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Wrong decision on bars

Gov. Ricketts’ decision to reopen the bars in just 10 days, when we have emphatically not gotten our number of cases under control, is irresponsible at best. I do not say this lightly, as I am a bartender and have lost income that unemployment does not come close to covering. I want to go back to work, but not until it’s actually safe to do so. My customers will come back because the governor said it was safe. Some of them will get sick. Some of those people will die because of his decision to bow to political pressure.

What Ricketts is doing now by reopening too much too early threatens any gain that has come from the shutdown. Since testing and treatment are not yet available at the levels needed, the decision to reopen anyway means we’ve basically all gone through this for nothing. I dared to hope that the governor of my state was different, actually protecting his constituents in the face of real danger, even against pressure from his own political cohort. I see now that I was wrong to hope he would stand firm and fulfill his obligation to us. I am very, very disappointed.

Joan Percival, Omaha

Move to plant-based alternatives

Despite nearly one out of six COVID-19 cases in Nebraska being linked to slaughterhouses, Gov. Pete Ricketts recently announced that health care workers in our state will be prohibited from reporting information connecting COVID-19 to individual slaughterhouses. This “gag order” begs the question: What else is the meat industry hiding?

COVID-19 is exposing what truly goes on in slaughterhouses and in industrial animal agriculture in general. Even without the threat of COVID-19, slaughterhouse workers face many risks of injury and illness. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, workers at slaughterhouses endure “serious safety and health hazards,” from the use of dangerous equipment and exposure to feces and blood from live animals.

Animals also suffer greatly on factory farms. In the pork industry, mother pigs are locked in tiny, metal cages, which are barely bigger than their bodies, for their entire pregnancies. Chickens often suffer pain, stress and potential injury from being hung upside down in tight shackles during the slaughter process.

Americans care about workers and animals, and many are reducing their reliance on animal products. With reports of meat shortages and grocers like Hy-Vee and Baker’s limiting meat purchases, now is a perfect time to reduce, refine and replace meat-based meals with innovative plant-based alternatives. There are a variety of hearty and delicious food options available for our families without supporting the ethical problems in the animal meat industry.

While lawmakers should enact policies to protect animals and people, our small dietary changes can have big impacts.

Jocelyn Nickerson, Omaha Nebraska state director,

Humane Society of the United States

Kudos to Sasse for his speech

Get off Sen. Sasse’s back. I love him because he’s conservatively unique. So what if he gave the Fremont students a little chiding? Maybe they need it and it will help them. Too many young adults are coddled in this day and age. And, yes, many of them are physically out of shape and need to go all the way up the rope and get more physical exercise. Get off their games and iPhones, etc.

Keep up the good work, Sen. Sasse. Thank you for not sucking up to all the “Fremont High School Family” and telling them what they want to hear. Squirming in their seats a little will do them well and challenge their comfort zone(s). You’ve got my vote, again. (P.S., try growing up in the west end of Council Bluffs in the 60’s!)

Thomas Huyck, Omaha

Creighton furloughs

I read in the paper that Omaha’s Creighton University furloughed 190 employees and I’m wondering if any of those employees were from the Athletic Department.

That department’s budget had to take a big hit when the March Madness basketball tournament was canceled.

CU already let go a basketball coach involved in a recruiting scandal. Maybe more coaches were let go, then?

But I am guessing nobody from the basketball program was furloughed because CU is very proud of that basketball team; it even sent them to New York City during the start of the pandemic, I guess because they didn’t want to lose any chances at publicity.

It would be interesting to see if CU cut back on the basketball program, but I would be very surprised if that were true.

Ricky Fulton, Omaha

Modern-day crybabies

I am shocked and saddened at the stubborn refusal of so many people who refuse to wear masks in public. They claim that their liberty has been denied. It is common knowledge that if everyone wore masks, the number of cases and deaths from COVID-19 would be dramatically reduced. And that would result in our economy improving much sooner. Violence has erupted over this issue. One store security officer has been shot by an irate non-mask wearer. Other store employees have been threatened.

It is understandable that people are frustrated. This pandemic is probably the most serious emergency this country has faced since World War II. Then, our young men were killed by the hundreds of thousands. They may have attended their high school graduation but many then immediately went into the military. And the rest of the population sacrificed, also. There were shortages of almost everything with strict rationing. People bought war bonds, recycled materials necessary for the war effort, went to work in the factories and mourned their fallen family members. We had great leadership with a president who inspired us to be our best. We amazingly won that two-front war in less than four years. This was truly the greatest generation.

What a woeful comparison between the greatest generation and the crybabies who whine about wearing masks. That is really a tough sacrifice to make to save lives and get everyone back to work.

Betty Conley Connolly, Omaha

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