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Get your car licensed

Daniel Zack submitted a letter in regard to illegally licensed vehicles (Jan. 8 Public Pulse). In addition to his observations about the vehicles on the streets with no license plate or in transit plates, I have often thought we could finance a special force just for the purpose of ticketing these folks. If you can afford a vehicle, you can share the burden like the rest of us.

Pat Janda, Omaha

Respect immigrants’ dignity

As a Catholic sister, I hold strongly to pro-immigration and pro-refugee standards and support immigrant communities in their struggles. I respect the dignity of all persons. I join with other religious leaders to encourage positive reforms to our broken immigration system.

In particular, separating children from families and allowing people to wait in dangerous and inhumane conditions do not fit Jesus’ teaching of compassion.

I hope and pray that we will deal with immigrants in a way that respects their dignity and worth.

Sister Zita Marie Sharrow, Omaha

Improve bicycle transportation

I appreciated Jeffrey Koterba’s Jan. 12 editorial cartoon illustrating the current relationship between the City of Omaha and our community’s bicycling advocates. The recent decision to remove the bike storage area in Benson is one example of a need that deserves greater consideration as we look at modes of transportation in our city.

I have worked in the midtown area for 15 years and have been so pleased to see the investment in the area by the University of Nebraska (UNO and UNMC) and Creighton University, as well as private industry. This development has brought tremendous improvements all the way east to the Missouri River. Our thriving community and the folks who live, work and play here deserve a safe opportunity to ride their bicycles, whether as a means of transportation or for recreational use.

I have been an avid cyclist all of my life. I grew up in Lincoln, a small city that has adopted an inclusive policy toward cyclists as transportation routes have grown and changed there. It is disheartening to see the lack of progress taking place in Omaha at a time of dynamic growth in many parts of the core of our city.

I urge Mayor Stothert and the City of Omaha to work with bike advocacy groups as well as individual citizens to improve bicycle transportation and safety in our city.

William Lawlor, Omaha

Socialist payments to farmers

If Gov. Pete Ricketts is so worried about the slow creep of socialism, he must be staying up nights worrying about the massive socialist redistribution of wealth that is occurring in our country today. Socialist programs like government-subsidized crop insurance and all the other farmer welfare handout programs that take wealth away from hard-working American taxpayers and give it to these farmers who are on the public dole. Please look the numbers up for yourself. They are staggering!

Why are farmers allowed to be a burden on the back of the American taxpayer and not call it what it is, socialism? Government-subsidized agriculture is the hallmark of socialism. Oh, the mental contortions these people will make to tell themselves and you that their own government welfare handouts are not socialism while any others are. So much for free markets, free enterprise and smaller government.

Randall T. Langan, Cedar Rapids, Neb.

Climate issues important

Thanks for lifting up climate issues by presenting the article about climate scientist Steven Ghan (Jan. 6 World-Herald) and also keeping us up to date on the changes the Omaha Public Power District is making.

Helping us all understand the benefits of clean energy for ourselves and our farmers and ranchers out west, as well as those living on the rivers, is so important.

I trust you will continue to lift up ways we can all learn about and help to make the environment better.

Marjorie R. Shreve, Omaha

Aksarben Ball and pageantry

In a world where there is open hostility between the U.S. and Iran, between Democrats and Republicans and between the extremes within each of the Democratic and Republican Parties, I relish the simpler days of yore when royal pageantry could transport an average human from the mundane into a world of magic and tradition.

I am not referring to the fascination with royalty per se (I don’t think anyone is particularly fond of discussing Prince Andrew these days). Instead, I refer to ceremony. In Omaha and St. Louis, both cities in which I lived for many years, they had formal processions (respectively, the Aksarben Ball and the Veiled Prophet Ball).

The clothing was formal and wonderfully excessive, and the people choreographed to behave as royals from another century. It took one away from the humdrum of life and carried those watching to another realm. Since the money raised by these events went to good charities, they provided the double benefit of entertainment and helping to make the world a better place.

Our young today seem to me to be into themselves and choose to escape from reality through their technologically sophisticated devices. I, on the other hand, would prefer to be swept away amidst gold, sparkle and grandeur as they transcend us to another world, away from our daily selves.

We see so much rudeness, manipulations of truth and pure lies that I relish a few moments of a make-believe world.

So, put on your top hat. Three cheers for Aksarben, the Veiled Prophet and “Downton Abbey.”

Rita Wells, Los Angeles

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