Members in the Media

All students at six Omaha elementary schools have been able to eat free lunches for the past year and a half as part of a federal program intended to combat hunger at high-poverty schools.

But the pilot program won’t be expanded to more of the Omaha district’s schools in the coming school year because of worries that it could affect the level of school funding the district receives.

Two groups that provide services to Native Americans, Legal Aid and the Appleseed Center, have asked to intervene in the lawsuit over the future of beer sales in Whiteclay, Nebraska.

Johnathan Hladik, policy program director for the Center for Rural Affairs, says increases in rural poverty have caused communities to dig deep when it comes to helping their residents.

He says this is evident in many ways, including the large amounts of food heading out of food pantries and into the kitchens of folks who are struggling.

“They really are a reflection of rural generosity,” Hladik says. “We have other programs like Habitat for Humanity that are out there and helping out people who live in rural communities.”

Allison Kinney-Walker, an Assistant Professor at Nebraska Methodist College, says these conferences have a different topic each year, with this year’s theme being: “Creating Engaged Campuses: Embracing the Immigrant and Refugee Populations.”

The Nebraska Appleseed is applauding The U.S. Senate for voting down its latest version of a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the so-called “Skinny Repeal,” which was projected to cause at least 16 million Americans to lose health insurance, drive up premiums, and create massive instability in the insurance market.

For five years the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has provided a legal framework for people brought illegally to the United States as children to live and work here. The controversial program now has an uncertain future that could affect the 3,000 Nebraskans who benefit from it.

Sens. Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse joined with all but two of their Republican colleagues on Tuesday in voting to launch a Senate debate on health care legislation that could lead to repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act.
"We are extremely disappointed that both Sen. Fischer and Sen. Sasse went along with this process and voted to place in jeopardy the health care of so many of their constituents," Appleseed deputy health care director Molly McCleery said.

With the Senate vote to move forward with discussion on healthcare reform, many advocacy organizations are weighing in ontheir views, hoping lawmakers take notice. Health advocacy group Nebraska Appleseed Deputy Director Molly McCleery says, they recognize there are many problems with the ACA, but from their view, none of those fixes are currently being discussed on capital hill.
Mcleery says Nebraska Appleseed thinks it would be better for the nation if the Senate targeted specific problems with the healthcare system, instead of broad, sweeping reforms.

Daily life on a farm outside Lexington, Nebraska, is far from luxurious. However, Vincente Acevedo and Magdalena Barrios wouldn’t have it any other way.

“A typical day: I come home from work, prepare dinner, clean the house, and then I go outside to help feed the animals,” Magdalena said. “There is never a day off. I would rather be at the farm than go out to a party.”

WASHINGTON — All four senators from Nebraska and Iowa voted Tuesday to debate the Republican health care legislation already approved by the House.
“This vote very well could lead to poorer coverage and higher costs to tens of thousands of Nebraskans,” said Molly McCleery, Nebraska Appleseed’s health care director.

Our cover features Eric Kingery competing in the 2016 Capital City Wheelchair Tennis Classic. Coming Aug. 18-20, the Lincoln Adult Open will add wheelchair divisions to the tournament and change its name to the Walk ‘n Roll Lincoln Open Tennis Tournament, which will be played at the newly constructed Woods Tennis Center.

The lines for the new Mobile Produce Pantry started as early as 7 a.m. Tuesday right outside the Kearney food bank.
People with bags and buggies left with loads of produce.

isn't following federal law requiring it to be open to the public. The lawsuit joins a growing number concerning the commission that have been filed by civil liberties groups in recent days.

It also comes as an email was sent by Vice President Mike Pence's office to states telling them to hold off on sending voter data requested last month.

Although the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, led by Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, has held only an initial meeting by telephone since it was created two months ago, that first meeting was not open to the public, the ACLU charges. "Since the [law] applies to all meetings, even telephonic meetings, the commission has already violated [the Federal Advisory Committee Act]," ACLU staff attorney Theresa Lee tells NPR.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska lawmakers are looking for ways to increase mental health services in areas that lack psychologists, psychiatrists and counselors, but that could prove difficult amid a tight state budget

Nebraska has a nearly statewide shortage of mental and behavioral health professionals, but advocates say the problem is particularly bad in rural parts of the state. One senator said the solution may lie in a state-funded internship program to attract more behavioral and mental health students who are working toward advanced degrees.

LINCOLN — Nebraska’s top election official said he will share voter registration data with a federal commission, but only if he receives assurances about how the data will be used and secured.

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