Democracy is not a
spectator sport


OPPD Decision on Energy closely tracks OTOC’s statement of position

June 19th, 2014

Leaders after Board MeetingTo see a copy of the OPPD 20 year generation plan adopted by the Board, click below:

Final OPPD Generation Plan June 2014

OTOC leaders celebrated the decision made by the Omaha Public Power District Board (OPPD) at their June 19th meeting to stop burning coal in North Omaha and commit the region’s energy future to increasing sustainable energy sources  and increasing efficiency and conservation in order to reduce overall demand.  

OTOC leaders were not satisfied with any of the 5 generation options that were presented to the OPPD Board in May. The World Herald wrote on June 9, ”

Laurie Gift, chairwoman of an environment-focused committee for Omaha Together One Community, doesn’t like that each scenario shows the proportion of renewable energy shrinking from one-third in 2018 to about one-fifth by 2033.Read More . . .

Download and circulate OTOC endorsement for more Sustainable Energy

June 12th, 2014

Leaders of OTOC’s Environmental Sustainability Action Team ASK that you download the pdf file below of our Statement to the OPPD Board and ask for people to sign it to express their support for the long term sustainability of our environment, economy and families.


You can also invite family and friends to sign the online version of this statement by copying and sending out this link in an e-mail:

June 9 OWH article: OTOC wants OPPD commitment to renewable energy

June 9th, 2014

June 9 article by the Omaha World Herald quoting Action Team Co-Chair Laurie Gift:

Omaha Public Power District begins to map plan for powering next 20 years

By Cody Winchester / World-Herald staff writer, June 9, 2014

The Omaha Public Power District is nearing some multimillion-dollar decisions that will alter how it produces power. The district estimates that over the next 20 years it will spend from $8.9 billion to $9.5 billion to generate power, including hundreds of millions of dollars to comply with new federal clean-air rules — including proposed limits on carbon dioxide emissions — and to satisfy customer demand for clean power and energy-efficiency programs.

OPPD has released five scenarios for achieving these goals through a mix of retrofitting coal plants with new emissions controls; refueling them with natural gas; retiring coal-fired units and opening a new gas plant; developing solar resources; and reducing demand through energy-efficiency programs.Read More . . .

Learn how to teach about Wellness in Nebraska and OPPD Energy mix on June 14

June 9th, 2014

Come to an informative training this Saturday, June 14th from 1:00 to 3:00 PM at Augustana Lutheran Church (3647 Lafayette Ave–2 blocks north of Cuming)

Primary Trainer on WIN: Mark Intermill, Executive Director, AARP-Nebraska
AARP-Nebraska is a lead organization on this issue and Mark is one of the most informed people in the State.  Half of the AARP’s members are between 50-65. They are finding it very hard to find full-time work with benefits. Mark has made scores of similar presentations and will be bringing us professional material to use in any presentation we might make at our congregations and organizations.
Here is a sample of Mark at work:
and for more go to
We will be targeting our presentations to OTOC member and affiliate organizations but once you are trained you can  reach out to anyone willing to listen.
Environmental Sustainability
We will also have representatives of the OTOC Environmental Action team with us and they will share information about the critical decisions OPPD will be making in the next few months about how they generate electricity. See the June 9 World Herald article  “Omaha Public Power District begins to map plan for powering next 20 years”  for more information about this critical decision and  the focus of OTOC’s work on this issue:
How you can use this training 
You can choose to participate in one or both of the training sessions  on Saturday, June 14th and you can choose to organize either or both of these sessions for your congregation or organization.
Once we have the trainers in place for both WIN & Environment we will see who has natural relationships with our member and other community organizations and begin scheduling training sessions this Summer and Fall.  Please contact thet OTOC office or  Mark Hoeger at for any questions you might have.


OTOC Leaders proposed 4 Energy Goals to OPPD Board

May 15th, 2014

Fifteen OTOC leaders attended the May 15 OPPD Board meeting and presented OTOC’s response to 5 proposed “Resource Options” that OPPD staff has developed for the Board to consider. The OPPD Board will be making a decision this summer about what types of fuel OPPD will use to generate electricity for this region.  OTOC leaders Elaine Wells, Jeanne Schuler, Mary Spurgeon and Laurie Gift presented the following 4 Goals and Testimony to the Board.

Members of the OPPD Board:

Omaha Together One Community (OTOC) is grateful for the opportunity to express to you both our appreciation and our concerns. Many of us have participated in the Stakeholders’ Process at open houses or via the online survey. OTOC is a coalition of 25 congregations, religious communities and other organizations which work together to improve living and working conditions for all residents of the metro area. Recently many Omaha area residents have joined together to promote environmental sustainability. Our faith traditions urge us to be good stewards of creation, and to speak up for the common good of all our neighbors and even future generations.Read More . . .

OTOC Refugee Support Co-Chair Christine Ross recognized for her work

May 12th, 2014

South Sudanese woman worked to end isolation

By Shelby Wade of Mosaic of Lincoln
From the moment she steps up to the podium in her traditional royal blue South Sudanese lawo, Christine Ross is all smiles. Then, for a moment, the smile disappears as Ross begins her introductory remarks for Omaha’s International Women’s Day event. “When refugees came here, they did not hear nor see any celebration for Women’s Day,” Ross said. “They requested to organize a celebration on Women’s Day, but they did not want to do it alone. And here we are.”

The smile reappears as Ross passes the microphone to Omaha’s first female mayor, Jean Stothert. Throughout the rest of the event, Ross never pauses to sit down. She is continuously on the move, weaving through the crowd, talking to everyone she meets. A smile never leaves her face as she continues to shake hands and give hugs to everyone she meets. Ross thought up the idea for an International Women’s Day event in Omaha, Neb. She is a passionate supporter of women’s rights and wanted to bring the idea of International Women’s Day to Nebraska.  “There’s so many international women in Omaha,” Ross said. “We want to tell them to come out of their house to learn more.”Read More . . .

OTOC to Hold Introduction to Organizing onTues May 13th at 7:00 pm

April 28th, 2014

Do you want to learn how to engage others in creating positive changes for your congregation, community, school or organization? Omaha Together One Community (OTOC) will hold a workshop to introduce the basic practices of organizing on Tuesday, May 13 at 7:00 p.m. at St. Pius X Catholic Church Parish Center (69th and Blondo).  Find out how you can build a more relational culture so your members can work together for the common good of your organization and community.

The  Overview of Broad Base Community Organizing  will focus on how congregations and community organizations can work together to improve the quality of life for families in our communities.  Learn more about: Building a relational culture within our organizations; Learning to listen for issues of common concern; Developing the ability to act together for the common good; Creating a culture of participation and problem solving vs. a culture of passivity and learned helplessness; Developing an agenda of issues for working together to improve our communities.

For more information about this workshop, call the OTOC office at 402-344-4401 or e-mail us at   To learn more about our work, go to our OTOC website at

Over 150 attend 8 workshops at OTOC Issues Conference

April 19th, 2014

On February 22nd, over 150 congregation and community leaders attended eight different workshops organized by teams of OTOC leaders on topics affecting Omaha families. The topics for the workshops emerged out of hundreds of individual meetings OTOC leaders held in 2013. Each of the interactive workshops at the Issues Conference identified current concerns of the participants and generated a group of people who are now doing research actions to find solutions to the issues they discussed that day. To learn more about the current focus and a contact person for each of these action teams, go to the Issues tab on the OTOC homepage. To find out when the action teams meet next, to the Calendar tab on the home page. The eight OTOC Action Teams are:

– Improving Public Education

– Mental Health

– “Death & Taxes” or Medicaid Expansion and State Tax Policy

– Environmental Sustainability

– Immigration Reform

– Housing Revitalization

– Workforce Development

– Refugee Support

Photos from OTOC Issues Conference

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.

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