July 26, 2014

Halloween weekend perfect time to put up Christmas tree

Those driving through Omaha at 90th and Dodge Streets tomorrow, your eyes aren’t playing “tricks’ on you. Susan Eustice with the Salvation Army in Omaha says they are putting up their “Tree of Lights” Halloween weekend.

The 75-foot, 6,000 pound tree is transported in three semi trucks and a number of vans to the American National Bank building Friday. Saturday, 50 local iron worker volunteers will be putting together the tree.

Eustice says they have two weeks to check out the all 80,000 LED lights and 650 LED starbursts to make sure they are in working order when they officially light the tree and kick off their Red Kettle campaign on November 11th.

The Salvation Army will also announce their Red Kettle goal for this year. Eustice says more and more people come to their door for assistance each day and demand is up 39%.

Unwanted – unused medication drop-off Saturday in Omaha

There is another chance for those with unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications to get rid of them in a safe manner. Douglas County Sheriff’s Department’s Captain Tom Wheeler says they will be conducting a drug drop-off on Saturday.

A number of Omaha area pharmacies are taking part including Walgreens at 132nd and West Center Road and 83rd and Harrison Streets. Kubat Pharmacy at 24th and N Street is also conducting a drop-off.

They will start accepting medications, in pill form only, at 10:00 am.

Sobriety checkpoint operation tonight in eastern Nebraska

A heads-up for Nebraskans traveling between Douglas and Sarpy Counties tonight, a heads up from La Vista Police Chief Bob Lausten. The Nebraska State Patrol, La Vista Police and the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Department are among seven agencies taking part in a sobriety checkpoint operation. They will be focusing areas along the Douglas – Sarpy County line.

Sarpy County is listed as a priority county by the State Office of Highway Safety because of the number of alcohol related crashes that involve injury or death.

Lawmakers mull bill on how contractors classify workers

The Nebraska Legislature’s Business and Labor Committee is reviewing a bill passed in the 2010 session dealing with the misclassification of employees by contractors.

The new law requires construction contractors to submit papers confirming each employee completed an I-9 form and is properly classified.

Nebraska Labor Commissioner Catherine Lang says tax staff of the state work with employers to make sure they are complying with the law.

Lang says there are four ways potential misclassifications would be discovered: referrals, site visits, examining blocked unemployment benefit claims and examining IRS 10-99 records.

Senator Steve Lathrop, chair of the Business and Labor Committee, wants to know how much tax revenue Nebraska may be missing out on.

Lathrop says they’ve looked at how Iowa handles the situation. He says Iowa saw a huge amount of money come in, in the millions of dollars, through the enforcement process — some of it from unemployment and some also from state withholding.

Labor Commissioner Lang says the initial annual report following the bill’s passage has been released and is available on the Nebraska Labor Department’s website.

Doug Kennedy, KWBE, Beatrice

TransCanada reacts to Governor’s call for special session

TransCanada President Alex Pourbaix says the Governor’s call for a special session will not cause them to voluntarily move the route of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. 

Pourbaix tells us they would likely have no issue with a bill to regulate future pipelines.

 “The concern is at the eleventh hour and 59-minute, after we have followed to a letter an exhaustive federal process, to be told by the state side that we need to move,” Pourbaix says. “ That would be were TransCanada has a significant problem.”

Pourbaix tells us they are disappointed that the Governor has called the special session, but says they will not take back safety considerations already offered to Nebraska.