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Archive for December, 2015

Over 230 people attended January Issue Cafes and Mexican Bingo Night at Urban Abbey

December 19th, 2015

Over 230 people have attended the five OTOC Issue Cafes about  the Death Penalty Referendum, OPPD and our Energy Future, Housing, the Crisis of Central American Refugees, the EPA Clean Power Plan and our fun evening of Mexican Bingo.  To find a full listing of all the sessions, click on the document below:

OTOC Issues Cafe Jan 2016

Issue Cafe Announcements for Jan 2016

OTOC is Urban Abbey’s community partner in January, 2016!! UA will contribute 10% of everything you buy from the coffee counter and 50% of every bag of coffee you buy during January to OTOC to support our work. Learn more about OTOC’s work on vital issues and help OTOC prepare for 2016 by coming to these lively discussions:

Thur. Jan. 28 at 7:00 p.m.The EPA Clean Power Plan Environmental Bills in the Nebraska Legislature–20 attended

Duane Havorka at UA

Duane Hovorka of the Nebraska Wildlife Federation lead an engaging workshop and discussion about the requirements of the the EPA Clean Power Plan that

Nebraska will have to meet by 2019. The audience had many questions but came away with a good understanding of how important this plan is to the future environmental sustainability of our state. Leaders also talked about several key bills that are pending in the Nebraska Unicameral, including LB 802 which would create a Sustainability Task Force to examine how to help our state adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change.



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OTOC sought to improve OPPD rate restructuring proposal

December 18th, 2015
Who are the winners and losers chart Revised

CLICK ON GRAPH TO EXPAND: Households using 200 kWh/mo to 700 kWh/mo will spend between $178 and $41 more per year for the same amount of energy (left side). Households using 1000 kWh to 2000 kWh/mo will pay between $40 and $274 less per year for the same amount of electricity (right side).

OTOC leaders worked hard to convince  the OPPD Board take their time and  look at viable alternatives to raising fixed fees by 200%. Despite the thoughtful pleas of over 200 OTOC leaders and hundreds more from other community organizations, the OPPD Board  voted 6-2   to adopt the staff’s proposed restructuring. Board members Tom Barrett and Tim Gay voted against the proposal. OTOC thanks them for listening to their communities.
Fr Mike

Fr. Mike Eckley spoke on behalf of OTOC at a Dec 15 press conference in front of OPPD. Fr. Mike expressed OTOC’s concern that increasing fixed fees will result in many low income, fixed income families experiencing more difficulty paying their bills.

Prior to the vote,  OTOC asked the OPPD Board and Staff to answer several questions that remain unanswered.
Please ask your board member and OPPD senior staff to  provide answers to our community. To see the questions OTOC asked, click on the link below:
OTOC held workshops on November 9 and December 10 that were attended by over 200 people who expressed concern to OPPD and asked for them to delay action and  look at alternatives.  OPPD Board members  Tom Barret, John Green and Anne McGuire and OPPD CEO Tim Burke attended the December 10 meeting. Mr. Barrett sought a delay but was unable to win approval. Mr. Barrett and Board member Tim  Gay, who met with OTOC leaders over the weekend,  voted against the proposal.
For more information about OPPD’s proposal and alternative ways for OPPD to secure their financial future, see the Issue Brief prepared at OTOC’s request:

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Come to Dec 14 Gathering to Learn about how and why Refugees Resettle to Omaha

December 11th, 2015
large group from closer in

300 people attended prayer vigil for refugees

Leaders lighting CandlesJoin OTOC to meet with leaders of Omaha’s refugee resettlement agencies on Monday, December 14 at 7:00 p.m. in the Hall at Augustana Lutheran Church (3647 Lafayette Ave). Learn why and how refugees are resettled to the US and the security screening that takes place. Learn from which countries refugees are coming to Omaha and Nebraska and meet members of those communities.

150 people attend OTOC Meeting about Alternatives to OPPD Fixed Fee Increase

December 1st, 2015

OTOC leaders used a clear and concise Issue Brief on Alternatives to OPPD’s rate restructuring. Click on the link below to see that document.

Alternative Rate Options for OPPD FINAL Dec102015

Over 150 concerned citizens and customers of OPPD came to an informative OTOC  community meeting on December 10 to learn about viable alternatives to OPPD’s proposed increase in fixed fees from $10.25 to $35 per month.  OPPD CEO Tim Burke and VP Lisa Olson participated in the meeting while  Board Chair Anne McGuire along with Board members John Greene and Tom Barrett listened from the audience. The OPPD contingent stayed long after the meeting to talk with community leaders who wished to engage them.front with crowd

OTOC organized a panel of community  leaders and energy experts to discuss with the audience and OPPD Board members our concerns about OPPD’s proposed rate restructuring. Local energy experts Kay Carne and David Holtzclaw along with OTOC leaders Alan Vovolka and Cindy Johnson formed a panel that articulated  OTOC’s critique of the proposed plan, specified numerous alternatives that the Board could adopt and ask the Board to delay action for at least 3 months so they can investigate the many alternatives to raising fixed fees.

Environmental Action Team Chair Laurie Gift chaired the tightly organized meeting with the help of Mary Ruth Stegman. At the end of the meeting, Laurie asked the audience if they wanted OPPD to delay acting on the proposal for at least three months to consider other alternatives. Every arm in the room shot up. Laurie then asked CEO Burke if he would commit to letting the Board know that OTOC is asking OPPD to delay action and he observed that the Board Chair and members would undoubtedly let the other Board members know this. With a little prodding he indicated he too would convey OTOC’s position to the Board.

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