Kelly: Omaha is tops in U.S. for least financial stress - Omaha.com
Published Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 1:30 am / Updated at 3:14 pm
Kelly: Omaha is tops in U.S. for least financial stress

Omaha again leads the nation, with the least financial stress on households in 77 metropolitan areas.

Credability, an Atlanta-based nonprofit credit counseling agency, rated the Omaha-Council Bluffs metro No. 1 for the first quarter of 2013. The agency's Consumer Distress Index is a measure of employment, housing, credit, net worth and how families manage household budgets.

A score of under 70 indicates financial distress. The national index for the first quarter was 70.73, down from the 71.77 in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Omaha's score of 80.5 was the only one in the 80s, and an improvement from its 80.3 in the previous quarter.

A sampling of other metros: Minneapolis, 78.3; Oklahoma City, 75.5; Denver, 74.6; Kansas City, 73.4; Cincinnati, 69.8; St. Louis, 68.9.

Omaha scored especially well for its low unemployment rate, affordable housing and solid household credit.

Ride for Rescue: Thunder in the Bluffs hopes to set a Guinness world record next Saturday, with as many as 2,000 ATVs and other off-road vehicles riding through several southwest Iowa towns.

DJ Ginsberg of the Omaha-based United States ATV Search and Rescue said the group has received special permits for riders to drive through the towns of Pacific Junction, Tabor, Bartlett and Thurman and into the Loess Hills on the 52-mile ride.

The event starts at 7:30 a.m. at the Mid-America Motorplex in Glenwood. The fundraiser for the search and rescue group has been advertised in national ATV publications and is drawing a lot of attention.

The record for ATVs and similar vehicles in procession, DJ said, is 1,760. Riders next Saturday will drive mainly on dirt roads but will be allowed on pavement when entering towns. The circuit loops back to the Motorplex for competitive mud bogs, an ATV rodeo and more.

The sponsoring group assists with searches and rescues in a 400-mile radius of Omaha. DJ said it has a boat with sonar equipment and a dive team, as well as a drone to search from above. For more information, go to www.rideforrescue.org.

DJ hopes the event one day reminds people of the annual event in Sturgis, S.D.

“What Sturgis is for motorcycles,” he said, “we hope Thunder becomes for ATVs.”

Capitol Steps, the Washington, D.C.-based political satirists, wowed an audience of about 600 last Saturday at the Child Saving Institute banquet.

To the tune of “Greased Lightning,” a performer portraying German Chancellor Angela Merkel led the troupe in “Greece is Frightening.”

A cast member dressed as Pope Francis sang “Don't cry, I'm from Argentina.” He was elected because “I got all the Hispanic votes.”

Another portrayed an aging Mick Jagger, singing, “Hey, you, get off of my lawn.”

And an impersonator of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie walked on stage wearing a fleece sweater. He got a big laugh by saying gruffly: “Shut up.”

Capitol Steps, started in 1981 by Senate staffers singing parodies at an office Christmas party, lists a cast of 31 members who perform in the nation's capital and around the country. Five performed Saturday at the Embassy Suites La Vista.

In July 2009, former TV news reporter Jim Fagin of Omaha endured severe stomach pain that turned out to be pancreatic cancer.

This week at the luncheon of the Nebraska Coalition for Lifesaving Cures, he noted that most patients diagnosed with that disease don't live as long as he has.

“I beat the odds,” he told an audience at the Happy Hollow Club. “What your group here is about is helping other people beat the odds, just as I did. Now, I'm not cured, but physicians at UNMC gave me three-plus years of quality life that I wouldn't have had without the life-saving treatment there.”

Jim, also a former radio talk-show host and an aide to then-U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson, said he was originally told he might have to go to the Mayo Clinic. He paid tribute to the University of Nebraska Medical Center, saying: “I found 'Mayo on the Missouri' right here in Omaha, Neb.”

At the luncheon, the coalition honored John and Lynne Boyer of Omaha for their support of biomedical research, including human embryonic stem cell research.

Whether you call it a string bass, a contra bass, a double bass or a bull fiddle, you can see what amounts to a bass forest — about 24 of them in concert.

It's the 20th annual Spring Bass Bash Recital, organized by Omaha Symphony bass player Bill Ritchie. Professionals and students will play at 7 p.m. Monday at the Presbyterian Church of the Cross, 1517 S. 114th St. Admission is free.

A string bass looks like a giant violin, but Bill said it's not really a member of the violin family. His bass weighs 23 pounds and stands about 6 feet high, though he said there is no standard weight and height.

Seven bass players are part of the symphony's classical concert this weekend at the Holland Performing Arts Center, and Bill calls the venue a wonderful gift to Omaha, “a world-class concert hall.”

Monday night's concert at the church, conducted by his wife, symphony cellist Patty Ritchie, will include the world premiere of Britisher John Alexander's “Prayer for Clear Weather,” variations on an Omaha Indian melody. As well as Henry Mancini's “Baby Elephant Walk.”

Tom Osborne, who has visited Haiti, will speak at a June 3 event in Omaha to raise money to help build a school there.

The 6 p.m. dinner ($150) and auction is at St. John Vianney Church Hall, 5801 Oak Hills Drive. Estimates are that it will cost $40,000 to build the Flower of Hope School and outfit it with furniture and learning materials.

Michael Downey of Omaha, one of the organizers, said he and Win Lander traveled to Haiti the past two years and helped build composting toilets. With Jim Goedert of Omaha, they decided on a bigger project.

Because construction materials in Haiti are weak, Mike said, they plan to help the Maison Fortune Orphanage develop its trade school and produce stronger building blocks. The plan is to purchase and ship a block press, a concrete mixer and a welding machine, estimated to cost $10,000.

For more information about the event with Osborne, the former Nebraska football coach and athletic director, go to www.flower-of-hope.com.

Contact the writer: 402-444-1132, michael.kelly@owh.com

Contact the writer: Michael Kelly

mike.kelly@owh.com    |   402-444-1000

Mike writes three columns a week on a variety of topics.

State Department moves to delay Keystone XL pipeline decision
Omahan charged in fatal shooting in Benson neighborhood
Friday's attendance dips at Millard West after bathroom threat
High school slam poets don't just recite verses, 'they leave their hearts beating on the stage'
Crack ring's leaders join others in prison as a result of Operation Purple Haze
High court denies death row appeal of cult leader convicted of murder
Haze in area comes from Kansas, Oklahoma
Man taken into custody in domestic dispute
Omaha judge reprimanded for intervening in peer attorney's DUI case
Intoxicated man with pellet gun climbs billboard's scaffold; is arrested
Police seek public's help in finding an armed man
Saturday forecast opens window for gardening; Easter egg hunts look iffy on Sunday
Database: How much did Medicare pay your doctor?
Last day of 2014 Legislature: Praise, passage of a last few bills and more on mountain lions
New public employee pay data: Douglas, Lancaster, Sarpy Counties, plus utilities
A voice of experience: Ex-gang member helps lead fight against Omaha violence
Church is pressing its case for old Temple Israel site
OPPD board holding public forum, open house May 7
The thrill of the skill: Omaha hosts statewide contest for students of the trades
A recap of what got done — and what didn't — in the 2014 legislative session
When judge asks, Nikko Jenkins says ‘I killed them’
Nancy's Almanac, April 17, 2014: Trees save money
'The war is not over,' Chambers says, but legislative session about is
PAC funded by Senate candidate Ben Sasse's great-uncle releases Shane Osborn attack ad
Teen killed at Gallagher Park was shot in head as he sat in SUV, friend who was wounded says
< >
COLUMNISTS »
Breaking Brad: Stuck in a claw machine? You get no Easter candy
I know of one kid in Lincoln who will be receiving a lump of coal from the Easter Bunny, just as soon as he's extricated from that bowling alley claw machine.
Breaking Brad: Mountain lion season's over, but the bunny's fair game!
Thursday was the last day of a Nebraska Legislature session. Before leaving town, legislators passed a bill to hold a lottery to hunt the Easter Bunny.
Breaking Brad: At least my kid never got stuck inside a claw machine
We need a new rule in Lincoln. If your kid is discovered inside the claw machine at a bowling alley, you are forever barred from being nominated for "Mother of the Year."
Breaking Brad: How many MECA board members can we put in a luxury suite?
As a stunt at the Blue Man Group show, MECA board members are going to see how many people they can stuff into one luxury suite.
Kelly: Creighton's McDermotts put good faces on an Omaha tradition
A comical roast Wednesday night in Omaha brought fans of Creighton basketball laughter by the bucketful. This time it was McJokes, not McBuckets, that entertained the Bluejay crowd.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
The Jaipur in Rockbrook Village
Half Off Fine Indian Cuisine & Drinks! $15 for Dinner, or $7 for Lunch
Buy Now
PHOTO GALLERIES »
< >
SPOTLIGHT »
Omaha World-Herald Contests
Enter for a chance to win great prizes.
OWH Store: Buy photos, books and articles
Buy photos, books and articles
Travel Snaps Photo
Going on Vacation? Take the Omaha World-Herald with you and you could the next Travel Snaps winner.
Click here to donate to Goodfellows
The 2011 Goodfellows fund drive provided holiday meals to nearly 5,000 families and their children, and raised more than $500,000 to help families in crisis year round.
WORLD-HERALD ALERTS »
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for Omaha.com's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »