1919 Riot Headlines.JPG (copy)

Omaha World-Herald from Sept 29 1919 Omaha Riot of 1919 lynching of William Brown Some parts were touched up to enchance readability.

Troubling history

I want to thank The World-Herald and Dirk Chatelain for the 24th & Glory story of the citizens of north Omaha and the challenges they encountered.

When I arrived in Omaha over 20 years ago, I heard about the disparity of minorities in Omaha. I was also told about the lynching of Will Brown in 1919, how he was accused by Agnes Loeback of being held at gunpoint and raped, even though he had rheumatism and would have been in no state to physically overpower her and her companion.

Every time I get to 18th and Harney Streets, where Brown was hanged, I get chills. He was hanged, then shot while hanging. They cut him down, burned his body on a bonfire and dragged it through the streets by an automobile.

I appreciate the series so that those who ask “Why are some of ‘you people’ so angry?” might begin to understand the history of the African Americans in the 1900s and what they suffered.

Sometimes when we hear about north Omaha back in the day, we hear about the riots but don’t always hear about the back story or the events that laid the groundwork for the riots.

I hope this series ends up in history classes in Omaha schools. Again, thanks for reminding us of our history, even though it was dark.

Ernie Boykin, Omaha

Legalize gambling, marijuana

We are surrounded by states that have legalized gambling and built casinos. What was the reason for not allowing casinos in our state? If the motive was to keep people from gambling, that has failed. If it was to keep crime down, that too, has not been successful.

Surrounding states that have legalized gambling have consistently taken money from Nebraska citizens. The Nebraska dollars spent on gambling could have been utilized in our state for schools, social programs, road maintenance and other projects. Like many states, our state has needs that far exceed our available funds.

Now numerous states have legalized marijuana, resulting in massive tax revenues and substantial profits. We must not be the last state in this country to legalize marijuana. The Nixon administration made marijuana a Schedule I drug, joining drugs such as heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine. With the exception of marijuana, these Schedule I drugs have created chaos within our communities. To classify marijuana as a Schedule I drug was an injustice.

If the leaders of this state do not start governing with a more progressive and futuristic mind set, the chances of Nebraska growing in the right direction are extremely unlikely. We don’t have a large enough population to spread the taxes across Nebraskans to reduce individuals’ taxes. So we must find the resolve and innovation to convince our leaders to stop governing with a 1970s mindset.

William Earlywine, Omaha

Hospitals battle opioid misuse

In response to The World-Herald’s July 8 editorial “Hospitals in Nebraska and Iowa see progress against the opioid problem,” I commend you for shedding light on the issue of opioids and the extraordinary efforts by our Nebraska hospitals to reduce the misuse of these drugs.

The Nebraska Hospital Association has spent the last 18 months working with our member hospitals on best practices and methods to reverse the trends seen by other states in the country.

In January 2018, the Nebraska Hospital Association formed an opioid steering council — a 16-member council representative of hospitals and health systems throughout Nebraska. Additionally, representatives of the Nebraska Medical Association, Nebraska Pharmacists Association, Bryan College of Health Sciences and Department of Health and Human Services participated in this effort.

The results of these efforts produced the NHA Opioid Toolkit. This toolkit is designed to be a quick reference guide for providers and clinical staff.

The Toolkit addresses the following:

Recommendations regarding appropriate prescribing to reduce the risk of addiction/abuse.

Recommendations regarding screening and appropriate treatment for those who are already addicted.

Tactics and methods to appropriately manage public expectations around opioid use.

The NHA Opioid Toolkit will be updated quarterly online and can be found on the NHA website: https://www.nebraskahospitals.org/quality_and_safety/addressing-the-opioid-epidemic.html.

On behalf of our member hospitals, we’ll continue to work to further reduce opioid use in our communities.

Laura J. Redoutey, Lincoln


Nebraska Hospital Association

Civility in America

Jeff Koterba had a wonderful illustration of American frustration over the lack of political civility on July 4. There are four points which contribute to the problem of civility.

First, no matter what your political affiliation, many people believe Democrats simply have not accepted the 2016 election results, which made Trump president. This happens every time the Russian-collusion story and Mueller report are mentioned. While there is concern about Russia meddling, the impression is Democrats mention it as an excuse for Hillary Clinton losing the election

Second, immigration has tormented every generation with different political responses. Yet, every time Congress tries to resolve the problems, some factions rise to mangle or defeat attempts at reform. If the U.S. is ever to have effective reform, it must have a separate immigration policy specifically for the U.S.-Mexico border.

Third, political parties are mostly composed of volunteers and are trying to inform the public of issues of importance. Great care should be taken not to disparage them for encouraging voters to know the issues. Yet, there are dedicated extreme factions that attack not only political targets but anyone who stands in their way, including journalists.

Fourth, the United States suffers from leaders who lack the courage to defend principles. U.S. Sen. Susan Collins defended principle when she voted to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Yet, this one vote may end her Senate career. Her vote is what President John F. Kennedy had in mind when he wrote the book, “Profiles in Courage.”

Andrew L. Sullivan, Omaha

America’s greatness

I served for eight years in the U.S. Army and Army Reserves and received an honorable discharge upon completion of my service. Accordingly, I agree that military service should receive appropriate recognition, especially when it entails sacrifice and valor. While the U.S. public may have been negligent on this honoring during the Vietnam War era, I believe that we have since rectified that oversight.

Unfortunately, in the era of a fully professional military, we seem to have swung in a direction of excessive adulation of anything associated with the military. We appropriately keep Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Armed Forces Day as major observances, as well as frequently held local observances.

Traditionally, Independence Day was designed as a celebration of the greatness of America. Emphasizing the display of military hardware and flyovers, combined with individual citizens excessively engaged in incorporating explosives in the celebration, tends to create a militaristic drift away from the more encompassing celebration of America’s greatness.

The greatness of America is a complex undertaking involving countless contributions from women and men committed to improving on the ideals of political equality, natural rights of individuals and sovereignty of the government to the people.

Beyond our borders it involves acts of diplomacy and humanitarian assistance, and embracing a sense that America is a vital, but not the only, part of this planet. My hope is that we can return the celebration to a more balanced view of America’s greatness on future Independence Days.

Carl D. Ekstrom, Omaha

Certified nurse-midwife training

I am writing about the recent death of an infant after problems during a home birth attended by an unlicensed individual claiming to be a midwife. I want to clarify the training, scope and role of licensed midwives.

There are two tracks for certification of midwives. First, there is the certified nurse-midwife (CNM), a master’s-degree educated advanced practice registered nurse who, in Nebraska, is licensed to practice in collaboration with physicians. We are trained in low-risk pregnancy care along with vaginal birth. In conjunction with physicians we can collaborate on higher risk pregnancies and manage their births. We can prescribe medications including epidurals as well as attend natural, low-intervention births. After vigorous clinical training and passing of board exams, we are licensed to practice in hospitals and birth centers throughout Nebraska.

The second track is that of certified professional midwife (CPM). These are direct entry programs that are apprenticeship based. CPMs are not licensed in the state of Nebraska. Is a felony for any licensed CNM to provide home birth services in Nebraska. They may claim to be self-trained; they may promise to have had experience in pregnancy care and birth. Often these uncredentialed birth workers cannot know what they do not know about care and management of the pregnant woman.

My mandate, as with other CNMs, is to journey with mothers to honor normal births and to identify and respond to dangers that can arise. All women need to birth in an environment that is safe and legal in a collaborative and shared decision-making relationship with credentialed providers.

If your birth provider is not licensed or credentialed, I encourage you to please consider why.

Holly Eckhart, York, Neb.

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