, that’s what you do, you get down to the bolts.”

Dennis Womack Dennis Womack’s roots in District 11 go back to when many of its streets were still dirt roads. He grew up there playing football and baseball throughout the late ‘50s and early ‘60s under the tutelage of Josh Gibson, who mentored many future professional athletes in North Omaha. Soon a career in sports was all he focused on. Womack moved to Riverside, California, in 1968 for a chance at increased scouting exposure. But in his senior year, the 6-foot-3-inches, 225-lb Womack suffered a career-ending injury. “I was kind of one of those athletes that was given quite a bit,” he said, “but when you’re hurt no one knows who you are anymore because you can’t help them.” That injury led him to search for a new purpose in public service. In his career, Womack, 68, has worked with the Nebraska Urban League, Douglas County Election Commission and the U.S. Department of Commerce, among other private companies along the way.

In the past few years, Womack has run unsuccessfully for positions on the Metro Community College Board of Governors and Omaha City Council. Most recently, he worked for the U.S. Department of Labor in its Bureau of Labor Statistics, collecting data to inform Social Security funding. It was while working that job during a blustery January day in Washington, D.C., in 2019 that Womack said he heard a radio interview with Chambers. On that broadcast from Omaha, Womack said he heard Chambers discuss the 2020 race. “He was begging for someone who was knowledgeable about the needs of this community to come and run for his seat,” Womack said. Womack had thought of running for a while, but this was the impetus he needed to file. Womack feels uniquely qualified for the position. As someone who’s spent decades in civil service, working close to the ground and within federal bureaucracies, Womack said he has a wealth of experience. But he also understands the need for someone to pick up where Chambers leaves off. That starts with recognizing that District 11 has changed dramatically in recent years. At one time, the district was solidly African American. Now, refugee and Hispanic communities represent large shares of the population along with growing numbers of senior citizens. Building coalitions across those communities is a necessary first step to addressing issues that affect them all—poverty, unemployment and lack of affordable housing. Womack said if elected he’d prioritize securing funds for small business start-ups and bolstering workforce training. On a larger scale, he wants to help end the “brain drain.” The state has a history of providing top-quality education; it just needs renewed attention and fervor to edge out the competition, Womack said. “I want to present the opportunity here for it,” he said, “because we need to build this state.”

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D I S H

Don’t Call it a Comeback In Spite of the Spring Dining Freeze, The Omaha Culinary Scene Shows New and Exciting Growth by Sara locke

A

t The Reader, we go to great lengths to ensure that the information we are sharing with you is accurate and truthful. Mindfulness of our responsibility means we tread lightly on fluctuating situations, and at the moment, even accuracy has an expiration date. But keeping our Readers informed doesn’t take a quarantine break. To keep our information relevant, we have foregone lists of closings, re-openings and then re-closings, and those who have switched to delivery and pickup services. This information is changing so rapidly that it would be a disservice to share it, knowing

that its truthfulness may have gone stale by the time this goes to print. We do, however, frequently share this information on our Instagram @TheReaderOmahaDish.

to do better than simply continue to exist, they’re finding ways to use this chaos as a ladder. Yes, that was a Game of Thrones reference and I’m still mad about the finale.

We have opted in this moment not to list all of the establishments we have lost in the last month, and the somber truth is that many of these losses will be permanent.

Let’s take a look at a few establishments who are doing better than surviving, but are helping the community find abundance today, not “when things settle down”.

We will honor every single one of them once the dust clears, but if you look through that fog, you’ll see something else entirely.

Darvoli

Several intrepid entrée-preneurs have taken this opportunity

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May 2020

Chef/Owner of Dario’s, Nicola’s, and Avoli, Dario Schicke, isn’t altogether unfamiliar with facing devastation with courage and creativity. Having gone on to thrive after losing his Greenwich Village establishment to the 9/11 attacks, Chef has faced the Pandemic with a sense of cautious optimism. Schicke has concentrated his efforts by combining two of his establishments into one, spawning Darvoli from Avoli and Dario’s. Pantry items can be purchased to elevate your own recipes, take and bake pasta dishes can be ordered ahead of time, and takeout from a Darvoli-exclusive menu is available.

Nick Bartholomew While Nick Bartholomew has had his own share of hardship since social distancing shuttered OverEasy’s dining room, he has also taken the opportunity to seek new ways to bring comfort to the community. In a move that’s been in the works since January, he has purchased the rights to B&G’s name and recipe book, and is looking forward to finding a home from which to sling the famous loose meat sandwiches. “It wasn’t just about being able to sell this sandwich that did well, it was about trying to restore something the neighborhood loved for so long. I’m looking for a

place close to where B&G always operated. Those are the people who are going to get the most good out of B&G opening again. I could just stick their recipes on my menu, and while I would love to offer this to my clients out west sometimes, this is a community experience and I want to bring it back home to them.” Nick has also partnered with several area chefs to reimagine the good that Dandelion PopUp can do. Furloughed restaurant workers are finding temporary employment beside noted chefs to serve the underserved. With donations from Sisco, Omaha Steaks, and community funds (Donated via Venmo to DandelionPopUp and Paypal to OneLocalFoods@gmail. com) Dandelion is feeding hundreds of families each week.

Right Here Right Now You may know the name Josh Foo from his exceptional photography, his collaboration with Kristina Lee on “The Bad Breath,” or his off the wall antics and irreverently hilarious Youtube channel. His latest mark on Omaha, a documentary series produced and shot by himself and Lauren Abell, may become his most meaningful. [fb.com/ righthererightnowproject/] Bringing focus to the heart of Omaha’s service industry, Right Here Right Now is at times funny, moving, and hopeful with an unflinching honesty that reminds us that each of our Omaha experiences are connected. There is no denying that the dining industry is being hit hard, but it took courage to build the industry Omaha was so proud of. If we keep showing up to support, they will keep showing up with inventive new ways to feed our communities.


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First Person Pandemic

Artful Dodgers cope with COVID-19 amidst all the sturm And drang by Mike Krainak

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t’s said that nothing unites a country and its people more than a common enemy. With Covid-19, a novel virus at that, we have it in spades. Only this time, the war hasn’t united nations against one another—unless labeling it the “China virus” is prelude. It’s created a pandemic that threatens the entire planet. Daily, weekly and now monthly, we are reminded that we are all in this together. True enough. And though we all have roles to play, they aren’t exactly created equal. We are all at risk here in Omaha, as the curve of viral infections and fatalities in Nebraska hasn’t quite flattened. But those of us sequestered at home are more fortunate than those on the frontlines keeping us as healthy, safe and fortified as humanly possible.

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Yet, self-containment and stay at home recommendations, short of a mandate, come with their own complications, especially if caused by layoffs, job losses and small business closures. Unemployment insurance, even a one-time $1200 payout, might help pay the rent and keep us in our homes, but dude, we are still at home for the duration, and those four walls are closing in. We are creatures of habit, but that was okay pre-virus because among our options was leaving home, when we wanted, where we wanted and with whom we wanted to hook up. Now, we are living in a bubble instead of a comfort zone, and slowly but surely, the grooves that used to shape “the days of our lives” are turning into ruts of repetition. Think “Groundhog Day”.

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This is particularly true for Reader’s “artful dodgers,” that group of arts writers who attended exhibit openings each month in a variety of venues covering the diversity of Metro’s emerging and established artists. It’s truly been a group effort as writers looked forward to covering their beats in an effort to cast a net over the dozen or two of shows that opened month after month. Besides, it got us out of the house even in the best of times. Now, hopefully like most everyone else, when not self-contained at home, the artful dodgers don their masks and risk more than anonymity at the grocery, clinic and pharmacy, thankful to all who care and sustain us, mostly grateful just to get out the front door and outdoors.

Sure, while sequestered one can enjoy and even write about the visual arts that exhibit regionally online, and we do. And one can always Zoom in on neighbors, extended family and friends when the faces and lives we share at home become all too familiar. Let alone annoying. But the truth is, social media and digital art have real limits. One needs more than virtual reality to sustain oneself… in a crisis, how do we cope creatively in a way that truly engages us? We are only just beginning to find out… Like most everybody, the Reader visual arts writers, Kent Behrens, Janet Farber, Jonathan Orozco, Hugo Zamorano, Elmer Ellefson, and yours truly are doing our best to dodge a bullet every time we venture forth into what used to be familiar territory but is now the “great unknown”. Spouse


Janet and I sport homemade masks and know how to keep six feet from family, friend and stranger, and at the end of the day, our hands look as if we’d been in a pool all day or reek of disinfectant. Downtown and the Old Market, where we downsized five years ago, now look like a ghost town, except for dog walkers, strollers, construction workers, weekend revelers weather permitting and the ever present homeless of all ages. We cannot resist handing out dollar bills to the latter at every opportunity though we realize it’s like putting a Band-Aid on a gaping wound. But to a person, every “thank you” and “God bless you” is real and a reminder that more than ever we all live in the present. Still, despite checks to homeless shelters every holiday, why do we then judge or second-guess a simple act of kindness made in the moment? A humble expression of gratitude seems like a fair exchange, but it mostly reminds us real contributions and sacrifices are being made by workers and volunteers at those same shelters. We are the lucky ones then, artful dodgers safely ensconced in our homes of choice, each in our own way doing the best to make ends meet, following the news and measuring what we see, hear and read from

the media we trust the most…most of all, what we hear that makes the most sense is: “If you want to flatten the curve and hasten the all clear when American can re-open for business and pleasure, then stay the hell in place.” In other words, if you can’t be part of the solution (therapy, cure or vaccine), then don’t be part of the problem. Don’t spread the damn contagion. Stay put or we all kaput! Not making light of current events. Trying to keep a perspective or at least a distance in the midst of all that threatens hidden outside or inside and on various screens with their mixed messages of advice, half-truths, rumors and lies. And find a coping method amidst all the sturm und drang. Coping is a must if for no other reason to stave off cabin fever, which reaches a peak when you find yourself socially distancing at home as well. Anything to carve out a space, to occupy time, maybe even recreate one’s self. One can only bingewatch so much TV or text, tweet, email, and FaceTime and Zoom. You might think writing about art would be enough to fill our days, but it’s not. A boy needs a hobby. As for me, it appears my hobby of choice is baking. I’ve always done some, and Janet and I share the cooking chores pretty religiously, but baking is a weekly

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May 2020

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S t o r i e s passion. Daily, I spend a third of my waking hours online, reading, researching, organizing, scheduling, writing, editing and posting on behalf of Metro arts and for the artful dodgers and Reader. It keeps me engaged and focused, if more that a bit blurry-eyed, as anyone who spends that much blue screen time can appreciate. And personally, it’s an honor and a pleasure. I’m proud of how the Reader covers the visual arts in the Metro, knowing that we need to do more on behalf of its diversity and inclusivity. I’m in awe of the latter as nearly every month or so, a new venue or artist shares the spotlight with a plethora of post-emerging and established ones who deserve all of our attention and something more than their 15 minutes. And I truly appreciate all the Readers’ arts writers the past decade who have done their part to make that happen while enriching all our lives. Art, now more than ever. But if art is the cake, then baking is the frosting, so to speak. Aside from the

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above, baking keeps the daily rituals and grooves from becoming a rut. Along with reading, exercising, watching great films and

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more than a distraction. It’s hands-on, time well spent.

of the above nearly always taste like the one before.

The product of choice is mostly a loaf of something whether banana, Irish

When they all begin to look, weigh and even taste alike, I know I’ve gone overboard with the whole wheat and oat bran thing I mix with the flour, as well as the walnuts, raisins, orange rind, yogurt, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar and ginger I bake in nearly everything sweet. French pastry it ain’t, but the results are healthier than store bought-“Taste great! More filling!” Our townhome smells wonderful for days. I can credit growing up with my mom’s classic bran muffins and ginger cookies as influential and a moving experience.

Mike Krainak, contributing visual arts editor, adds fresh-baked banana bread to his culinary chops.

discovering new TV series or reconnecting with old ones, currently anything detective/mystery, I.e. Kurt Wallander, Baptiste, baking savory and sweet is

May 2020

Soda (traditional), ginger, corn, zucchini, even meat. I search for exotic recipes but never met one I couldn’t mess with and almost never make anything the same way twice…and yet, each

Recipes are a bit like lesson plans and architectural designs. Great to have, but they should free you rather than freeze you. Attack and adjust. Create in the moment. Isn’t that what artists always say when pressed? “The work took on a life of itself.” Isn’t that where we are today? Living in the present in uncharted waters, hoping that a rising tide of goodwill and better news will float all boats. This is how artful dodgers, Janet,


S t o r i e s Kent, Jonathan, Elmer and Hugo are coping with this novel normal:

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utilizes both sides of my brain. It is as mathematical as it is artful, often involving thoughtful—and frus-

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challenging as you’d care to make it. Knitting is something to be done alone or in a

A Stitch in Time with Janet L. Farber I love art, but I’m not an artist. One of the reasons I became fascinated with art—modern and contemporary in particular—is that the best artists are able to express contemporary in particular—is that the best artists are able to express themselves in varied and fascinating ways that I may be incapable of achieving, but am able to comprehend and appreciate. And I enjoy by extension, through writing and curating, to help others to do so. The act of creating that helps me get through this time is knitting. I did a variety of needlecrafts as a child, but not as an adult until about 5 years ago when I suddenly and against my own expectations became a serious knitter. It appeals to my creative side and

I’d much rather stay awake at night sorting through the complexities of a pattern than worrying obsessively about the dreaded enemy at our door. You might say it keeps me from unraveling.

Marching in Place with Jonathan Orozco No one ever tells you how glacial pandemics really are. Wikipedia tells us the Black Death and Spanish flu lasted for years. I already know someone is reading this and thinking: “But the world wasn’t so connected back then.” Well, that’s definitely true, but our current health crisis is still expected to last for months, if not longer.

Visual arts writer Janet Farber proud of her latest “knit wit” creation, a color matching scarf.

trating—problem solving. Its ritual repetitions are therapeutic and engaging, and the result is (hopefully) satisfying. It can be as

social group, in person or online. It’s an activity that can bond friends as well as total strangers. In these terrible times, it’s a tremendous diversion—if I’m able,

My life has gone totally remote because of this. As a UNO student, I have daily classes through Zoom or recorded lectures (you can only imagine how fun it is to do yoga in front of your laptop camera). All this so I can earn my art history BA. In fact, I’m going to graduate this May. With career prospects in the

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S t o r i e s arts being highly competitive, I can only imagine how much of a struggle finding work will be in the coming months.

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ternational travel in the past few weeks. Yes, we’re all bored and

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olutionary art work will look like when the economic system collapses and cooperation is the only means

My curatorial internship at the Bemis Center has basically ended, with projects I’ve been working on being postponed indefinitely. Aside from my professional practice, my go-to activities are video games and cycling. The great thing about riding a bike is that it is a solo sport, and since hardly anybody in my neighborhood is out and about right now, I indulge myself in this physical exertion.

A while before this particular coronavirus circumstance graced our lives, I shuffled through a pile of books I wanted to read, several of which I had started at one time or another. Barely started, as all had only a few pages turned, and out of procrastination, preoccupation, or boredom, in each I lost interest. I landed on one in particular this time, In Search of Time, by popular science writer Dan Falk. It sat for a few weeks by my bed, no hurry of course, and in late January I finally got to it. Just a few pages into it, finally, and I again found myself plastered in front of the TV and the Internet, getting tutored on the COVID 19 situation. I couldn’t get enough of it. Several press conferences, conspiracies, grocery-and-toilet-paper trips later, I am finally back to the book.

Many of my friends are satisfying their need for social connection though Animal Crossing, but I’ve been playing Minecraft. In-person commerce with NPC villagers guarantees no viral transmission, so I can freely explore and engage with this digital society and not worry about potentially getting infected. But all this is quite trivial when considering how this has affected others. Many of my friends have told me about their family members and friends contracting COVID-19. Some family friends have even been in quarantine because of in-

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It’s about Time with Kent Behrens

Like many current college graduates, Reader arts writer Jonathan Orozco poses for his “digital ceremony” and faces an uncertain future

stressed about our future, but at least fewer people are at risk of getting sick. I’ve been passing the time by doing schoolwork and theorizing what a post-rev-

May 2020

of survival. Let’s just say a more equitable world looks and feels much more pleasant than the one we have now.

Falk starts in with early humans having no real concept of time beyond celestial events and seasons. No clocks or calendars, no future or past, just Now. Later, he continues, came the concept of dividing time into months, then weeks and days, giving some structure to the passage of time.


Calendars, and eventually crude, and then elaborate, clocks were developed dividing the days, directing plantings and harvests, and marking religious ceremonies. This provided a reference finally to a past and the future, something to point to. Currently, there is much discussion about time surrounding the coronavirus and our response. Ventilators and masks are needed yesterday, you are contagious 48 hours before symptoms show, the virus lives for hours on cardboard, days on plastic. Some people linger for days only to die suddenly, or more often, recover. The testing is not being performed fast enough. How many months to a vaccine? Trump took too long, Cuomo needs more PPE, stat. Most lately, we endure new and sage advice about restarting the economy, rebooting the system. Now? May 1st, June 15th? That’s as far as I have progressed in Falk’s book, which was published in 2008; about a third of the book. A lesson in there? Maybe. An analogy to present conundrums? That’s probably to be determined. Just seems to correspond to the current events. And like you, I have a lot of time on my hands. Time enough for at least a few observations: How many dog-walks a day is too many?

I’ve made three different chicken salads so far, and damn, if I can’t say each one better than the last. I should probably eat something else.

Nebraska

Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

I watch too much News. I watch local, national, PBS, Fox, CNN, OAN, CNBC, Newsmax, maybe others; I don’t want to miss anything, (as each tells me the other ones are fake.) I figured out things on my Smart TV that I never knew existed. There are an awful lot of weird videos on YouTube. And I now subscribe to some of them. Being sequestered and unemployed is The Great Amplifier. A refresher course in observation and appreciation, from diet to relationships, from hygiene to paint adhesion. Note to self: Try today to do something creative, constructive, or at least culinary. After a recent move and downsizing downtown by my wife and I, there is still furniture to be rearranged and boxes in our storage unit to be gone through. I am way behind in my French lessons. I should exercise. I need to call and catch up with several relatives and friends. As a photo artist, I will spend some quality time in the darkroom. It will be nice to have my wife around during the day, for a change. No, really.

E d u c at E EngagE BEnEfit Proud PartnershiP with

Become a member today! nhCC offers its membership a variety of opportunities to join efforts with the immigrant business group by working together on education, networking and growth of the entire community NebraskaHispanicChamber.org 7914 W Dodge Rd #474 Omaha Ne 68114

(402) 557-6262

contact@nebraskahispanicchamber.org

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S t o r i e s So, there is much to occupy my time, but what’s the hurry? You know that trope; “in the meantime.” That unforeseen period of time spent while waiting for something else to happen, where we end up doing something else, something usually unrelated to the task at hand. At the onset, the “something else” is seemingly meaningful or substantial, at least in need of doing.

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ed or not, and about what to hoard, how to pay the bills. But how hard is it to mask-up and maintain a fathom or two of spacing? That’s the easy part. Initially I thought it might last up to two or three weeks, and

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application process. If you have had to do this, the unemployment thing, my heartfelt sympathies.

around downtown. However, in the meantime, the dog…

The dog thinks we are insane. Several walks a day, some for no apparent reason. So here I sit, four weeks

Keeping Pace with Elmer Ellefson As the pandemic began, I took inventory of the commodities we had in our house. Many items we already had on hand, but a trip to the store was necessary. Eggs, milk, flour, dog food, and yes, toilet paper are needed to provide basic provisions for our family to be in quarantine. Preparing food from scratch is a joy and we are well stocked.

It appears, we have had a new meantime forced upon us. I, like you, don’t remember being asked. It was just applied. Some of us probably saw this as a My wife time to home teaches in in on a specifthe School ic hobby, polof Commuish a resumé, nications at or even learn the University something Visual arts writer Kent Behrens, wife Tracy and pet Ruby “paws” for a family of Nebrasselfie before their daily exercise outdoors. new. Some, ka at Omaha sadly, had to and I teach Vocal Music in deal with the disease head assuming I stayed healthy, or so into the “shut down.” the Council Bluffs Public on, or deal with loss of I could get a lot done. Ok, I have dabbled in some of Schools. Our schools have loved ones, or job and in- four weeks. Ok, two to three the bigger plans I had, but shifted to serving students months. Who’s counting? come. really never got thoroughly in an online format. Teachinvolved in anything solid ers working at home is not As it turns out, much of There is that worry of getting sick and ending up my days have been spent yet. I should work on my new, but teachers working hospitalized, COVID-relat- trying to figure out the French lessons. I should go from home is. maze of the unemployment out and shoot some photos

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S t o r i e s This created the need for us to transform the privacy of our home into a place to meet digitally with students. Long neglected ceiling repairs and walls that desperately needed a fresh coat of paint finally received their proper attention. We are very fortunate that we are able to maintain our employment. As the c u r r e n t pace of life has greatly slowed down and the amount of unclaimed time has increased, this self-quarantine has opened my eyes to consider and reflect how I might better use my time when the quarantine is lifted. As an educator I am constantly concerned with the growth and understanding of my students. More specifically as an arts educator my students explore their individual identity in collaborating together to create music. Art in its

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many forms completes our human experience.

A Time to Heal with Hugo Zamorano

I am safe at home with many books, interests and hobbies to actively engage and enrich myself. But, oh how I do miss the abun-

Shout outs to the Magic City writers (South Omaha used to be known as the Magic City) pushing

Isolate in my home. Mad Max battle with myself driving down my brain’s ridge roads, waiting to explode as the environment implodes. Chin check my wallet as the reality check. Y el cheque que? Being in isolation is not a new reality for many artists often working alone. For those of us who suffer stress in some sort of way (who doesn’t?), we feel that we’d rather be alone. Alone with our thoughts, and going down rabbit holes of anxiety, somehow feels normal. But small interactions can become more meaningful because they occur especially when needed.

Arts writer and music educator Elmer Ellefson keeps a low profile while at his post safe and sequestered.

dance of arts offerings in the Omaha area. I miss connecting with the artists and art enthusiasts of our community. Please stay healthy and safe at home. Who’s ready to get out and see art?

knowledge with the streets right behind them visually through language painting the city like a canvas because we need more equity. Maybe that’s the green greed in me. Or living below poverty. This ain’t nothing new.

For instance, during this time I realize how important it is to maintain connectedness, especially to and for the ones who care most about us. My mom is continuously trying to lure

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S t o r i e s me and my lady with homecooked meals. At one point I scolded her for it and told her to stay home as much as possible and that I won’t see her for a few weeks.

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Project Project in January this time. Usually a magical project always pops up which pays for it all, but the magic me-

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I began making a few phone calls to friends living in California to check up on how things are going, and to catch up for it had been ages since I spoke to some

Como se te occurre no visitarme?! She scolded me, as a son should not scold their mother, and for even thinking of not visiting. I said, I’m really sorry mama. I never meant to hurt you. I never meant to make you cry but I’d rather not see you for a while than not see you ever again.

And then, a few days ago I was talking with my fiancé, everything was sort of getting to me. I began to tear up a bit. She says, “why are you crying?” To make it clear I had not been crying at that point, but her accusations brought me to tears. It had been a really long time the last time I cried of sadness. Almost three years to be exact, while speaking on the phone to my grandmother. After a five-second, riveted river fell down my cheeks, I joked about her calling me out on crying.

Especially knowing that people may carry the virus but not show symptoms or even get sick. It’d be fine to stay at least six feet apart, but that’s my mom, it’s impossible to not give her a big hug and kiss on the cheek every time I see her. So we talk almost every night instead. As for the money issue, which some of us might be having now or soon, I’m used to living Arts writer and muralist Hugo Zamorano spreads the word with little capital, so and the image throughout his beloved, “Magic City.” again nothing new. Invierto todo en mi carrera ter is low right now and the of them. I come to find that porque el arte va primero. jobs I had lined up seemed unfortunately one of my A good amount of my earn- to have evaporated. Holler friend’s brother had passed ings always end up going at your boy if you want a away. Not recently but last towards more art making. spray paint mural. Or any year. I was not able to react properly. I gave my conSo I spent most remaining mural. Or any artwork. dolences. I remembered funds on my solo show at

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hanging out with him as he was only a few years younger. I remembered when he started playing music and when he joined a band. I never made it to one of his shows.

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We have to laugh. We have to talk to each other. We have to see each other (digitally or six feet apart at the least). We have to cry every now and then. Most importantly we have to keep creating. And we have to remember. Rest In Peace Matt Babe, tia Angela Hernadez-Flores, Michael “PHASE 2” Lawrence Marrow, and Angel “Boogie” Cañas.


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Disordered Eater

When Connection is Your Cure, but Your Community is Quarantined by Sara Locke

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understand my absolute privilege as a person with a comfortable home, enough savings to handle clients who suddenly can’t pay, an already remote and self-regulated job, and three kids I actually enjoy spending time with. I haven’t for a moment taken for granted that a lot of people are stuck in terrible situations and facing a month of really hard decisions. That’s why whenever anyone asks me with a solemn tone… “so, how are you guys holding up?” I use my perkiest customer service voice to assure them that everything is wonderful and we are just fine. We get out every day to some green space, have more than enough toilet paper, do you need a roll? And when I put my kids to bed, we lament over just how fast this day slipped by us. We would just love a few more minutes, and so I climb into bed with them and we read one more story (probably three) and I watch them drift off to sleep before I do the dishes and write. My life is everything I ever wanted, and I cannot complain. But the assignment I was handed this week was to be a lot more honest than that. Not that the above isn’t true, it absolutely is. But while everyone talks about what “the new normal” means to them, some of us have been isolating with psychological disorders for years, and this was just one more door that closed for us.

And being stuck in a home with three weeks’ supply of food can be, while I shudder at the word, triggering for someone recovering from decades of eating disorders.

Eating with the Enemy For six years I’ve had the honor of using these pages to talk about how much I love food. I love food like the drunk girl in the bar bathroom loves EVERYONE. I gas it up, tell it how lucky everyone is to have it, ask it where it got its gorgeous sauces. It can be difficult to reconcile my appreciation for the art of flavor balancing with the fact of my decades of a sub-450 calorie a day diet. But most psychological disorders come with a side of WTF. By seven years old, I was well aware that I had an eating disorder. Facial scars I acquired at the ripe old age of 2 meant I had already made my peace

with the fact that “pretty” was never going to be my calling. To the chagrin of early therapists, nutritionists, and personal trainers, restrictive eating was never about how I looked. There was no finish line. I had just found that counting, cutting, and burning calories was the only thing I had any real control over.

A Little Help There was no magic day in therapy that “fixed” me, but rather the thought of my future children feeling the way I felt that helped me to make some kind of peace. It was my perfect daughter, Lily. Years before she was born, she saved her mother’s life. When I see myself staring back from my daughter’s sweet hazel eyes today, I wish I could hold tiny me and tell her I am so sorry. I wish I could be the mother she needed. But I can honor her now by taking better care of myself, and being that woman for my daughter. I’m grateful

that in spite of the adrenal fatigue, hair loss, and joint problems I inflicted upon myself, my beautiful daughter will not inherit my adversarial relationship with food. But the problem with OCD, PTSD, and eating disorders is that you don’t get fixed. You find yourself in a (hopefully) permanent state of recovery. You know your triggers and avoid them, maintain your support system, and take your steps... every day. Today, control looks like meal planning. Meditating when I am alone and saying out loud “Don’t throw the food away. You can’t go back to the store this week, don’t throw it away.” And reminding myself that I didn’t actually cause this quarantine. And neither did you. My only advice is this; reach out. Phone a friend. Reframe things as often as you need to. Today, do it for your kids. Tomorrow, do it so that you’re strong enough to workout when the gyms reopen. The next day, cut your bangs. It’s ok. Do it because you have control over those bangs and whether or not they look ugly right now. And today, find a specialized therapist who takes telecalls. BetterHealth has options within your budget. And if you ask the only people I care about, they’ll tell you that I’m a really great mom. If you need one, I’m here. I think you’re doing an amazing job, and I promise we’re going to be ok.

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What’s Your COVID Project? by Patrick Jones

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am a single father of a four year old and eight year old daughter. Their mama is a front-line health care provider here in Omaha and my girls are deeply worried about her, as well as these broader large, fairly incomprehensible, changes that have suddenly marked their world.

what was happening and how we would navigate a world of homeschooling and work and anxieties of various kinds, we established in our routine some art time.

On our first day of quarantine, as the three of us grasped to try to figure out

So, the next day, during art time, I made another head and attached it to the wall.

And on that first day, I created a head out of construction paper and added it to our living room wall. The girls laughed.

And they laughed again. Every day since, I have made a new, unique head out of construction paper and taped it to our living room wall. Some days, the girls join me in the challenge of making heads and adding them, too, to the wall. And, other days, it is just me doing a head while they create something different during art time. But making those heads has become a part of our

by Holly Lukasiewicz

During this time of physical distancing (yet still maintaining a social connection), I’m connecting with others by a daily sketch of their hands - a meditation of peace to them. I reached out to fr/amily to share a photo of their hands in a position

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that expresses a feeling about life, or illustrates something they do creatively, or however they internalize the prompt. May we find grace, comfort, patience and ease through this. Daily sketches can be viewed on Instagram, @ ms_ellle.

routine, our discipline, and a kind of meditative practice for me, in fact. Our COVID-19 Wall of Heads Project has become one way that I try to literally create a bit of joyous space for my daughters in our home amid so much other uncertainty outside of it. We are now up to more than 65 heads, on three walls and counting...


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Quarentine Things by Tim Siragusa

“It may be Lord our voice is suited now only for irony, onslaught, and the minor hierarchies of rage.” – Christian Wiman, “Assembly”  The Nebraska Department of Labor says, “Hello, we have received your inquiry. There are currently 47 users ahead of you. Your expected wait time is 957 minutes. Please remain on our site. We look forward to assisting you.”  Today’s affirmation: “I am healthy, happy and radiant.”  Hollywood, 1966. A handsome blonde priest in tortoiseshell glasses sits on the edge of a desk. A total Father What-A-Waste. Everyone calls him Bud. Before he speaks an unseen voice says, “And clear.”  Aimless driving around the city. The new owner built a deck onto the back of my folks’ old house. They’re asking a grand a month for a space in that gentrified wino hotel on Cuming Street. Who lives in these cute new spots in Little Italy? Who can afford to?

 Sam Harris is teaching me meditation through an app. Sam says, “Bring your attention to the field of appearances. When I snap my fingers, turn it to the observer. Who is doing the observing? Is anyone there?”  Pandora Premium: cancelled. Ditto Audible. Amazon Prime is next.  Alcoholic (noun): a person you don’t like who drinks as much as you do.  Matt comes by to borrow a kettlebell. Since the gyms closed he just runs and jumps rope, plays Monster House with his kid. Plays Monster House when it’s just him, no kid. Even though he’s laid off he still carries his pocket knife clipped to the pocket of his jeans like all industry guys do. We talk in the driveway, bump elbows instead of hug. He keeps pulling down the front of his shirt. He’s getting soft around his waist.  Another thing that’s gone: No church bells from up the block. Still, the civil defense sirens went off last week.  “I am a magnet for money.”  There are five users ahead of you. Wait time is 70 minutes. Please remain on our site.  Watching old episodes of Insight, an anthology series that used to play on Sun-

day mornings. Starring character actors, most croaked now, faces I recognize from Mannix and Colombo and Star Trek who act out these morality plays in a half hour format. Imagine Black Mirror or The Good Place on a budget.  “I give myself the care and attention I deserve.”  No drinking before 4:30 is the house rule. Except if it’s the weekend. Or if everyone’s home. Real talk: make it 4:15, 4:20. At least until after the cat gets fed.  Checking the bank app hourly to see if the bennies dropped yet.  “I choose the future with my actions today.” Wait time is 1261 minutes. Please remain on our Site.  Taking photos of John for his dating apps. It’s appalling that people are still hooking up for one, and for two that the apps just don’t shut themselves down. For three, am I the only one not getting any?  Humblebrag: Since John’s been posing for me women have accused him of catfishing them, of being a bot, of faking it. He’s a handsome guy, but still. It takes talent to find the right sidewalk, to use a bare wall at twilight as a lightbox. To find the right choker or suede jacket for him to wear. Tell him how to pose his arms; where to point his jaw, his gaze. Every

hookup with a lonely suburban gal is a point of pride for me. Can I put that on my resume?  John’s big idea today is to pose in an animal outfit. Just to eff with the algorithms and see who Bites.  Thirst Trap (noun): a sexy photo posted online in order to attract attention.  Images of John in a frog costume, an old worn out mascot suit really. Playing guitar, painting his name (“Fhillip”) in pastel colors. Riding a bike. Pointing at a painting of a frog. Holding handmade signs: FREE HUGS. KISS ME AND I TURN INTO A PRINCE.  Will women go for this?

 Furry (slang): a fan of media which features anthropomorphic animals- that is, animals who walk, talk and do otherwise human things.

 Fursona (noun): a furry character someone makes up for himself.  Riffing Wittgenstein: If a frog could speak I would not understand him.  The Paulist Fathers produced Insight from 1960 to 1990 to tell “stories of spiritual conflict in the 20th Century”, as Joseph Campanella announces in the intro. They filmed quick, on any lot that would let them. There’s the stoop from Sesame Street, Ar-

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S t o r i e s chie Bunker’s kitchen. One take affairs, with a three camera setup. Bud kept in the flubbed lines, the improvs, the boom mics and in one episode even the cameras. I suspect the actors wore their own clothes, smoked their own cigarettes. Everyone smokes, everyone drinks.

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en out sixteen mil since this thing started.  My corona cash just landed. I celebrate with a South African chenin blanc

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 Insight is a master class in acting. The actors are present, alive even behind all that pancake.They made union scale and many donated their

 Coof (slang): to cough while infected with a suspected deadly respiratory disease. Watching  rescue cat videos. Monster House walk throughs. Ten minute no hands ab blasts.

 “Today I choose to create magic, not excuses.”

 A handsome photographer comes over to take my picture for a magazine article about local restaurant workers. Due to quarantine all the portraits will be in front of subjects’ homes. The editor sent an email saying to be ready at 4:30 Tuesday. Looks like I’ll miss happy hour.

 Walking around Hot Shops capturing images on my new iphone. Which I now cannot afford. The block is mostly deserted, like before the stadium and the hotels went up. Just me, homeless guys, and construction workers renovating warehouses to the east and north. Workers turning these old boxes into mixed use spaces. Who is going to live here? Who can afford to buy the food they will serve in whatever new pub or bistro that moves in?  EBT: electronic benefits transfer, the current method of distributing food stamp benefits or general welfare benefits. Also known as Eat Better Tonight.  Filed my unemployment for the sixth week. Still no bennies, despite what the Governor said this week about the state having giv-

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says never. Danny says skip it. A librarian friend texts: Felt like a textbook. A rocker friend: Read it!

 Today is the first time I’ve worn jeans, a belt and a shirt with buttons since I got laid off six weeks ago. I put on the sandalwood & vanilla moisturizer John gave me, expensive stuff I keep watering down, trying to make stretch.

and an Oregon pinot Gris.  “There are 70 users ahead of you. Your wait time is 1361 minutes. Please remain on our site.”  “Today I choose to focus only on what I can control.”

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earnings back to the Paulists. Bud introduces the episodes, riffing on the theme of the show. Martin Sheen is in a bunch playing Adam, God, a clown. There’s Ellen Burstyn, with her old name before she changed it. Rue McClanaghan in a Dolly Parton wig.  Question of the day: Read Dune, yes or no? Dave

 We go to the side porch and the photographer, who twenty years ago posed me in an alley in the middle of the night, asks me to stand in the hosta patch. My roommates will be angry, but this guy is hot hot hot so I do what he says. Later we chat in the driveway, at a safe distance.


S t o r i e s  Real talk: I’m the gabby one while my secret crush nods, gives not so subtle glances at his van. In my head Sam Harris asks, “Can you find the one who is talking? Can you shut that idiot up?”  Teri says she can always tell restaurant people because they overshare, even when sober, just like theater people do. Real, funny, horrifying stories about outstanding warrants, dirty hookups, drug habits, suicide attempts. Stories to test the mettle of the listener, to see who’s in the tribe or out.  60 users in the queue. Wait time is 1372 minutes.  A van load of teen idols, my grade school crushes. Grant Goodeve announcing his suicide plan over Thanksgiving. Vince Van Patten hitting on a virgin at a sleepover. Jeff Bridges repairing TV’s, his

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brother Beau debating joining the army or running away to Canada.

from the basketball team. Mark Hamill begs his dad not to kill himself.

 North on 50th, then east on Dodge. Across the bridge into CB and down Broadway. Too bad they closed the Sal Army stores.

 YouTubers I am in parasocial relationships with: Kassandra, Adriene, Tim, Paul, Thomas. We’re a fit bunch. At least I’m not watching slo mo college wrestling vids like some people in this House.

 In my studio there’s no magic. These materials might be useful in someone else’s hands. Gray film over everything. Ralph Macchio buys speed from the captain of the ski squad. I need a Drink.  Finger nails: not Howard Hughes level yet. But I did slice myself with my own nails today. This is me getting rid of a bad habit, the one where I chew my nails when I’m stalled in traffic. Had to buy an emory board even. And yesterday a bottle of Sally Hansen matte finish top coat. Judge Reinhold gets a leetle bit racist after he’s cut

 Driving around looking for sexy lawn boys. Take mental notes on which neighborhoods have the best ones. The holy grail is one in sweatpants, no underwear, shirtless. Figure out the schedule for maintenance and plan my circuit around which house they will be at on which day. Give them names, nicknames, back stories.  The field of appearances contracts. Spending up to 20 hours a day in my room, on a rolled up blanket, med-

itating, reading, stretching and watching videos.  Michael Crichton wrote a couple episodes. White and Black characters drop the n-bomb. A teen idol in skin tight hiphuggers, buttons outside the fly, asks his dad for permission to smoke weed. Then tells Dad he’s been doing it for a year already. This was 1972.  The Live Chat icon is gone.  In 1969 Father Bud asked, “Isn’t there something in you that makes you vastly superior to any machine? If there is, what is it and how do you activate it?”  Wiman, again: Faith in language is faith enough in times like these.

My COVID Experiences by Vlad Rangotchev

Please, excuse my writing. English isn’t my first language so I would like to apologize in advance if you notice some unusual spelling or grammar. When there was an announcement that flights between countries will stop and borders will be closed my first thought was that I would be so far away from home in case something happens to me. But then I decided to use the time to improve my health. On my last visit to my doctor's office I was told my blood sugar is too high and I am considered pre diabetic. So when I began preparing and shopping for the pandemic I concentrated on sugar free, carb free or low carb foods. I also experimented, and to my surprise, I was

able to cook some amazingly tasty and healthy dishes. I noticed how my glucose levels began to drop at first very slowly, but then very noticeably, and just today my levels were the same as a healthy person. I had to find some additional activities to keep myself busy and productive so I began making face masks. Several of my friends from Texas, Florida, Kansas, and Missouri kept requesting more masks for their families and friends so the first few weeks I was very busy and ended up staying awake very late several nights so I could complete the orders and ship the masks first thing in the morning. I knew it could prevent the virus from spread-

ing and it could possibly save my friends and their families from a lot of trouble. For the last few days I have been updating my camper trailer because it makes me feel like I am not at home and it seems to be a great way to play a trick on my mind and to keep my sanity. On a funny note, I don’t think I would make it on a mission to Mars. I can't even make it in my house for a few weeks, let alone on a mission to Mars for 6 months. It would be great to read what others are doing during self isolation. Thank you for reading about my experience.

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It’s the Good Things... by Tessa Adams

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My family of five is a lucky one. My husband and I can work from home and our kids are in classes during the weekdays. We worry about our friends who are hairdressers and waiters, waiting for their unemployment to go through. In turn, we worry about the grocery store clerks and medical professionals. We think of them while we maintain social distance in all areas of our public lives.

8-year-old is a quaran-queen, dressing to the nines despite having nowhere to go. Our quaran-teen’s angst is heavier to carry without his high school sports, and our middle guy can only kind of get clean enough for his Zoom classes. We call it quaran-clean. Besides these small inconveniences, we’ve enjoyed seeing each other more, cooking meals together, and creating new projects to keep us busy at home.

I’m not sure if I’ve embraced the five workstations in our home and teaching all of my classes in my basement, but I do know keeping pants on my middle child so his classmates get the respectable version of him and keeping motivation in the other two kids can get challenging. We’ve come up with new vocabulary while hiding from this silent threat. Our

While we wait out this silent killer, I can’t help but wonder about the good things that will stick when this is over. I hope we still cook together. I hope Fontenelle Forest’s trails stay as packed, and I pray Omaha families can rebuild what they’ve worked so hard to create in our beautiful city.


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ROLLERCOASTER by B.J. Huchtemann

It’s a rollercoaster. I’m fortunate to have a full-time “day job” outside of The Reader that quickly moved to have as many people working from home as possible. I’m fortunate I’m still employed with insurance. I’m so grateful. I know others who are not as lucky. Meanwhile, working from home comes with its own challenges – the cats don’t understand why they aren’t the center of attention while I’m desperately trying to focus and get work done, stressing them out. Still trying to find the balance. Then there is getting in the work zone and feeling relatively ok for a time only to raise your head and realize: Pandemic. I’m not complaining. I have plenty to be so thankful for and hope my situation stays stable. But it’s frightening seeing the devastating daily death toll, the tragic human losses in Italy, Spain and then New York City... cases creeping up in Nebraska. The eerie resonance of a pandemic plague creeping across the nation while the transformative religious observations of Passover and

Easter are marked in new ways, socially distanced ways. The economic devastation of people out of work, the it-could-beme sooner-or-later fear is all just overwhelming. Makes it hard to concentrate. The let’s-reopen protests, the conspiracy theories. I guess that’s the downside of the internet. Anybody can post anything and apparently get some traction following their ideas. People now believe “alternative facts” are a real thing. I was trained as a journalist. I don’t buy it. A fact is a fact. I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted. Frustrated. Scared. Exhausted. I’m trying to stay positive. Again, I know that so far I am in a good situation. But it’s hard not to grieve for those who have lost loved ones, jobs, income. The uncertainties are also overwhelming and if you

look at the history of the 1918 pandemic or pay attention to the news regarding it or current predictions, the hard reality is this may go on for months, 12 to 18 months. In the meantime our musician community has been stopped in their tracks, months of income vanishing in a few days. The cancellations continue as do the efforts of musicians performing online to gather some income with virtual tip jars. The service industry workers are either thrown out of work or thrown into the front lines. The internet is full of music from some of my favorite artists, while I’m too distracted to pay proper attention. My home-away-from-home, Lincoln’s historic Zoo Bar is just one of so many small business that are shuttered, so many small businesses closed and so many people economically thrown into crisis. Businesses and livelihoods on the verge of being destroyed, lines for food banks filling huge parking lots, people being turned away after hours with no food. All this while we try to manage the spread of a virus about which so little is known and keep people alive. I finally found toilet paper in the store.

is appointment TV as he battled Covid-19 while broadcasting from his basement, a humanizing experience he shared, turning his program into what maybe was the real reality show of the moment. His big brother, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s daily press briefings became my lifeline about the same time after seeing the two banter on CNN. The governor’s fact-filled, calm briefings that focus on the importance of family life, how every life matters and trying to keep people safe amid untold frustrations and being rocked along with all of us as New Yorkers died in emotionally-incomprehensible numbers … Governor Cuomo’s caring, civilized talks have become a soothing oasis for me and many others in a sea of panic, misinformation and lack of real leadership on so many fronts when we need it most. So please keep breathing through the distress, depression and uncertainties. Find joy, comfort and reassurance where you can. Honor your feelings. Support others where and how you can. Connect where you can with appropriate safety measures. If you are on a rollercoaster too, know you are not alone.

I used to find CNN’s Chris Cuomo pretty annoying, now his show

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Rediscovering the Album

Quarantine has given one music writer the chance to listen in a way he hasn’t done so in years. by Houston Wiltsey

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e’re all trapped.

We’ve moved from conference rooms and cubicles to couches and kitchen tables. Bars are closed, restaurants are only offering takeout, and the best chance we have at meeting someone new is in the overcrowded aisles of the supermarket. These are dark times. For the month I’ve been stuck at home at the time I’m writing this article, I’ve tried to cope with the isolation in several ways. I’ve used FaceTime and Houseparty so frequently that I can feel the radiation from my iPhone’s aging battery slowly mutating the cells in my hand. Scrolling through streaming services has become an art form. To maintain some level of physical fitness, I’ve begrudgingly become a runner. All these activities have played their role in keeping me sane, however, nothing has done more for my mental health than my renewed love of listening to an album from front to back. “But you’re a music writer,” you might find yourself uttering. “Isn’t it your job to listen to records?” Great question. And yes, that’s what I normally try to do. As an audiophile and someone who has spent more money than he cares to admit on vinyl and CDs, appreciating albums as singular works of art is something I’ve prided myself on. That’s why it pains me to say that the further I’ve progressed in my fulltime career in advertising, the less time I

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have to dedicate to the album listening experience. I became susceptible to streaming. Scrolling through playlists or my favorite albums in search of an easy dopamine fix became common practice. Choruses were mantras that subtly drew my attention just far enough away from the occasional mundane tasks, quieting the parts of my brain that were screaming “I’m bored.” Ambient songs helped me to lock in when I was editing scripts. But music can get lost in the shuffle while at the office. Verses are punctuated by comments and calls, and even when I attempt to listen to a full record, there always seemed to be a meeting just over the horizon. The silver lining of being quarantined — if such a thing even exists — is that it’s allowed me to indulge more frequently in deep listening. Putting on a record has become a consistent escape for me in a way that it hasn’t been since the days of living in my parents’ house with my Pioneer record player tucked neatly into the corner of my bedside table, oversized headphones at the ready. Back then, I would put come home after a long day, put on a record, and find myself drifting into a trance-like state, constructing scenes of prehistoric forests while listening to Yes’ Close to the Edge and

imagining Billy Corgan’s guitar on “Silverfuck” as a serpent slithering around in the mist, waiting to pounce. I can’t explain how rewarding it has been to revisit these records over the past few weeks and construct these scenes once again. It doesn’t hurt that this year has seen a litany of big-name artists returned with sonically expansive, lyrically personal work to dive into. Tame Impala returned after five years with The Slow Rush and Kevin Parker’s opus to the passage of time seems extremely topical at the moment. The album opens with “One More Year” on which he sings “But now I worry our horizons bear nothing new / ‘Cause I get this feeling and maybe you get it too / We’re on a roller coaster stuck on its loop-de-loop.” Yeah, that sounds about right. For nearly an hour, Parker melds his affinity for seismic psychedelia and dance-floor-ready disco with his yacht rock and hip-hop. On paper, it makes no sense, but when blended with Parker’s magic touch, it’s inspired. Claire Boucher — a.k.a Grimes — gave us Miss Anthropocene, her first album since 2015’s Art Angels, a concept record about an “anthropomorphic goddess of climate change” in which “each song will be a different embodiment of human extinction.” The album is her most varied to drawing on trip-hop (“So Heavy I Fell Through the Earth”) to dream-pop (“New Gods”) to Bollywood-inspired cyberpunk “4ÆM,”


S t o r i e s offers enough variety that it can work as a philosophical exploration of man’s effect on the environment or as the perfect chill-out record for these dystopian times. Unlike Parker or Boucher, Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd, has always been less concerned with progressing so much as distilling. In his near-decade of existence, the Toronto R&B star has worked to dilute the X-rated persona that appeared on his trilogy of early mixtapes into something

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so palatable and catchy that even your mom can sing along. After Hours, his seventh album and fourth major-label release is one of his best. All the trademarks of a Weeknd album are here: his Michael Jackson-lite croon, Wu-Tang-style braggadocio, and a penchant for endless nights of meaningless, depraved sex after a breakup. Tesfaye peppers in club-ready singles like “Heartless” and “In Your Eyes,” giving you the perfect opportunity to dance, realize that you’re still not able

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to go outside, and return to something more melancholy. Quarantine has also given me the chance to go back and listen to some classic records that I always told myself I’d get around to. The smoky hip-hop explorations of Tricky’s Maxinquaye have been the perfect companion to my more-frequent-than-they-should-be nightcaps. U.K. hip-hop, specifically the hyper-aggressive grime of Skepta and Wiley, has soundtracked many furious basement workout sessions.

I’m even starting to talk myself into Blackstar being Bowie’s best record. I missed having these conversations in my head — quietly reviewing, thinking about how an album relates to the rest of an artist’s catalog and constructing those images. It’s therapeutic. I don’t know how much longer we’re all going to be stuck in this situation, but until then, you’ll find me on the couch, headphones on, listening.

COVID First Person by Ryan Syrek

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hen my mom would drive me to middle school, I used to list the names and jersey numbers of Chicago Bears players on the way, so I wouldn’t literally shit my pants due to anxiety about bullies and homework.

When I turned 15 and learned to drive, I was terrified of getting lost. I mapped everything from the movie theater; it was my North Star. I still call the roads around it my “safe streets.” When my dad had heart failure five years ago and was on a ventilator for a week, the only brief time anything felt close to normal was when I watched a Chicago Cubs game with my cousin. When my life began to fall apart a while back, I watched Mad Max: Fury Road something like 10 times in the theater. For me, it felt like going to church does for some people. Sports and going to the movies have been my safety nets for as long as I can remember. They don’t stop my anxiety, but they do soften it. They put boxing gloves on the punches. Immersing myself in the passionate but largely irrelevant uncertainty of a sporting event is a safe way to release emotions that I can actually understand. Unlike watching at home, seeing a movie with others in a theater feels like

briefly touching another reality, populated with strangers. These aren’t my “distractions.” These things have always healed and protected me.

can’t wait for that. My anxiety won’t let me. Aboard this tiny tin can apartment in the outer space of uncertainty and disease, I have begun to weave new safety nets.

And now they’re gone, for who knows how long, and I don’t really know what to do.

I have weaved them out of board games and Netflix parties with friends. I have weaved them out of comic books and video games. I don’t trust them to catch me yet. They don’t feel safe.

It shouldn’t go without saying, so let me say it: These concerns are silly compared to those of people who are fighting for their lives, losing their jobs, or dealing with systemic inequality that makes every tragedy hit infinitely harder. I’m not elevating missing sports and sitting in a theater with any of that, I promise. I’ve just counted on my personal safety nets for so long, moving through life without them feels dangerous. That’s not the right word, but it’s not the wrong one either. The best movie I saw last year, Aniara, was about the titular spaceship being forced off course. Passengers are initially hopeful that things can be fixed, but it soon becomes clear that this will be the entirety of their life. The film is a contemplation about what is really needed to be happy or feel “alive.” Welcome aboard the Aniara. Plotting a course back to “home,” back to “normal,” may well be impossible, and we certainly won’t arrive there soon. I

I am terrified at the thought that I have watched the last Chicago Bears game I’ll ever watch with my whole family. Will dad still be here when they finally play again? I can’t think about which theaters in town won’t reopen. Will it be the one where I fell in love? This all sounds so very dramatic, I’m sorry. I almost always prefer to write with humor. I’ll be funny again soon, I promise. But when we ask each other how we’re doing, how we’re surviving this truly insane time, I figure the least we owe each other now is the truth. So the truth is that I’m more anxious even more often (somehow). I really miss sports and going to movies. Not for stupid reasons (at least they don’t feel stupid). I feel adrift and sad (but I’m trying to fight it). How are you?

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VOLTEANDO LA TORTILLA DURANTE LA PANDEMIA Varios locales latinos tuvieron que ajustarse para sobrevivir al impacto de la crisis del COVID-19 POR KARLHA VEL ÁSQUEZ RIVAS

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oltear la tortilla. Esa ha sido uno de los más grandes retos a los que se han enfrentado los negocios latinos en Omaha en el primer trimestre del año. Restaurantes, salones de belleza, carritos de comida, tiendas de abarrotes, y supermercados han tenido que ingeniárselas para sobrevivir tras el anuncio de la Gobernación de Nebraska cerrar parcial o por completo los negocios en Omaha para evitar la propagación del COVID-19, que para mediados de marzo ya se conocían los primeros infectados.

Para María Salinas, trabajadora del restaurante salvadoreñomexicano La Choza, ubicado en la calle 25 al sur de Omaha, la situación no ha sido fácil. El local familiar ha tenido que reducir su horario de trabajo de 13 a 6 horas, ahora opera de 12 m a las 6 p.m. “Las ventas han bajado como 80% y ahora las ventas de comida se hacen solo por teléfono. Cuando viene el cliente se lo llevamos a su carro”, comenta Salinas para El Perico. El local tiene más de 10 años en el lugar, es rentado, y las facturas aun le llegan a La Choza. Es por ello por lo que tuvieron que dejar algunas empleadas en stand by, para reducir los gastos hasta que la situación se normalice y se puedan abrir los restaurantes. A finales de marzo y durante todo el mes de Abril la calle

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24 estaba desolada, algunos negocios de ropa mostraron su mercancía en las afueras de la tienda, a la espera de algún cliente. Letreros de “Cerrado por COVID-19” se observaron en las puertas de centros odontológicos, locales de tatús, de pólizas de seguros, abogados y también el Latino Center of the Midlands. Toda la vida había caído en parte.

“Nunca hemos vivido algo así”

Los restaurantes, panaderías y abarrotes estaban abiertos, pero tomando las medidas sugeridas por la alcaldía de Omaha y la gobernación de Nebraska. El Álamo, uno de los restaurantes más conocidos en la calle 24, también tuvo que voltear la tortilla. Con una clientela concurrida dada su fama por servir “auténtica comida mexicana” desde hace 34 años, también fue tocado por

ARTICULO DESTACADO // FEATURE ARTICLE

la “pandemia económica” al ver que sus ventas se desplomaron. “A los restaurantes los mataron completamente. Nada más tenemos unas cuantas órdenes para llevar que ni siquiera sirve para pagar la luz. Pero tenemos que seguir adelante. Hemos tenido que pedir préstamos a los familiares, ya que a los bancos se tardan mucho para trabajar con ellos”, dijo Ignacio Chávez, dueño de El Álamo, y añadió que el local sigue con su horario de costumbre. Contó que esta es la primera vez que se enfrenta a una situación en la que se siente una crisis como esta. Pasó por la del 11 de septiembre de 2001 (derribamiento de las torres gemelas en Nueva York) cuando todo el país se paralizó por unos días y luego entró en una fase de recesión. Después vivió la del 2008 con la Gran Recesión, a consecuencias de las decisiones tomadas por el gobierno de EEUU en ese entonces, que llevó a gastos multimillonarios en guerras y bonos inmobiliarios - luego del acto terrorista del 11 de septiembre – lo que provocó un colapso económico y la declaración de la banca rota de Lehman Brothers una de las entidades financieras más importante del país.

Sin embargo, El Álamo se mantiene en pie ante esta crisis. “Esta nos ha pegado bastante, ya se ven muchos negocios cerrados”, dijo Chávez y comentó, además, que en su local solo hay 4 empleados y ninguno ha sido despedido. Durante este tiempo de pausa Chávez está haciendo reestructuraciones para modernizar el lugar con la esperanza de recibir más clientela. Mientras tanto allí se ofrecer comida para llevar a través de su teléfono y también por las empresas Doordash y Grubhub.

Más por el centro Con casi dos años de operación, el conocido restaurante de comida latinoamericana The Hunger Block (La Calle del Hambre) se las ha visto dura. Ubicado en la calle Elm del centro comercial RockBrock Village, cerca de la calle Center, y sin tanta afluencia de vehículos y personas como lo puede tener la calle 24 del sur de Omaha, han tenido que cambiar por completo su estrategia de negocio reduciendo por completo la variedad de su menú. Las redes sociales han sido sus aliados, ya que a través de Instagram y Facebook ofrecen platillos latinoamericanos para 4 personas a precios muy

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accesibles dada la situación de crisis que se vive. Rogny Díaz, uno de los dueños del restaurante, explicó que las medidas tomadas ante la pandemia fueron drásticas pero necesarias debido a la pandemia en que se vive y la necesidad

Como el local también se beneficia de las bebidas alcohólicas, también expenden sangrías tal como lo ha sugerido el Gobernador de Nebraska. Asimismo, mantienen las ventas de las conocidas Hunger Milkshakes.

Su horario de trabajo era de lunes a viernes de 10 de la mañana a 7 de la tarde y sábados de 8 a 3 de la tarde. “Todos estamos frustrados porque no sabemos cuándo podemos abrir. Antes de que cerráramos estábamos poniendo precauciones como limitar la clientela a 10 personas, limpiar todo con cloro y mantener el distanciamiento social, con todo eso igual tuvimos que cerrar”, agregó. Señaló que por ley está prohibido hacer el trabajo de estéticas a domicilio porque hay que tener una licencia. “Usamos productos que tienen una carga química alta así que es por seguridad”, dijo.

de protegernos ante posibles contagios. “Hay que alimentar a la población. Las personas todavía nos escriben que necesitan a The Hunger Block Restaurant. Estamos abriendo solo dos días a la semana y estamos diseñando platos para un Family Style de cuatro personas, y estamos ofreciendo comidas para 200 familiar”, dijo. Díaz explicó que en el local trabajaban 10 meseros y 6 personas más en el área de cocina. “Hay que aclarar que no se ha despedido a ningún empleado de manera directa. Muchos se fueron a casa a resguardarse y otros aplicaron para el programa de desempleo. La situación se ha complicado, ahora solo estamos trabajando el jefe de cocina, el otro dueño Carlos Méndez. Y en el frente, haciendo las entregas solo está Palmira Méndez y Andreina Rojas”, ambas socias y cónyuges de sendos dueños. Como medida de protección, dentro del restaurante no puede entrar nada más que el personal autorizado además se protege con guantes y cubrebocas para preparar con cuidado todos los alimentos. La comida se la llevan directamente a la parte trasera del auto y el único medio de comunicación que usan entre el cliente y el local es a través del teléfono. Tienen reglas muy estrictas.

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“Los tintes no se pueden hacer para llevar” Los salones de belleza y barberías no tienen los mismos salvavidas que los restaurantes. Estos sí cerraron por completo hasta que se tomen otras medidas. “Por los menos los restaurantes pueden tener comida para llevar pero, los tintes no se pueden hacer para llevar”, dijo Venita Rangel dueña del Salón Nouveau ubicado en la calle 17 con avenida Missouri. Rangel trabaja por citas desde que abrió su negocio en 2005, tenía todo el mes de abril lleno pero tuvo que cancelar todo. Así que tuvieron que quedarse a la espera un personal de 8 personas desde el 22 de marzo que cerraron. “Esto está fuerte porque no hay dinero, todos somos inmigrantes y todos trabajan por horas y servicio. A mí, por ejemplo, me siguen llegando los billes (facturas) ¿y cómo podemos entonces generar dinero?”, dijo la estilista con más de 25 años de experiencia en el sector.

La situación apretada la llevó a pensar en que de no abrirse pronto su salón tendrá que buscar otros medios para generar ingresos. “Si no nos dejan trabajar voy a tener que buscar otra cosa, aunque sea en Burger King o algo así. Cuando uno está acostumbrado a trabajar todos los días, esto se torna difícil”.

compras, evitar llevar niños y usar los cubrebocas. No puede haber más de 10 personas en el lugar, y para ello asignaron a una persona quien monitorea la entrada de cada uno de los clientes que hacen la cola afuera manteniendo la distancia prudencial de 6 pies. A pesar de que las ventas han bajado, el local ha tratado de mantener los productos que siempre venden como la crema salvadoreña. “Ya no podemos contactar a los mismos proveedores, estos vienen de Nueva York, y debido a las restricciones tuvimos que buscar otros de otras partes, así le ofrecemos el mismo producto, quizás no la misma marca pero al menos el precio no varía”, dijo.

Propuestas de matrimonio y ventas de cubrebocas

Cambio de proveedores para los abarrotes La crisis ha hecho que no solo los locales cambien estrategias, también las tiendas de abarrotes han tenido que rebuscarse con proveedores. Ángel Pineda, trabajador de la tienda de abarrotes Nenas Zamora Market, ubicado en la calle 24, comentó que ha habido una baja de 30% en las ventas. “La gente aun necesita comida pero ya no se ve la misma cantidad de clientes”, dijo. El local que tiene 15 años operativo ha modificado su atención a la clientela. En la puerta de éste se ven varios papeles orientando a las personas a mantener la distancia social, que un solo miembro de la familia haga las

Tony Vega, dueño del bazar llamado Plaza Latina ubicado en la calle 24, asegura que el lugar se mantiene en pie a pesar de que el local de estética que opera adentro cerró y las ventas de algunos productos cesaron. “No vendemos productos de primera necesidad”, dijo en primera línea frente al mostrador de joyas. “Pero sí se siguen vendiendo las botas de trabajo y accesorios para la gente que trabaja en la construcción”, agregó. Para Vegas el asunto del coronavirus no lo ha amilanado. Todavía se venden alguna que otra joya para bautizo. “He notado que ahora piden más anillos de matrimonio. continuada en la página 2 y

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y continuada de la página 1 JBS en Grand Island, sobre los Pareciera que las parejas que contagios de COVID-19. tienen tiempo viviendo juntos Entre todo este cambio de se les removió la conciencia ventas, Vargas agregó que está o algo así y se ve que piden trabajando para resolver los anillos de boda. Este asunto casos de las personas varadas de coronavirus también trae en países centroamericano uniones”, dice en todo jocoso y que compraron boletos a añadió que también se siguen través de su agencia de viaje. vendiendo medallas de bautizo. “Afortunadamente estamos Encima del mostrador de resolviendo todo esto, pero nos joyas estaban cuatro cabezas generó pérdidas también”, dijo.

de unicel con tapabocas. Cada uno con precio diferente. La más cara cuesta $12, le sigue $6 que son caseros y con diferentes diseños, $3 los quirúrgicos y $1 los más rudimentarios, pero la oferta radica en comprar los paquetes al por mayor.

Durante el tiempo de conversación entre Vargas y quien suscribe esta nota, en solo 5 minutos 10 personas compraron cubrebocas, muchos de ellos eran trabajadores de mataderos. Uno de ellos aseguró que los que les da la compañía no son seguros para protegerse contra el virus, luego del escándalo de

FoodTrucks con un lado positivo Algunos locales de restaurantes han tenido que usar el mecanismo de FoodTruck para no bajar sus ventas como es el caso de Taquería El Chavo, que ahora tiene su puesto de venta en la calle 24 al lado de la Plaza Latina. “Las ventas se han mantenido de esta manera, pero nos cuidamos mucho de respetar el distanciamiento social”, dice Ruth Rocha, una trabajadora.

Entre tanto, a una calle más abajo, cerca de la tienda Nenas Zamoras, está el carrito Tacos Celaya que ofrece comida salvadoreña y mexicana. La pareja Glenda Santamaría y Beto Arriola han visto el lado positivo de la crisis. Con tan solo 6 meses operativos, al comienzo no tuvieron mucha clientela aunado a los días de invierno. “Fueron unas semanas duras por la baja de clientes. Pero recientemente la clientela ha subido porque como varios restaurantes están cerrados hay varios clientes nuevos, en parte me ha servido esta situación”, dijo. Santamaría siempre tiene una cubeta de cloro con agua para mojar el piso de vez en cuando para evitar un posible contagio del virus. Y le pide a sus clientes que se alejen un poco, manteniendo la distancia social. A pesar de las crisis previas a estas, Nebraska ha mantenido su programa de crecimiento económico con el impulso y apoyo a las pequeñas empresas, entre ellas los restaurantes que

son también parte de la visión turística del estado, y a su vez genera ingresos en impuestos a la ciudad y el estado por lo que el impacto no solo afecta a los pequeños negocios latinos sino al bolsillo de cada uno. Las cuentas y facturas no paran de llegar, las amenazas por cerrar negocios por falta de pago aun están latentes. En las calles del sur ya se ve con cierto escepticismo el tema del coronavirus cuando ya el bolsillo está afectado. Sin embargo, muchos hacen lo mejor posible por seguir las medidas y se mantiene la esperanza de que se aflojen las medidas a partir de este mes de mayo. De acuerdo, con los anuncios del Gobernador Pete Ricketts, podrán abrir los restaurantes tomando cierta restricciones, en aras de “recuperar” las pérdidas tenidas. Las limitaciones contemplan un mínimo de 6 personas para las cenas en restaurantes, medida que durará hasta el 31 de mayo, y quizás se vuelva a dar nuevamente otra vuelta a la tortilla.

BUSCANDO EMPLEO? ESTAMOS CONTRATANDO EN NUESTRA OFICINA DE OMAHA Representantes de servicio (CSR) con seis meses de experiencia Beneficios:

Seguro médico(incluye plan dental y de la vista) Tiempo libre anual pagado Horas extraordinarias y pago diferencial Póngase en contacto con nosotros: Correo electrónico: careers@i2cinc.com Llámenos al: 650-593-5400 x 4786

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FLIPPING THE TORTILLA DURING THE PANDEMIC Latino locals Business have had to adjust to survive the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. BY KARLHA VEL ÁSQUEZ RIVAS

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lip the tortilla. This has been one of the biggest challenges that Latino businesses in Omaha have faced in the first quarter of the year. Restaurants, beauty salons, food carts, grocery stores, and supermarkets have had to manage to survive after the Nebraska Governorate announced having to partially or entirely shut down businesses in Omaha to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which by mid-March had already reached the first infected. For Maria Salinas, a worker at The Salvadoran-Mexican restaurant La Choza, located on 25th Street in South Omaha, the situation has not been easy. The family-owned premises have had to reduce their working hours from 13 to 6 hours, now operating from 12 to 6 p.m. “Sales have dropped around 80%, and food sales are now made only over the phone. When the customer comes to pick something up, we take the order to their car,” said Salinas for El Perico. The restaurant has been renting this location for more than ten years, and La Choza’s bills are piling up. That is why they had to leave some employees in stand by, to reduce the expenses until the situation normalizes and the restaurant’s premises can once again open to the public. From the end of March and throughout April, 24th Street was desolate, with some clothing businesses showing their merchandise outside the store, waiting for a customer. “Closed due to COVID-19” signs were seen on the doors of dental centers, tattoo sites, insurance companies, lawyers, and

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even the Latino Center of the Midlands. All life had fallen apart.

“We have never experienced anything like this” Restaurants, bakeries, and groceries were open while putting into effect the measures suggested by Omaha Mayor and Nebraska Governorate. El Alamo, one of the bestknown restaurants on 24th Street, also had to flip the tortilla. With a busy clientele given thanks to its reputation for serving “authentic Mexican food” for 34 years, it has also been reached touched by the “economic pandemic” as its sales plummeted. “The restaurants were completely killed. We just have a few takeout orders that do not even pay for the electricity bill. However, we have to move on. We have had to borrow from family members since banks take a long time to work with,” said Ignacio Chavez, owner of El Alamo, adding that the place continues with its usual schedule. He said this is the first time he has faced a situation with a crisis like this. It passed through September 11, 2001 (the collapse of the twin towers in New York) when the whole country was paralyzed for a few days and then entered a phase of recession. Destin lived through one in 2008 with the Great Recession, as a result of decisions made by the US government at the time, which led to multimillionaire spending on wars and real estate bonds - after

the 9/11 terrorist act - which led to an economic collapse and the filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, one of the country’s most important financial institutions. However, El Alamo stands in the face of this crisis. “This one has hit us quite a bit, and you can see numerous closed businesses,” Chavez said. He also commented that there are only four employees on the premises, and none of them has been fired. During this time of hiatus, Chávez is restructuring to modernize the place in the hope of receiving more clientele. In the meantime, they will offer takeout orders by phone and also by way of companies such as Doordash and Grubhub.

More for the center With almost two years in operation, the well-known Latin American restaurant The Hunger Block has found itself between a rock and a hard place. Located on Elm Street at RockBrock Village Mall, near Center Street, and without as much influx of vehicles and people as 24th Street in South Omaha, they have had to change their business strategy by ultimately reducing the variety of their menu. Social media has been its ally, since thanks to Instagram and Facebook, they offer Latin American meals for four people at very affordable prices, given the crisis that is being experienced. Rognny Diaz, one of the restaurant’s owners, explained

that the measures taken in the face of the pandemic were drastic but necessary due to the pandemic in which we live and the need to protect us from possible contagion. “The population must be fed. People still write to us that they need The Hunger Block Restaurant. We’re opening only two days a week, and we’re designing dishes for a four-person Family Style meal, and we’re offering meals for 200 families,” he said. Diaz explained that ten waiters and six more people worked on the premises in the kitchen area. “It must be clarified that no employee has been dismissed. Many went home to shelter, and others applied for the unemployment program. The situation has been complicated, and now there is only the head chef, and the other owner Carlos Méndez. And on the front, making the deliveries are Palmira Mendez and Andreina Rojas,” the partners and spouses of the two owners. As a protective measure, only the authorized personnel can enter the restaurant, and everyone is protected with gloves and headcover as they carefully prepare all food. The food is taken directly to the back of the car, and the only means of communication between the customer and the premises is through the phone. They have very strict rules. As the locals also benefit from alcoholic beverages, they also sell sangria, as suggested by the Governor of Nebraska. They also maintain sales of the well-known Hunger Milkshakes. continuada en la página 4 y

ARTICULO DESTACADO // FEATURE ARTICLE

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y continuada de la página 3

“The dyes cannot be made to go.” Beauty salons and barbershops do not have the same lifelines as restaurants. These businesses did close completely until new measures are taken. “At least restaurants can have takeout, but dyes can’t be made to go,” said Venita Rangel, owner of the Nouveau Hall located at 17th Street and Missouri Avenue. Rangel has been working since opening this business in 2005, and had the whole month of April fully scheduled, but had to cancel everything. So their entire an 8-person staff had to wait when they closed down on March 22. “This is hard because there is no money, all of us immigrants and everyone works for hours and service. For example, I keep getting bills. How can we then generate money?” said the stylist with more than 25 years of experience in the industry.

Changing suppliers for groceries The crisis has caused not only locals to change strategies, but grocery stores have also had to search for suppliers. Angel Pineda, a worker at the Babes Zamora Market grocery store, located on 24th Street, commented that there had been a 30% drop in sales. “People still need food, but you don’t see the same amount of customers any more,” he said. The venue that has been operating for 15 years has modified its attention to the clientele. At the door, several workers are seen guiding people to maintain social distance. A single-family member must do the shopping, avoid carrying children and use headcover. There can be no more than ten people in place, and for this, they assigned a person who monitors the entrance so that each customer who queues outside maintains a reasonable social distance of six feet.

Her working hours were Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 8 to 3 p.m. “We’re all Although sales have declined, feeling frustrated because we the venue has tried to keep the don’t know when we can open. products they always sell, such Before we closed up, we had as Salvadoran cream, in stock. established many precautions, “We can no longer contact the such as limiting clientele to ten same suppliers since products people, cleaning everything come from New York, and due with chlorine, and maintaining to restrictions, we had to look social distancing, and with all to other parties, so we offer that we still had to close,” she you the same product, perhaps added. not the same brand, but at least She noted that it was the price does not change,” he forbidden by law to do this said. job at home because it had to be licensed. “We use products that have a high chemical load, so it’s for safety,” he said. The tight situation led her to think that if she didn’t open up, she would have to look for other means to generate income. “If they won’t let us work, I’ll have to look for something else, even if it’s at a Burger King or something. When you are used to working every day, it becomes difficult,” she said.

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Marriage proposals and sales of cover

Tony Vega, owner of the Plaza Latina bazaar located on 24th Street, ensures that the place remains standing even though the aesthetic venue that operates inside is closed, and sales of some products have ceased.

ARTICULO DESTACADO // FEATURE ARTICLE

“We don’t sell necessities,” “Sales have been maintained this he said of the products at the way, but we take great care to front on the jewelry counter. respect social distancing,” says “However, they do continue to Ruth Rocha, a worker. sell work boots and accessories Meanwhile, one block down, to people who work in near the Nenas Zamoras store, construction,” he added. is the Tacos Celaya cart offering For Vegas, the coronavirus Salvadoran and Mexican food. thing hasn’t affected him. They Couple Glenda Santamaría are still selling some jewels and Beto Arriola have seen the for christening. “I’ve noticed positive side of the crisis. that they are now asking for With only six months of more wedding rings. Couples operations, they at first did not who have a lot of time living have much clientele coupled together have had something with the winter days. “It was a move inside them, and we rough few weeks because of can see that they are asking the downing of customers. But for wedding rings. This recently the clientele has gone coronavirus thing also brings up because as several restaurants people together,” he says, are closed there are several new adding that christening medals customers, partly this situation are also still being sold. has served me,” he said. Above the jewelry counter Santamaría always has a were four single-cell heads with bucket of chlorine with water a head cap, each with a different to wet the floor from time price. The most expensive costs to time to prevent possible $12, followed by $6, which are contagion of the virus. Also, he homemade and with different asks his clients to get away a bit, designs, $3 for surgical and keeping the social distance. $1 for the most rudimentary, Despite pre-crisis crises, but the offer lies in buying the Nebraska has maintained its packages wholesale. economic growth program During the interview with with the drive and support of Vargas, in just 5 minutes, ten small businesses, including people bought some, and many restaurants that are also part of them were slaughterhouse of the state’s tourist vision, and workers. One of them claimed in turn, generates revenue in that those given to them by the taxes to the city and the state, company are not safe to protect so the impact affects not only themselves against the virus, small Latino businesses but following the JBS scandal on each other’s pockets. Grand Island, about COVID-19 Accounts and bills keep contagions. coming, threats to shut down Among all these sales businesses for non-payment are changes, Vargas added that still dormant. In the southern he is working to resolve cases streets, you already see with of people stranded in Central some skepticism the theme of American countries who coronavirus when the pocket bought tickets through his is already affected. However, travel agency. “Luckily, we are many do their best to follow solving all this, but it generated the measures and hope that losses for us as well,” he said. the measures will be loosened this May. According to The announcements of Governor Pete Ricketts, they will be able to open the restaurants by taking some restrictions, to Some restaurant premises “recover” the losses suffered. The have had to use the Food Truck limitations include a minimum mechanism to not lower their of 6 people for dinners in sales, as is the case of Taquería El restaurants, as it will last until May Chavo, which now has its outlet 31, and perhaps another turn to at 24th Street next to Plaza Latina. the tortilla will be returned.

FoodTrucks with a positive spin

MAY 2020


¡ FELICITACIONES ! Ganadores del Premio Alice Buffett Outstanding Teacher de 2020 Es con gran orgullo que otorgamos estos premios de $10,000 a cada maestra y maestro del sistema de Omaha Public Schools. Por fortuna en Omaha hay muchos más grandes maestros en el sistema Omaha Public Schools que los premios que podemos otorgar. Queremos agradecer en particular a todas las personas que nominaron a tantos grandes maestras y maestros y alentamos a todos a apoyarles para los premios del 2021.

Visit BuffettOutstandingTeachers.org for a complete list of past winners. Melissa Bauldwin

Mary Ann Colasacco

Ranae Duncan

Diane Eubanks

Justine Garman

Melissa Bauldwin ha estado con OPS durante 14 años, los últimos 10 en Burke. La Sra. Bauldwin es de Williston, ND, y tiene una B.S. de Minnesota State University.

Mary Ann Colasacco ha pasado toda su carrera de 22 años con OPS en Dundee. La Sra. Colasacco tiene una B.A. de la University of WisconsinEau Claire y una M.Ed. de George Mason University. Ella es de Mercer, WI.

Ranae Duncan ha estado con OPS durante 10 años, todos en Bryan. La Sra. Duncan es nativa de Omaha y cuenta con una B.S. de la University of Nebraska Omaha.

Diane Eubanks ha estado con OPS durante 31 años, 16 de ellos en Buffett. La Sra. Eubanks tiene una B.S. y una M.S. de la University of Nebraska Omaha. Ella es de Omaha.

Justine Garman ha estado con OPS durante 15 años, todos en Benson. La Sra. Garman es nativa de Omaha y tiene una B.A. y una M.A. de la University of Nebraska Kearney.

LaJoy Green

Amy Hiddleston

Kristy Lee

Deborah Merrill

Thomas Miller

LaJoy Green ha pasado los últimos dos años de su carrera de nueve años con OPS en North. LaJoy Green es de Omaha y tiene una B.S. y una M.S. de la University of Nebraska Omaha.

Amy Hiddleston ha estado con OPS durante 9 años, todos en Accelere Program. La Sra. Hiddleston es nativa de Omaha y tiene una B.A. y una M.S. de la University of Nebraska Omaha y una M.A. del College of St. Mary.

Kristy Lee ha estado con OPS durante 15 años, todos en Marrs. Kristy Lee es de Omaha y tiene una B.S. de la University of Nebraska Omaha, una M.A. de la University of Nebraska- Lincoln y una M.Ed. de Concordia University.

Deborah Merrill ha pasado toda su carrera de 20 años con OPS en Adams. La Sra. Merrill tiene una B.S. y una M.S. de la University of Nebraska Omaha y una M. Ed. de Midland University. Ella es de Omaha.

Thomas Miller ha estado con OPS durante 11 años, todos en Buffett. El Sr. Miller es de Omaha y tiene una B.M. de la University of Nebraska Omaha.

Rodney Mullen

Anthony Razor

Nick Wennstedt

Craig Wiles

Lindsey Wilson

Rodney Mullen ha estado en Central durante los 22 años de su carrera con OPS. El Sr. Mullen es nativo de Omaha y tiene una B.A. de la University of Nebraska Omaha.

Anthony Razor ha estado con OPS durante 11 años, todos en Burke. El Sr. Razor es nativo de Omaha y tiene una B.S. y una B.A. de la University of Nebraska Omaha y una M.A. de Nebraska Wesleyan University.

Nick Wennstedt ha estado con OPS durante 14 años, todos en Bryan. El Sr. Wennstedt es de Omaha y tiene una B.S. de la University of Nebraska Omaha y una M.A. de Nebraska Wesleyan University.

Craig Wiles ha estado con OPS durante 20 años, 19 de ellos en Crestridge. El Sr. Wiles es de Plattsmouth. Él tiene una B.S. de la University of Nebraska-Lincoln y una M. Ed. de Doane University.

Lindsey Wilson ha estado con OPS durante 12 años, los últimos tres en Morton. La Sra. Wilson es nativa de la ciudad de Iowa y tiene una B.A. de la University of Northern Iowa y una M.Ed. de Concordia University.

Burke High School Educación Especial

North High School Orientación

Central High School Estudios Sociales

Dundee Elementary Orientación

Accelere Program Estudios Sociales

Bryan High School Inglés

Marrs Middle School Matemáticas

Burke High School Estudios Sociales

Bryan High School Estudios Sociales

Buffett Middle School Lectura

Adams Elementary Kindergarten

Crestridge Elementary Quinto Grado

Benson High School Inglés

Buffett Middle School Música Instrumental

Morton Middle School Estudios Sociales

The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation 808 Conagra Drive, Omaha, NE 68102 ¿Busca fotos de los ganadores? No pudimos fotografiarles este año para poder cumplir con las pautas de distanciamiento social en relación a la actual pandemia por el COVID-19.

MAY 2020

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5


CERCAN LA LUCHA DIARIA

THE DAILY STRUGGLE AT

en la Plaza de la Raza

Plaza de la Raza is no more

POR BERNARDO MONTOYA

I

BY BERNARDO MONTOYA

sidoro de Jesús Cortez arrived at the planters of the Plaza de la Raza, as he’s done every morning, right in the heart of South Omaha. For the last seven years, this 62-year-old man full of life, arrives at this location, like many others, to see what luck has in store for him as he searches for a place to work at.

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sidoro de Jesús Cortez llegó, como todas las mañanas, a sentarse y a esperar en una de las jardinerías de la conocida Plaza de la Raza, ubicada en pleno corazón del sur de Omaha. Desde hace siete años, el hombre de 62 años, y con mucha vitalidad por delante, acude puntualmente como muchos otros, para ver lo que la suerte le depara en la búsqueda de algún trabajo en dicho lugar. Su espera puede tomar largas horas o días, hasta que alguien se acerca para ofrecerle unas migajas de horas o quizás días de trabajo, si corre con suerte. “La primera vez llegue por que mi hijo me trajo. Pero él se mudó a California con su nueva esposa y yo preferí quedarme…”, dijo Cortez en frente de otros 3 conocidos más, que estaban allí por el mismo objetivo: trabajar. El sol del medio día fue intenso ese día y transcurrieron las horas como si fueran eternas, pero solo llegó la oportunidad para una “chamba”: cargar unos muebles para una mudanza. La “vuelta” se hizo rápido y efectivo. Todos regresaron para esperar por algo más. Pero de pronto, una patrulla del Departamento de Policia de Omaha se detuvo frente a ellos. La oficial Ruteena Alcantara se acerco con pasos tranquilos y les dijo que no pueden estar más ahí por medidas de prevención para evitar contagios de COVID-19 y por órdenes de la autoridades de Omaha.

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Sacó una cinta amarilla y acordonó con ella las jardinerías, bancos y las bicicletas en la adyacencias de la placita, ya que todo allí es considerado como un parque público y esta prohibido que las personas lo usen como lugar de reunión. “¡Nos acaba de dar en toda la torre!”, dijo Isidoro con una profunda consternación. “Nos dicen que ya no podemos estar aquí buscando trabajo”, agregó. La mayoría que se ve en la plaza son hombres hispanos inmigrantes. La plaza ha sido el punto de concentración para aquellos que luchan diariamente para tener unos centavos en su bolsillo y que ven en eso la vía rápida y digna de obtenerlo. Y más durante esta época de pandemia, en donde el índice de desempleo se disparó en todo el estado, Omaha no queda excento. A pesar de todo eso la oficial Ruteena cumplió con una ordenanza. El viento había rompió las cintas, como si fuera una señal de injusticia ante la situación, pero fue simplemente eso, el viento. La oficial reforzó con más cinta plástica el perímetro de la plaza que estaba restringido. Se quedó así.

He can wait for many hours or even days until someone offers him a few hours’ worth of work or maybe a few days of work if he’s lucky. “The first time I did it because my son brought me here. But he moved to California with his new wife, and I preferred to stay…” said Cortez while he waited along with three other people he knew, all with the same goal: find a job. The noon sun was shining bright on that day, and as the hours went by – which felt like an eternity – a single small job opportunity came to be - a “chamba” – to carry some furniture for someone who was moving. It was a short but active job, and everyone returned to wait for another job to show up. But then, a patrol car from the Omaha Police Department parked in front of them. Officer Ruteena Alcantara slowly walked towards the group and let them know they couldn’t remain there due to the preventive measures to avoid COVID-19 contagion, ordered by Omaha authorities.

She took out a yellow roll of tape and cordoned off the planters, benches, and bicycles on the plaza, since everything in the area is considered as a public park, and it’s forbidden for people to use them as a place of gathering. “They’ve really done a number on us!” said Isidoro with great concern. “They’re telling us we can no longer remain here looking for a job,” he added. Most of the people seen in the plaza are Latino immigrant men. The plaza has been a place of gathering for those who struggle every day to make a living, and they see this as a fast and dignified way of achieving it. This is even more important during the pandemic, since the unemployment rate in the State has gone sky high, and Omaha is not the exception. Despite all of this, officer Ruteena had to do her job. The wind had cut off the yellow tape as if it was a sign of the injustice of the whole thing. The officer reinforced the cordoned off area with more plastic yellow tape around the restricted perimeter of the plaza, and it remained that way. “I don’t know what I’m going to do. There are no jobs, and now there’s no plaza where we can find something to work on. May God have mercy on us! I have no idea how we’re going to carry on…” said Isidoro, crestfallen and upset as he walked away from the area.

“No sé qué voy ha hacer. No hay trabajo y ahora no hay placita para buscar unos centavos. ¡Qué Dios nos ampare! y haber por cuánto aguantamos…”, dijo cabizbajo Isidoro, mientras se alejaba del lugar.

ARTICULO DESTACADO // FEATURE ARTICLE

MAY 2020


@ Supermercado Nuestra Familia

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MAY 2020

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7


FOTOS COMUNITARIAS

COMMUNITY PHOTOS

ELITE STUDIO PHOTOGRAPHY

Ofelia Robles y la Capitan Kathy BelCastro, piden a los habitantes de Omaha que sigan respetando el distanciamiento social, para evitar más estragos por el COVI-19.

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JESSICA NAVARRETE, coordinadora de Programas del Centro Laboral. Enseña cómo llenar la solicitud de desempleo en Nebraska, debido a los cambios actuales por el COVI-19.

Las Escuelas Públicas de Omaha continúan con su labor de entregar alimentos a todos sus estudiantes de este programa, respetando las normas de seguridad del COVI-19.

BECCA BRUNE, de Nebraska Appleseed, trabaja desde su casa para ayudar a que los jóvenes sepan cómo pagar sus facturas y cuidarse en tiempos de Coronavirus.

TINISHA POINTIER, escritora local y promotora de vida vegana, pide en estos tiempos de aislamiento que prioricemos el consumo de agua y el ejercicio físico. ¡Buena idea!

JUAN CANGAS, conferencista local y motivador estudiantil en diversos proyectos de las Escuelas Públicas de Omaha, celebra su cumpleaños respetando el distanciamiento social vigente. ¡Enhorabuena!

FOTOS COMUNITARIAS

MAY 2020


FOTOS COMUNITARIAS

COMMUNITY PHOTOS

ELITE STUDIO PHOTOGRAPHY

SAMUEL PULIDO, especialista en limpieza y desinfección para Out-2-Clean, pide por éste medio que las personas tengan cuidado con las mezclas que hagan para desinfectar sus hogares y alimentos.

La Super Intendente de las Escuelas Públicas de Omaha, DR. CHERYL LOGAN, hace un video agradeciendo a su personal, estudiantes y padres de familia por colaborar en acciones tomadas por el Covi-19.

El Centro Juan Diego de Caridades Católicas nos comunica que sigue entregando despensas de alimentos en 5211 S 31st. Para más información marca al 402-731-5413.

ASHLEY BALBUENA CASIQUE comparte con los lectores de El Perico su felicidad por el embarazo de su primogénito. ¡Muchas felicidades!

El Senador TONY VARGAS, realiza un video casero como Presidente del Comité de Planificación en la Legislatura de Nebraska, para recordarnos la importancia de responder el CENSO poblacional.

La Cónsul de México, GUADALUPE SÁNCHEZ, grabó un video para pedir a todos los condicionales que respeten las indicaciones de salud marcadas por el gobierno mexicano y estadounidense.

MAY 2020

FOTOS COMUNITARIAS

9


EL PROGRAMA CIENTÍFICO

All of Us Nos Necesita POR ATHENA RAMOS

¿

Cuántas veces hemos notado que un tratamiento médico es exitoso para muchas personas pero para otras no les funciona de la misma manera? ¿Conoce quienes fueron sus ancestros y si usted pudiera correr algunos riesgos de padecer ciertas condiciones de salud? Precisamente pensando en esto, los Institutos Nacionales de Salud (NIH, por sus siglas en inglés) iniciaron en el año 2018 un programa científico con el fin de avanzar la medicina de precisión. La medicina de precisión se refiere al cuidado de la salud basada en sus características específicas. A los individuos se le puede categorizar por el lugar de residencia, estilo de vida (tipo de alimentación y actividad física), su oficio, familia, genética y el historial médico, entre otros. En caso de que usted se enferme, la medicina de precisión le ayudará al profesional médico a identificar el tratamiento más apropiado de acuerdo con sus características particulares. Los hispanos/latinos necesitamos participar activamente en estudios como All of Us, ya que a pesar de que constituimos 18% de la población en los Estados Unidos, solamente 1% de nosotros ha participado en estudios científicos. Cuando no participamos en estudios, estamos impidiendo que se conozcan nuestras características particulares, ya

10

que nuestras condiciones son muy diferentes a las de otros grupos étnicos e incluso se present an g r a n d e s diferencias entre hispanos/latinos de diferentes regiones. Por el contrario, c u a n d o par ticipamos en estudios como All of Us, ayudamos a generar más información sobre los factores de riesgo que tenemos para ciertas enfermedades, podremos entender que tipos de tratamiento funciona mejor para ciertas personas y qué tecnología nos ayuda a estar más saludables. Adicional a esto, podemos encontrar información específica de nosotros como por ejemplo quiénes fueron nuestros ancestros, porqué tenemos cierto carácter o las enfermedades a las que estaríamos más propensos a padecer. El Centro Médico de la Universidad de Nebraska, Colegio de Salud Pública, Centro para Reducir las Disparidades en Salud, se asoció a principios de 2019 con la Alianza Nacional para la Salud de los Hispanos con el fin de promover el programa científico All of Us entre la población hispana/

ARTICULO DESTACADO // FEATURE ARTICLE

latina en Nebraska, y hacer un énfasis muy especial sobre la importancia de nuestra participación en el programa. En Nebraska, este estudio lo hemos promovido en ferias de salud, eventos comunitarios y conferencias. En este momento, debido a la actual pandemia de COVID-19, estamos promoviendo el programa de manera virtual. Participar es muy sencillo ya que solamente se necesita estar viviendo actualmente en Estados Unidos, ser mayor de edad y contar con un correo electrónico o teléfono celular para ser incluido en el programa. Una vez que haya decidido participar, ingrese a la página web www.JoinAllofUs. org/juntos o envíe la palabra JUNTOS en un mensaje de texto al 805722, allí se le indicará paso a paso los detalles del estudio y cómo abrir una cuenta personal. Usted puede decidir participar en una o más actividades ofrecidas en la página, y podría

tener una compensación si selecciona algunas específicas. La rigurosidad del estudio garantiza la confidencialidad de su información, además usted puede controlar los datos que entrega. Por ejemplo, usted puede decidir no proporcionar sus registros de salud o su número de seguridad social. Esperamos que esta información llegue a más lugares de Nebraska y que más personas se sumen y empiecen a participar para contribuir a ese millón de la población que el programa pretende reclutar a nivel nacional. Si desea ser parte de este programa o desea ayudar a difundir la información en su comunidad o tiene preguntas antes de participar, puede contactarnos en el correo electrónico b.car vajalsuarez@unmc.edu, también nos puede seguir en la página de Facebook ht tps://w w w.facebook.com/ UNMCCRHD/.

MAY 2020


THE ALL OF US Research Program Needs Us

H

BY ATHENA RAMOS

ow many times have we noticed that a medical treatment is successful for some people, but for others it doesn’t work even though it’s the same medical condition? Do you know who your ancestors were and what are your risks for certain health conditions? To answer these and other questions, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) launched a research program in 2018, focusing on advancing precision medicine. Precision medicine refers to health care based on people’s specific characteristics. You, as an individual, are characterized by factors such as where you live, your lifestyle (e.g., diet and physical activity), your work, family, genetics, and medical history, among others. If you become ill, precision medicine will help medical professionals to identify the most appropriate treatment for you based on your particular characteristics. We, Hispanics/Latinos, need to actively participate in studies like All of Us because even though we constitute 18% of the population in the United States, only 1% of us have participated in research studies. When we do not participate in research studies, we prevent scientists from understanding our particular characteristics since our conditions may be different from those of other ethnic groups. There are even great differences between Hispanics/ Latinos from different regions. On the other hand, when we participate in studies such as All of Us, we help generate more information about the risk factors we are exposed to related to certain diseases. We will also be able to understand what types of treatment work best for certain people and what technology helps us to be healthier. In addition to this, we can find specific information about us, such as who our ancestors were, why we have certain character

MAY 2020

traits, or what diseases we might be more likely to develop. In early 2019, the Center for Reducing Health Disparities at the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s College of Public Health partnered with the National Alliance for Hispanic Health to promote the All of Us research program among the Hispanic/ Latino population in Nebraska, emphasizing the importance of the Hispanic/Latino community’s participation in the program. In Nebraska, we have promoted this study by participating in health fairs, community events, and conferences. Currently, we are promoting the program virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Participating is simple. You only need to be currently living in the United States, be of legal age, and have an email or cell phone to be included in the program. If you have would like to participate, visit the webpage www.JoinAllofUs. org/juntos or text the word TOGETHER to 805722, and you will be given step-by-step instructions on how to open a personal account and detailed information about the program. You can decide to participate in one or more activities offered, and some activities offer compensation. The rigorous design of the study guarantees the confidentiality of your information, and you have the ability to control the data that you share. For example, you may decide not to provide your medical records or your social security number. We hope that this information reaches across Nebraska and that more people start participating to be part of that million people that the program intends to recruit nationwide. If you want to join this program, want to help share information in your community, or have questions before participating, you can contact us at b.carvajalsuarez@unmc. edu. You can also follow us on the Facebook page https://www. facebook.com/UNMCCRHD/.

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11


Crónicas del aislamiento La transformación desde una crisálida POR JULIA POSPISHIL vida normal soy una mamá, escritora y maestra con mi propio negocio “Spanish Chat Company.” He viajado y trabajado en 17 países hispanohablantes y tengo amigos alrededor de nuestro mundo.

B

ienvenidos al día 40 de mi “crisálida” conocida como cuarentena. Voy a explicarles un poco de mi transformación. En mi

Pero en este momento mi vida parece una película de aventura con el botón en pausa. Como una oruga estoy en mi momento de crisálida encerrada en mi casa con mi esposo y mis dos hijos. El 13 de marzo nuestras vidas han cambiado de repente y casi no hemos salido del hogar desde entonces. Hace 40 días borré todo nuestro horario lleno de

actividades. En lugar de ser choferesa o taxista de mis hijos, ahora mi carro está estacionado en nuestro garaje. Con menos gente viajando, nuestra tierra puede también tener una pausa para respira mejor con aire más fresco y menos contaminado. Doy gracias por este tiempo dentro de este ojo del huracán. Puedo encontrar las cosas verdaderas que me hacen feliz. Busco oportunidades nuevas desde mi casa. En vez de abrazar a mis amigos y parientes, ahora les saludo a través de la computadora. Mis clases de español e inglés están también en pausa esperando que se reanuden otra vez.

Entonces, por primera vez en mi vida tengo muchas opciones para llenar mi día. Ahora tengo tiempo para pintar junto a mi hermana en California a través de una computadora, escuchar a gente famosa en vivo, escribir cartas con mis sobrinas, practicar ejercicios de la relajación y aprender nuevas recetas. A veces lloro un poquito y echo de menos de mi vida normal. Pero yo sé que después de esta etapa en mi vida voy a salir diferente. Espero transformarme a una mariposa hermosa. Hasta pronto. Un abrazo virtual y una gran sonrisa.

Tener esperanza POR SALVADOR S. ROBLES

R

ecientemente, alguien me preguntó cómo me ha afectado la pandemia COVID-19. Tuve que pensarlo por un minuto para responder no porque no supiera hacerlo, sino que me vino a la cabeza otra pregunta un poco más adecuada para estos momentos. Una que podríamos estar haciendonos unos a los otros después de que todo esto haya terminado, y es ¿cómo es que la pandemia de 2020 COVID-19 no te haya afectado a ti? El hecho es que estamos viviendo algo que es un fenómeno global completo y está afectando a todos de una forma u otra en el planeta. Actualmente estoy ahora entre trabajos e intentando ponerme en cuarentena lo mejor posible. Obviamente,

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veces, sin embargo, estar ocupado, visitar a mis seres queridos por teléfono y afortunadamente ir a dar una caminata o paseos en bicicleta han sido de mucha ayuda. Creo que debemos esforzarnos por tener una buena mentalidad durante esta prueba y tal vez más allá de la pandemia. Después de todo tenemos que tener esperanza.

esto no es lo que estaba planeando hacer para marzo, ni abril y ni mucho menos espero que para mayo, pero todavía tengo esperanzas.

ARTICULO DESTACADO // FEATURE ARTICLE

Tengo la suerte de seguir viviendo en una casa y tener compañía durante esta cuarentena, ha sido útil. Yo bendigo todo esto muchas

Espero que nosotros, como raza humana, salgamos de esto más fuertes y resistentes; esperar por los infectados a que los infectados se recuperen; y espero que sigamos creciendo como individuos incluso en nuestra hora más oscura.

MAY 2020


Entre el vaivén de la montaña rusa POR ANDREINA ROJAS

H

ace unos meses comenzamos a escuchar sobre un virus que había parado una parte del mundo, digo una parte porque aun lo veíamos lejos y creíamos que no íbamos a ser afectados por esto; pero el día llegó, el virus llegó a nuestro continente y se quedó. Un buen día comenzamos a escuchar que lo más probable era que cerraran los lugares públicos, en donde estaban incluidos los restaurantes, lugar en donde trabajo, pues no tardó nada el rumor en hacerse realidad. El 16 de marzo el Manager nos comunicó que esa semana cerraríamos las puertas, el 18 se hizo efectivo. Me sentí muy mal, triste y con una incertidumbre increíble tratando de descifrar como cubriría mis gastos. Ya tengo casi un mes en cuarentena y ya siento que tengo por lo menos 10. Han sido días raros, con un sinfín de emociones que no paran, es como estar en una montaña rusa

sin detenerse. Los primeros días fueron de constante angustia y ansiedad; haciéndome miles de preguntas que hasta ahora no he encontrado la respuesta; sin embargo, me he calmado, no es que ahora no me sienta así, pero por lo menos lo estoy controlando.

No voy a solucionar nada sintiéndome mal, más bien las empeoro. Partiendo de eso he cambiado mi actitud de afrontar la situación; no obstante, no dejan de preocuparme los pagos en general (utilidades, renta, carro, entre otros) porque el COVID-19 ha parado

todo; restaurantes, bares, salones de belleza y tiendas en general; pero lo único que no se han detenido y tampoco se detendrán son los gastos mensuales. Aquí continuamos, tratando de reinventarnos diariamente.

Todo lo que necesita saber sobre el agua de su grifo.

CADA GOTA. CADA DIA. CADA VEZ.

Si el agua que consume proviene del Distrito Metropolitano de Servicios Públicos, usted estará feliz de saber todo lo que hacemos para proveer agua potable segura y confiable. Eso es mucho que decir si considera que suministramos un promedio de 90 millones de galones de agua diariamente y mantenemos 27,000 hidrantes para la protección contra incendios. Lea las estadísticas, hechos y cifras que muestran todo lo que hacemos en el Reporte de Calidad del Agua del 2019, el cual ya está disponible.

Descargar

mudomaha.com

Correo electronico

customer_service@mudnebr.com

2019 Water Quality Report nce Report for January

Consumer Confide

MAY 2020

1 - December 31,

2019

Llame al

402.554.6666 (o 800.732.5864)

ARTICULO DESTACADO // FEATURE ARTICLE

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May 2020

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The Reader - El Perico combined May 2020  

In this issue, The Reader and El Perico have combined again due to the pandemic situation. You can find stories from Omahans who express the...

The Reader - El Perico combined May 2020  

In this issue, The Reader and El Perico have combined again due to the pandemic situation. You can find stories from Omahans who express the...