April 20, 2014

Omaha’s Benson HS Jr. ROTC heading to France

Twenty-seven students from Omaha’s Benson High School will get a first hand look at history in June. Members of the Junior ROTC will travel to Normandy, France and take part in ceremonies to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

The cadets raised $91-thousand in the past year. They hosted countless car washes, pancake feeds, sold cookie dough, held dances and march-a-thons. They also received donations from a number of organizations in the Omaha area as well as other states.

Battalion Commander Liz Green says they leave June 3rd and will be gone a week. She says events already planned include marching in two parades and they will visit several cemeteries in Paris.

FDA approves new allergy medication

The grass is finally starting to turn green and flowers blooming. Nebraskans are ready to put the winter behind us and start enjoying nice weather but those with allergies typically think twice about heading to the great outdoors. Dr. Jeffrey Stokes is an allergist and immunologist with Alegent-Creighton Health in Omaha and says there is very good news for those who suffer with grass allergies.

Within the past two weeks the Food & Drug Administration approved two tablets for allergies that could be an alternative to the weekly-monthly shots for some patients. An oral medication should be approved in the next couple of weeks for those who suffer with ragweed in late summer – early fall.

Dr. Stokes says a nasal steroid spray that was available by prescription only is now available over the counter to battle allergies but it will take a few days to feel the benefits. He says there are also a number of other over-the-counter medications that battle allergies quite well.

Other tips to make it through the season include keeping windows closed at all times to prevent pollen from entering the home. If you have been outdoors change clothing once inside and shower or at least wash well to remove as much pollen as possible.

Mental illness – prejudice – or just plain mean

A white supremacist in jailed in Kansas accused of killing two people at a Jewish community center and then another person at a retirement community last Sunday. Authorities say this is a hate crime. University of Nebraska Medical Center Forensic Psychiatrist Dr. Carl Greiner isn’t commenting on this case specifically but says bigotry isn’t a mental health disorder. He says hate is typically not genetic but more environmental – meaning if you grow up in a home with a lot of prejudice and hatred you will likely display those same characteristics.

The suspect, Frazier Glenn Cross is 73 years old and it is hard to comprehend why someone that age would go on a shooting spree. Dr. Greiner, again stressing he is not commenting on this case specifically, says as people age some have a “bucket list” of things they want to do. He says for some it may be travel but for those with such anger they may have a “hate bucket list” and finally take action.

He says it sometimes is difficult to determine whether someone is mentally ill or mean – and some people are just plain mean.

Surprise truck inspection Wednesday

The Nebraska State Patrol conducted a surprise truck inspection at 203rd and West Maple Road Wednesday. A total of 77 commercial trucks were stopped and inspected. Inspectors found more than 400 violations and 38 vehicles were taken off the road. Those vehicles were not safe on the road because of bad brakes, bald tires or other safety issues.

It wasn’t just faulty trucks that inspectors were looking for. Four citations were issued for not having a commercial license or no license at all. The Omaha Police Department assisted in the special enforcement.

Nebraska Beef Council names winner in best burger contest

For a second time, Stella’s Bar & Grill in Bellevue takes top honors in the Nebraska Beef Council’s “Nebraska’s Best Burger” contest. Director of Marketing Adam Wegner says Stella’s Cheeseburger received the most on-line votes and rave reviews from the panel of judges. More than 200 restaurants were nominated this year and judges visited the top five.

Union Bar in Gering was the first runner-up followed by the Peppermill Restaurant in Valentine and the Cellar Bar & Grill in Kearney – who tied for third. Sin City Grill in Grand Island rounded out the top five.

Stella’s Bar & Grill also won the competition in 2012. They will receive a plaque and will be featured in May as part of Nebraska Beef Month.