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The leading cause of gambling addiction in Nebraska is slot machine gambling.

Plague of gambling addiction

As a victim advocate for over 20 years, I’m still astonished when I listen to proponents of casinos in Nebraska. So many facts have been injected into our communities and, still, there are some vocal people who want to wallow in others’ sufferings.

We help individuals and families of addicted gamblers whose lives are ruined by gambling addiction.

Addiction is very real, prevalent and horrifying.

The addict lies about everything, so trust is impossible at home and work. Lying is part of the nature of this addict, as well as utter disregard for the health and well-being of their loved ones. Serious family quarrels escalate into violent words and actions.

Abuse is inflicted because gambling is everything to the gambler so he/she must protect it.

He/she absolutely will do whatever is necessary to “get lost” in the casino. Loved ones and careers take a back seat.

Financial issues develop without effort by the gambler to correct them.

Even if addiction doesn’t develop, intense research has proven that criminal elements will make Nebraska their homes if gambling is allowed.

We would be amiss by not addressing family, moral and spiritual values. A responsible Nebraska defends the rights of its people to live without threats and decline of wholesome lifestyles.

Please don’t throw Nebraskans away for the sake of casinos.

Charlene Trout, Omaha

Voices for Truth and Dignity

Reduce institutional care

Living life in your own home is something many of us take for granted. For people with disabilities, funding a key federal program can mean the difference between being in their own home and being isolated in a nursing home.

Medicaid requires states to provide care in nursing homes, but home and community-based options are, unfortunately, optional. The federal Money Follow the Person program has been the solution for more than 91,000 people since its inception.

First authorized by President George W. Bush in 2005, with strong bipartisan support, this program helps individuals with disabilities and seniors who want to move out of nursing homes and back into their communities.

It has been implemented in 44 states. But funding is running low -– Congress has to act to keep the program going.

I urge U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry to support the EMPOWER Care Act and continue the commitment to life in the community for people with disabilities.

We’ve made great progress away from institutional settings, and into the community –- don’t send us back.

Jennifer James, Lincoln

Potter’s award well-deserved

Congratulations to Dr. Jane Potter and her associates at Nebraska Medicine and the University of Nebraska Medical Center on being awarded the prestigious grant to address Nebraska’s aging population.

Potter has spent her entire career focusing on improving the care of the older population, always recognizing that it is far more than medical care alone. Years ago, she established a rehabilitation center to help elders transition from hospital to home or other appropriate setting.

When the Home Instead Center for Healthy Aging was built, Potter included as an integral component EngAge Wellness, a welcoming place for seniors to exercise, socialize, learn about healthy lifestyles and participate in research. Clinics on the upper level of the building operate as a medical home model to serve complex needs of elders.

Potter has been tireless in education of health care professionals — physicians, psychiatrists, pharmacists, physical and occupational therapists, nutritionists, social workers and counselors, to name a few, helping them realize that integration of their specialties is of utmost importance in helping elders live life fully.

As a gerontologist, I was proud to work with Potter’s team for many years, and even though I am retired, I am so proud of their work and see this large grant as well-deserved recognition of ongoing accomplishments.

Betty G. Foster, Omaha

U.S. needs plastic surgery

I read the article “Omaha recycling at risk” with great interest. The article illustrated that recycling is in crisis. The day after The World-Herald article was published, USA Today published a story about how Cambodia is sending back 1,600 tons of waste to the U.S. and Canada.

Other Asian countries, including China, are refusing to accept U.S. plastic intended for recycling.

It seems obvious that the U.S. and Omaha need to own their solid waste problems.

In The World-Herald article, none of the people interviewed mentioned the need to reduce the source of plastics.

The amount of plastic that is produced keeps growing each year, and recycling rates are abysmal, while at the same time, it is difficult to find ways to recycle the wide variety of plastics that are overwhelming the planet.

A logical place to start here in Omaha is to either ban or place a fee on single-use plastics. We are drowning in plastic waste in the name of so-called personal convenience.

The cost of cleaning up our waterways, oceans and protecting wildlife is a huge environmental price to pay for the very temporary convenience of single-use plastics.

David E. Corbin, Omaha

chair, Nebraska Sierra Club

The real Omaha

With the cicadas’ buzz chirping in the background and the songs and bickering of birds in stereo, one can get lost by just sitting on the porch or decks around our beautiful city.

You must hear past the noises of lawnmowers and vehicles; hear and see Omaha how it should be, wild and free.

Have you watched the robins fight over the fertile pecking grounds in your neighborhoods or parks?

We have different political views, and we are trying to put our own hearts in the right place for the best possible outcome of our communities.

However, the question must be asked, “At what cost to our Omaha? Why can’t we live side by side with our wild prairie?”

As a transplant and new Nebraskan, the expectations were to see wild bison while traveling on Interstate 80. Unfortunately, one dead doe on North 192nd Street doesn’t really scream prairie heritage.

But the heart does melt when seeing the wild turkeys foraging on the side of the roads and seeing the toms strutting their plumage.

There is a lot we miss because of our busy lives and the distractions from technology; when was the last time you felt the mud between your toes or heard the cries of coyotes after midnight?

While you are drowning yourself with your morning caffeine and deciding what animal shelter you want to donate to, remember the true wilds of Omaha are disappearing due to urbanization.

Wild Omaha and civilization can co-inhabit. Are you Nebraskan enough to step up?

Gary L. Maes, Omaha

Email burnout

I can only speak for myself, but I am very close to email burnout.

I am receiving up to 30 emails a day, almost entirely from political candidates. In the crowded presidential contest, they probably believe that to get my attention, they have to out-email their opponents.

Unfortunately for them, I am of a contrary disposition, i.e.: The more they talk, the less I hear.

I am willing to receive one email per day per candidate. I am not willing to receive four or five emails each day per candidate.

I am very close to unsubscribing to mail from all the presidential candidates -– even the four I favor –- because reading all these emails is using up too much of my life.

To rephrase the line from Portia’s speech in Shakespeare’s play “The Merchant of Venice”: The quality of my mercy is becoming strained.

Mary Nettleton, York, Neb.

Judge dogs by behavior

Regarding Mitch Leaders’ letter “Leave the pets home” (July 28 Public Pulse), regarding the abuse of fake service dogs, he is spot on with most of his comments. It’s an issue that has become far too commonplace in our society.

There are, however, two very important misconceptions that must be clarified. First, one should never judge the need for a service dog by the appearance of the handler.

Many veterans and first responders suffer from the “hidden disability” primarily referred to as PTSD.

This ADA-recognized disability results in isolation, depression, anxiety, suicide, fear and many other conditions preventing social integration.

Service dogs can do wonders for this condition, with a success rate exceeding 84% according to a recent Purdue University study.

Service dogs can detect diabetic seizures and blood-sugar imbalance and other conditions.

Judge the legitimacy of the dog by its behavior.

Fake service dogs are generally disruptive around other dogs, bark at others, roam from their handlers, sit in the handler’s lap, eat from the floor or table and show signs of poor training.

They should not show interest in anything on the shelf in a grocery store.

If you suspect a fake service animal based on behavior, report it.

As a reminder, service dogs do not require any special vests or markings.

Do not approach them without greeting the handler first.

Always request permission to greet or pet the dog.

The social pressures endured by those who need a service dog do not need the additional emotional stress of a condescending or judgmental public.

R.A. “Tim” McAlpine Jr., Omaha

president, Javelan Inc.

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