Mr. Todd's (copy)

Mr. Toad's Pub in Omaha's Old Market is a cool jazz spot on Sunday evenings. Should the Old Market be pedestrian-only on Sundays?

Old Market walking Sundays

Omaha would benefit socially, culturally and commercially by making the Old Market a pedestrian zone once a week on Sunday afternoons. In view of concerns about rising competition for dining, dancing and shopping dollars and exciting plans afoot to revitalize the downtown area, this initiative would help maintain the Old Market as the city’s premiere entertainment destination.

This timing would interfere least with commercial and office traffic and would offer a great opportunity for residents and visitors to enjoy the area in safety. I believe that such a temporary walking zone would increase sales as people enjoy the area without fear of vehicular traffic. The proposed timing would promote established promotions such as “Old Market Trick or Treat” and could easily be expanded to accommodate festivals, performances, sidewalk sales and other events.

The proposal is not to establish a permanent pedestrian mall. Many such have not been successful, although the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, Iowa City’s Ped Mall and Commercial Street in Atchison, Kansas, are regional exceptions.

By working with the city and the police to barricade key access points, Old Market merchants could create a multi-block zone that would present no major impediment to downtown traffic flow. Harney and Jackson Streets, as well as 10th and 13th Streets, would be unaffected.

As a 12-year resident of Omaha, I would be willing to spend my money in such a welcoming environment and believe that others would as well. Maybe it’s time to try something new.

Peter S. Gadzinski, Omaha

Show some kindness

I just saw where the movie about Mister Rogers is to be released Nov. 22.

All I have to say is, perhaps this is just the beginning of people wanting to see good and kindness on the screen rather than violence, rape and murder.

Come on folks, let’s make it a blockbuster so Hollywood will see what America really wants to watch, and turn this on-screen violence around.

Shirley Schmidt, Omaha

Student achievers, not just athletes

Workhorse Nebraska lawmaker, State Sen. Ernie Chambers, plans to introduce a bill to increase the current stipend of $3,320 per academic year for University of Nebraska-Lincoln athletes. Every athlete would receive the same pay regardless of the status of athleticism, to create a supportive culture campus-wide and beyond.

As a former varsity athlete and coach, I applaud his concern for development of the greatest natural resource that needs to be developed and utilized on campus: human talent. Educational systems should be designed for students, not administrators, parents, the state, the board or the faculty. For too long, education has been considered an end. The end is a well-developed human being. UNL is one of many means to that end.

American democracy is established on the principle that the fortunes of the individual and society rise and fall together. The traditional three Rs of education teach how to read, write and do arithmetic, but they do not teach how to live. Thus, the urgent need for student developmental programs such as varsity and intramural sports, special interest clubs and so forth, aka the fourth “R” of education, resourcefulness.

They address total potential as distinct from strictly academic potential. This creates a humane learning environment within which learners, teachers, parents and social systems interact and utilize developmental tasks for personal growth and societal betterment. Students are inspired to achieve their American dream.

I heartily support Chambers’ plan but would beg that it be designed for all student achievers such as cheerleaders, band players, club officers and community volunteers, not just varsity athletes.

Frank Turk, Omaha

A grateful heart recipient

After all this time, I am still humbled to my core because on Oct. 16, 28 years ago, I was given a second chance at life.

In a time of devastating grief and pain, someone said yes to organ donation. I was given the heart of their loved one.

I wish they could know their loved one lives on, and every day of my life I always remember the one who is still missed and mourned.

With all that is in me, I offer my deepest gratitude and prayers for your peace.

Never a day goes by without a prayer and a thought for you.

Shirley Kramer, La Vista

Capping loan rates

I read the article about the people who want to cap loan interest rates at 36% (“Petition drive launches to cap payday loan lending rates at 36% in Nebraska,” Oct. 15 World-Herald).

These people who are proposing this obviously don’t understand business or economics. The people who get these loans are very high risk and are very unlikely to pay back the balance of the loan. If you cap the interest rates, no one will loan them any money.

They will be forced to go underground to get the money, and the people who loan them the money will be ruthless in recovering the money. People’s lives, families and possessions will be greatly endangered.

Higher interest rates are necessary to recover the money lost due to the money not being repaid. If these people are so interested in helping the poor, why don’t they loan them the money themselves?

John Cavanaugh, La Vista

Mentor kids in need

With the release of performance reports from surrounding Omaha school districts, it is concerning to see that grades have not improved for certain areas where poverty is present.

The solution may not come from funding alone, though it can help. I believe that a direct effort must be made by the people of Omaha to support the families of these kids who may currently struggle to improve grades.

We as a community must come together to lift this burden for our youth as well as their teachers and not wait for officials to act. Get involved in mentoring organizations, nonprofit groups and after-school tutoring programs. These kids are the future.

John Horsechief, Omaha

Help with Medicare decisions

I want to thank Gary Glissman for his Oct. 13 Public Pulse letter (“Choose health plan carefully”), and I support his message about seeking help from reliable sources when making choices about Medicare options.

Health insurance, especially Medicare, is complex. Not fully understanding your Medicare options can have long-term consequences that could affect access to providers and out-of-pocket costs. It is extremely important that people have all the information they can when making their choices.

The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) is the only truly unbiased resource available to help people navigate the Medicare system. SHIP is a federally funded program that provides information and assistance to people who are approaching Medicare eligibility or are already on Medicare.

There is a SHIP program in every state. Through SHIP, you can receive free, unbiased, local assistance from a trained and certified volunteer Medicare counselor. These counselors can help empower you with the knowledge you need to make an informed decision about your Medicare options.

In Nebraska, the toll-free number to reach your local SHIP office is 800-234-7119. In the metro Omaha area, the number is 402-444-6617. The number for the Iowa SHIP is 800-351-4664.

Sue Fredricks, Omaha

regional representative,

Eastern Nebraska SHIP

executive director,

Volunteers Assisting Seniors

Teacher’s Night at the Durham

Congratulations and well done to the Durham Museum and its many sponsors in the enormously successful celebration in recognizing Nebraska teachers with its 16th Annual Teacher’s Night.

The highly popular and well-attended event permitted more than 500 teachers in the Omaha area the invaluable opportunity to explore various additional education opportunities for their students and classrooms — all in one location.

Impressive and highly noteworthy was that Teacher’s Night exceeded all expectations, with the museum open to more than 50 educational vendors — allowing teachers to explore many more resources available to them in their classrooms. From exhibits demonstrating science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), to natural resource preservation, to navigating careers and colleges, the event focused on all teachers.

The teachers were also afforded the opportunity and honor to be some of the first to visit the museum’s newest exhibit: “RACE: Are We So Different?” Scientific understanding of race and human variations is complex and may challenge how one thinks about race. RACE allows visitors to understand what race is and what it is not.

Teacher’s Night 2019, besides providing a well-earned salute for all teachers, is a critical and invaluable event opening the door to educators’ networking opportunities and explore free classroom resources.

John Witzel, Papillion

president, Nebraska State

Board of Education

Bring back good values

When are we going to get back our respect, religion, morals, love, compassion, humbleness, diversity, caring, respect for other religions and women and respect from other nations?

We are losing our freedom. We have job losses, businesses closing, suicides, rising food prices and bullying. Hate is winning in America.

Time for change so we can get our country back. I love my country.

Connie McMillan, Omaha

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.