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OTOC Leaders learn about Energy Future

April 18th, 2014

Jeanne Schuler leads discussionOn Monday, April 14, over 40 OTOC and community leaders met with officials from OPPD,  Nebraska Wildlife Foundation and Interfaith Power and Light to listen to different perspectives about Omaha’s energy future. OPPD staffers reviewed the various options which the utility faces in dealing with their coal burning North Omaha  power plant. The North Omaha plant is very old and burns coal without the benefit of modern technology to reduce pollution. OPPD has to make major changes at the plant in order to meet federal Clean Air Act regulations by 2016.
According to OPPD, they have 4 options which include Retrofit to continue to burn coal; close and Replace the North Omaha plant with other sources of energy; keep the North Omaha plant and  Refuel, using natural gas instead of coal to operate the plant; and Reduce the demand for energy by emphasizing conservation more aggressively.Read More . . .

Over 700 attend April 6 Mass for the Deported

April 16th, 2014

Over 700 attended a celebration of the Mass at Holy Name Catholic Church on Sunday, April 6.  People were invited to write the names of their deported family and friends on posters at the back of Church or sheets of paper passed in through the pews.  At times, the church was full of sadness and people wept as they wrote down the names of over 150 deported family and friends.  1

Fr. Tom Glennon of the Columban Fathers helped collect names and he said afterward “the deep sadness was palpable.  The faces of sorrow and pain are etched in my heart.  Tears welled in my eyes at the unspoken loss of loved ones to deportation.” Redemptorist Fr. Mike McAndrew preached about the need for us to support families of the deported and to work for reform of the U.S. immigration laws.  At the end of the Mass, the whole community asked God’s blessing on the deported and their families.  About 40 people stayed after Mass for a bilingual discussion about how the current law affects immigrants and what OTOC can do to work for reform of our nation’s immigration laws.  

3OTOC’s Immigration Action team has worked for three years to reduce the number of people who are detained in the county jail and eventually deported from Omaha.  They have met repeatedly with the Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer and his staff to discuss how local police can accept the Mexican “matricula consular” and other alternatives to driver’s licenses in order to appropriately identify immigrants who are stopped for traffic violations or other minor infractions.  OTOC leaders have also met regularly with members of Congress and organized prayer vigils to educate officials and the public about the need for the U.S. Congress to adopt comprehensive immigration reform. They now plan to organize workshops in local congregations.

Over 100 meet with Fast4Families leader on February 17

February 18th, 2014

6On February 17, OTOC leaders organized meetings at College of St. Mary and First United Methodist Church with D.J. Yoon of “Fast4Families,” a national campaign to draw attention to the plight of people who are deported and their families who remain.  Mr. Yoon was one of several people who fasted for over 20 days on the National Mall in November in order to protest the lack of action by our Congress.  Over 100 people attended these interactive sessions and over 70 committed to fast in some way during Lent to show solidarity with the deported and to ask God to change the hearts of legislators who refuse to take action on Immigration reform.

The Omaha World Herald wrote an article about the evening meeting and quoted a College of St. Mary student who said “she  is afraid to graduate from the College of St. Mary next year because she won’t be able to legally work in the country.” The article continued “[s]he has two majors and expects to receive a medical interpreter certificate. The only job I will be able to get involves picking corn or working at a fast food restaurant,” she said. “I pray that one day I will be allowed to work with the tools that I have been given, and I hope that one day I can help make this country a little bit better.”

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