Ozone: Little Steps, Big Impact


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You can’t see it usually, but the Omaha- Council Bluffs metro area has a problem with air quality, especially during the warmer spring and summer months. It is ground-level ozone.  Whether working, playing, or exercising outside, the quality of the air we breathe impacts the quality of life for our families, businesses, health and even future economic development.

Ozone can be both good and bad depending on where it is located. Ozone located six miles up in the second layer of the atmosphere helps protect us from harmful UV rays. Ozone at ground-level ozone is a pollutant that affects our health, especially people with heart and lung conditions.  Ozone forms when nitrogen oxides from fuel combustion combine with volatile organic compounds, such as fumes from gas and other solvents, and “cook” in the summer heat. Vehicle emissions are one of the leading creators of ground-level ozone.

On October 1, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued new air quality standards and tightened the ozone standard. The updated standard requires metropolitan areas to have ground-level ozone of no more than 70 parts per billion (ppb), a reduction from the previous standard of 75 ppb.

On an average hot day, like we’ve been experiencing lately, the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area is close to exceeding this new standard for ground-level ozone.  If the metro area would end up falling below federal air quality standards and being in “non-attainment,” it would bring stricter pollution controls such as increased car ownership costs, vehicle inspections, more industry regulation and increased paperwork and reporting for businesses.

The Metropolitan Area Planning Agency (MAPA) runs the Little Steps Big Impact campaign that aims to raise awareness about the ozone problem through education.

We all can be a part of the solution to reduce ground-level ozone by taking Little Steps which make a Big Impact.

  • You don’t have to give up your usual mode of transportation entirely. Drive smarter.  Carpool, combine errands, or use MetrO! Rideshare. Consider using alternative transportation by taking the bus, biking, or walking instead of driving by yourself in your car.
  • When refueling your vehicle, do it in the cooler parts of the day so fumes can disperse overnight and don’t fill up your tank past the click.
  • Choose cleaner-burning renewable biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel when fueling your vehicle. All vehicles can use E10. FlexFuel vehicles can use E10, E15, E30 and E85.
  • Avoid idling your vehicle. Even 30 seconds uses more fuel than stopping and starting the engine.
  • Go electric or manual with mowers, leaf blowers and trimmers if possible or use gas-powered lawn equipment during the cooler parts of the day. Gas-powered models release as much as 25% unburned gasoline in the air.
  • Keep lids tightly on paints and solvents.

By considering the consequences and taking small steps, together we will make a big difference in air quality.  This means having a real impact on adult and child respiratory issues, which can reduce health costs.

Consider these facts.  Reducing 1,000 vehicles per day on the metropolitan area’s streets and highways would eliminate 255 pounds of carbon monoxide, 35 pounds of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and 5.7 tons of carbon dioxide.

Remember: Ozone is good up high, bad nearby.

Just because you can’t see ground-level ozone doesn’t mean it isn’t there.  As stewards of our quality of life we each need to do what we can to help.

Check out our websites at www.littlestepsbigimpact.com or at www.omahacommuterchallenge.org for more information and ways you can help improve our region’s air quality.

“Like” us on Facebook at Omaha-Council Bluffs Metropolitan Area Planning Agency or follow us on Twitter (@mapacog) to get regular updates about the air quality in our region.

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South Omaha Banquet – June 2, 2016


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Now is the time to purchase your tickets for the upcoming South Omaha Banquet!


We hope that you will join us for our South Omaha Banquet on Thursday, June 2, 2016. Tickets are available for purchase online. Individual tickets $50/each; Tables $400/each

Buy tickets now.

At the South Omaha Banquet, we will recognize the outstanding efforts of individuals and organizations who are making a difference in our community. We will also present scholarships to 4 South Omaha youth.

This is SONA’s major fundraiser for the year and helps to support the neighborhood mini-grant program, capacity-building, and promoting positive perceptions of our community.

For more information about the event, please visit: South Omaha Banquet

Part-Time Summer Youth/Adult Internship Opportunity at City Sprout South


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Are you passionate about your community? Do you like gardening? Have special skills like social media, teaching, Spanish-language skills? Need a job for the summer to allows you to do all of this right here in the community…11427410_843861972367546_7123561299505273070_o (1)Then check out the paid adult and youth internship opportunities available at City Sprouts South, the new South Omaha community garden.

Internship Application (English)

Internship Application (Spanish)

If you have any questions about the position, please contact Deibi Sibrian, Garden Manager, at (402) 359-0533 or citysproutssouth@gmail.com.

Seeking Nominations for 2016 SONA Awards


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JHSC.NominateDo you have any outstanding South Omaha neighborhood/community leaders or organizations that you would like to nominate for a SONA award?

If so, now is the time! Please send the name and contact information of your nominee as well as a brief statement explaining how their work has benefited South Omaha and why they deserve this recognition to sonaomahainfo@gmail.com.

SONA Awards will be presented at the South Omaha Banquet on June 2, 2016.

Deer Park Initiative


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The first Deer Park Community Partners meeting will be held Wednesday, March 16th, from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. at the Apollon Art Space, 1801 Vinton St.

Community Partners are organizations currently working in the Deer Park Neighborhood or that might consider working in it given that the City and perhaps other organizations will be focusing their efforts there. The Deer Park Redevelopment Area is identified in the map below.

DeerPark11x17 - Dec_9_2014

At this meeting we will focus on two things:

  1. Oscar Duran, president of the Deer Park Neighborhood Association, will visit with us about the Deer Park neighborhood. Both Oscar and the neighborhood association have long been committed to the neighborhood and our hope is that we can assist them with our efforts. (See, for example, the Deer Park Neighborhood Association website: http://deerparkomaha.blogspot.com.)
  2. We will review what has been done to date with the Deer Park Initiative and then discuss possible next steps.

Please do attend, if your schedule permits. And please invite representatives of other organizations if you think they would be interested. If you have any questions, please contact David Thomas, (402) 444-5150 x. 2008.

South Omaha Library looking for a library specialist

I’d love it if you help us get the word out about a great job opportunity here at the South Omaha Library.  I am attaching a complete job description.

We’re looking to hire a “Library Specialist”, which is a paraprofessional position that will focus on serving serving teens and tweens through a variety of activities here at the South Omaha Library.   We’re adding an additional staff person to our Youth Services department because we’ve identified that we need to offer more consistent positive engagement and mentorship for our South Omaha youth, especially at-risk teens and tweens.

The opening is a part-time, 20 hrs per week position, paying $18.12 per hour and is a busy, fun & dynamic place to work. 

To get started, go to www.cityofomaha.org and click on the  “Employment” button on the right hand side.  You’ll then want to click on “Current Openings” and go from there.   Please feel free to call me with any questions about the position.  

Library Specialist position