Fireworks (copy)

Patriotic beauty vs. bombardment

I had the strangest juxtaposition Thursday night.

From my couch, I could see a lovely and patriotic display of fireworks at Boys Town, while simultaneously hearing the continuation of several days of bombardment by my neighbors.

The one is a genuinely beautiful and colorful tradition, and the other sounds like the constant discharge of various firearms.

Attending a municipal display brings us together as a community, especially in a time when we as a nation need it more than ever. Blowing up a ceaseless cache of munitions from the cul-de-sac serves only to disturb neighbors, frighten dogs and raise our collective fire risk.

Isn’t it time for Omaha to ban fireworks from residential areas? Anyone suffering from PTSD, migraines, anxiety of any kind and countless other ailments will be thankful. And my dog — who spent the evening cowering under a bedside table — would sure be appreciative.

Sean Dineen, Omaha

Bennington honors vet

The Gold Star family of Staff Sgt. George Tiedje was honored May 22 by the American Legion Post #266 baseball team at the opening ceremony of the 2019 baseball season.

The Bennington Boy Scout Troop 13 conducted the flag raising, and Legion Post #266 provided the Honor Guard. George Tiedje’s World War II service and sacrifice were honored in a special presentation to the crowd gathered for the first game of Bennington’s season.

The crowd was moved to silence as each member of the baseball team shook hands with the members of Tiedje’s family who were in attendance, including George’s niece, Ruth Hansen, and great-niece, Connie Tiedje.

Don Wallingford, Blair, Neb.

president, Bennington Baseball Club

Study behavior causes

With all the talk about mental illness and children behaving badly, local governmental bodies, experts and stakeholders need to slow down and really look at the factors and causes of various disorders before trying to design and build “one-stop shops” where “best practices” can be adopted at taxpayer expense.

Assess the true causes before assessing behaviors, then design programs after the cause is proven. That takes time and careful observation, which most programs don’t have the flexibility to address.

Misdiagnoses and ill-designed solutions cause more problems that don’t fit into a “one-stop” solution.

Perhaps a resolution is needed by the City Council and by the Douglas County Board. The Omaha area also needs a local support group for families coping with Douglas County Corrections.

Larry Storer, Omaha

Gretna memorial

Let the Gretna students keep their memorial for their friends who were taken too soon.

This could be a healing process for them, and if it is taken from them, they will become disillusioned sooner than they should be. Youths today face enough disillusionment.

Don Sloter II, Ralston

Move Millard Airport?

With another plane crashing when approaching the Millard Airport, is it time to think of relocating the airport?

Several lives have been lost in plane crashes, but fortunately no residents have been hit. The airport is located in one of Omaha’s most populous areas, and perhaps some thought should be given to this change before a family near the airport is involved in an even more serious situation.

Tom Partusch, Omaha

Robbing Peter to pay Paul

George Bernard Shaw wrote: “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend upon the support of Paul.”

Recently we had the Democrat debates, with all the candidates falling all over themselves to top the others on what free stuff they will offer. We saw them entice millennial voters with free college for all, they dangled free debt forgiveness on student loans (maybe if this applies to my student loans that I paid 40 years ago, I might roll along with them on this).

They are talking about reparations for slavery, a free guaranteed income of $1,000 a month for everyone in the country if you choose not to work. If you want to work, there will be a guaranteed government job for those that want it.

Actually this is not far from the truth. In order to give all this free stuff away, tens of thousands of offices and agencies will need to be staffed. There will be much mismanagement, fraud and corruption with all these new job holders who are not qualified to manage free stuff.

The candidates are offering free health care for all, including undocumented workers. They say they want border security but then say they want to tear down the border fences.

I’m stunned that no one has promised free tattoos.

Pete Menks, Omaha

Repurposing plastic bags

My church, Faith-Westwood United Methodist, has a group of faithful members who collect plastic grocery bags.

We sort and smooth them out, cut strips and crochet them into 3-by-6-foot mats that we give to Siena-Francis House, Open Door Mission and other groups as sleeping mats for the homeless.

They love them as they are lightweight, comfortable and easy to carry. One mat takes 1,200 plastic bags. We have made 1,000 mats.

We love serving the homeless in this way. I believe educating the public is a smarter way to solve the plastic bag problem. Other groups are making these mats here and in Iowa, too.

The need for these mats may continue until homelessness is eliminated. Please help us.

Marjorie Harford, Omaha

Josh Gibson, true role model

After reading Dirk Chatelain’s article regarding Bob Gibson and his brother Josh, I felt compelled to share my memories. Josh had a tremendous impact on so many kids that he coached, but he also impacted so many of us lucky enough to play on competing teams. He was the real deal — he walked the walk — a true role model.

In the late 1940s when I was a 12 or 13, baseball was my life. I played for Coach Curly Irwin on the Cuming Street Rockets. Irwin coached the only all-white team in the Burdette League.

Bob Gibson and his teammates were coached by Josh and played in the Burdette League, as well. I have so many wonderful memories of those summers and the overall great competition with excellent athletes.

One day, the Cuming Street Rockets played against the Gibson brothers. After the game, one of my teammates discovered his bike was missing. When Coach Gibson found out, he rallied his team together and said, “go find the bike.” Within 20 minutes, the bike was back in my teammate’s hands, and there were smiles all around.

As many of us sadly recall, the ’40s were a turbulent time in which minorities could have understandably and justifiably felt bitterness, anger and discontent. The beauty was there were no race relation problems on or off the field in the Burdette League. We competed and showed respect to each other and to our coaches.

I firmly believe that Coach Josh Gibson’s strong leadership played the most significant role in creating that atmosphere. I’m 84 but I still remember.

Michael “Mick” Shannon, Omaha

Immoral, unethical, shortsighted

I protest our government’s treatment of immigrants, especially children and asylum seekers, who are not here illegally, but are seeking the legal protection of asylum because of unbearable and unsafe conditions in their own country.

Failing to adequately respond to the crisis at many storage warehouses for children and adults at our southern border is criminal, immoral, unethical and shortsighted.

Separating children from their parents for extended times and neglecting and mistreating them, which is happening in El Paso, Clint and McAllen, Texas, as well as many other places, amounts to child abuse, which can lead to lifelong damage to the child, e.g., attachment disorders, socialization disorders. It is not an impossible leap to speculate that the U.S. government is cultivating the next generation of hate-filled, angry, vengeful people.

I can’t believe our nation could do this to people who only want to stay alive, something that is difficult in their own country. I have been in Salvador three times assisting a family physician. I also was part of a team from my church who, in 1976, sponsored a family of refugees from southeast Asia to come to America. One of them eventually became a member of our family. Today every one of them is a self-supporting, productive adult who has not abused our system.

People of Nebraska, we are better than this, as you demonstrated with outpourings of generous help after our recent flooding. Please urge our U.S. representatives and senators to focus on crafting a new, humane immigration bill.

Lois V. Svoboda, M.D., Fremont, Neb.

Flags aren’t for advertising

The week of July 4th, an American flag on a stick showed up alongside my driveway. There was one by every driveway in the neighborhood. I assumed it was a neighbor brightening up our part of the city, and that would have been fine. When I went to move it so I could mow the lawn, I saw a business card attached, for a Realtor.


I am not a flag worshipper; I don’t believe anything done to a flag in protest harms the country. That being said, I do expect some ordinary courtesies. One of those courtesies is not to use the American flag as a delivery system for an advertisement.

R.G. Heffner, Omaha

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