November 29, 2015

What Nebraska shoppers need to look for when buying an extended warranty

Many will be hitting Black Friday sales today and at the top of the list is electronics. Then at the checkout, they will be asked if they want to buy the extended protection plan. Creighton University Professor of Statistics and Analytics William Duckworth has done the homework for you and reviewed the plans of twelve major providers. He says don’t be pressured into making a quick decision. Ask the clerk how long you have to make a decision as many stores will give you several weeks to decide.

Duckworth says you can also shop for a plan through an independent provider but make sure you look for a company that has only positive reviews.

Next, Duckworth says read the fine print carefully. Some plans only cover against malfunctions and defects and not accidents. He says some plans have exclusions that include dropping them in water, falling out of a window or run over by a car. Most independent plan providers do not have those exclusions.

Duckworth says you also need to read the fine print to see if there is a deductible. Using a smart phone as an example, Duckworth says the protection plan can cost as much as $10 a month and then when you need to use it you find out there is a $200 deductible. If the plan doesn’t list a deductible and doesn’t specifically say “no deductible,” then don’t assume there isn’t one hiding somewhere.

Finally, Duckworth says you need to look at the overall value of the device and if you believe it needs a protection plan.

Holiday Lights Festival scheduled for tonight has been postponed until Saturday

A Thanksgiving tradition continues in Omaha, only it will be delayed.

Holiday Lights Festival, originally scheduled for this evening, has been postponed until Saturday evening. Thousands are expected to gather at the Gene Leahy Mall at 14th and Farnam Streets downtown for the official lighting ceremony.

Mayor Jean Stothert will throw the switch on hundreds of thousands of white lights at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

Marc Nichols, Foundation Executive Director for Downtown Omaha Inc., says, “The first year of Holiday Lights was in 2000. For me, the payoff is to look out and see thousands and thousands of people, but more importantly you see multiple generations, parents, grandparents, kids, grandkids, everybody has a smile on their face. We have created an opportunity for people in the entire region to enjoy the holiday season.”

The Holiday Lights Festival also includes several concerts, a family fun festival, an ice skating rink and a big fireworks display on New Year’s Eve.

Nichols says the theme once again will be a campaign to “Shine the Light on Hunger”. The community is encouraged to drop off non-perishable foods and household items at in collection barrels throughout the community.   Last year more than 64,000 pounds of food was collected and over $515,000 was raised for the Food Bank for the Heartland.   They help stock the shelves of food pantries throughout Nebraska and western Iowa.

Nebraska State Patrol’s Click It or Ticket

It is the busiest travel week of the year and the Nebraska State Patrol wants everyone to make it to their destination safely and back home again. There will be extra troopers on the roads through Sunday, November 29th for the annual “Click It or Ticket” seat belt enforcement campaign.

Spokesperson Deb Collins says this is especially important this year because snow and freezing rain is in Nebraska’s forecast. She says, “Adjust your speed for the conditions. Never travel faster than conditions will allow. Those slick surfaces make it difficult to stop and steer. Don’t drive in that slick, snowy weather with your cruise control on.”

The Nebraska Office of Highway Safety is providing a grant that will pay for the extra enforcement. Their statistics show that you’re odd of surviving a rollover crash by up to 70% and give you up to a 45% chance of surviving any crash.

Omaha man booked for making terroristic threats

Omaha police rushed to 45th and Lafayette Avenue just before 1 a.m. on Wednesday to investigate a report of gunshots fired in the area. Witnesses told police that a man was firing shots and pointing a gun at a resident that had gone outside to see what was going on.

When officers arrived they saw 34 year old Irvin Harris damaging the rear window of a vehicle. Police were able to take Harris into custody and recovered his gun. Officers say Harris had damaged several vehicle and houses.

Harris was first checked by Omaha Fire Department medics and then taken to Douglas County Corrections.   Harris was booked for terroristic threats, possession of a gun by a prohibited person, unlawful discharge of a firearm and three counts of criminal mischief.

Nebraska Medicine restarts lung transplant program

Nebraska Medicine and the University of Nebraska Medical Center revived their lung transplant program.

Dr. Heather Strah is the Medical Director of Lung Transplantation and says, “The last lung transplant was done in 1998 because of physician availability the program had to be shut down. After many years of planning all of the right people were in place to restart the program this fall.”

Dr. Strah says patients will no longer have to travel hundreds of miles for treatment and care. With the new program, patients will have care close to home. Patients too ill to travel and receive a transplant may now be candidates locally. They will offer single lung, double lung and heart-lung transplants. Eventually they hope to provide transplants for up to 30 patients a year.

Nebraska Medicine is now one of few institutions in the country that offers all solid organ transplants.