Land Bank a Common Sense,
Consensus Solution to Vacant
Property Problem in Omaha

Editor’s Note: This response to a June 9, 2014, op-ed piece by John Chatelain, president of the Metropolitan Omaha Property Owners Association, is written by Nebraska State Senator Heath Mello, who sponsored the bill to create a Nebraska land bank. In his commentary, Chatelain questioned whether the creation of a land bank was just another layer of government with a “serious, unfair advantage over the private property investor.”
By State Senator Heath Mello
A recent commentary in The Daily Record by John Chatelain (“Are Liberty and Private Property Rights Old Fashioned?,” 6/9/14) gave the impression that the proposed land bank ordinance in the City of Omaha was somehow an affront to private property rights and would interfere with private sector businesses. Unfortunately, Mr. Chatelain’s criticisms appear to be based off a fundamental misunderstanding of what a land bank is and what it is designed to do.
With more than 770 houses on the demolition list and more than 3,600 deemed “unfit and unsafe,” the City of Omaha’s vacant and abandoned property problems are well documented.

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Read John Chatelain's Commentary here

Judge Aims to Establish
Veterans Court in Iowa

By Nick Hytrek
Sioux City, Iowa (AP) – District Judge Jeffrey Poulson knows that military veterans, many having served multiple tours of duty in recent wars, are entering Woodbury County’s courtrooms in trouble.
They fought for their country in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now some are fighting drug and alcohol addictions and mental health problems here at home and committing crimes.
“They come back broken, and we’re starting to see them in our court system,” Poulson said.
The Sioux City Journal reports Poulson is leading the effort to establish a Veterans Treatment Court in Woodbury County, a program that would get veterans of any age who commit crimes in Woodbury County needed help and, he hopes, keep them out of jail. It would be the first such court in Iowa. Poulson hopes it’s operational by Jan. 1.
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                                                                                     – Photo by Lorraine Boyd
From left: Scholarship winners Fernando Gomez, Lorena Salas, Yessica Aleman and Daisy Beltran are congratulated by Ross Pesek, creator of the “True Potential” award. Jackeline Lopez could not be present.                      
Scholars Recognized at Mexican Consulate
Never let it be said that one person can’t make a difference. Ross Pesek, a young attorney at Dornan, Lustgarten and Troia, saw a need and set out to fill it. Knowing the value of scholarships – he was a recipient that paid both his undergraduate and law school tuition – he knew that young immigrants who received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA or “Dream Act”) were not eligible for any public benefits, including federal financial aid and many scholarships, to help them through school. So he created the True Potential Scholarship.

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Attorney Eileen Hansen is spirited as she discusses her life and career at The Daily Record offices.
An Extraordinary Woman:
                An Extraordinary Life

By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record

The blonde hair may be turning silver, but the woman who sports those long tresses is as young as they come, in mind and spirit.
You may have seen her in the Douglas County Courthouse, smartly dressed and walking purposefully toward a courtroom where she will fight for someone’s right to be appointed a guardian who will serve them well.
Although many of her clients are undoubtedly younger than she, she is nowhere close to needing a guardian or conservator – nor, most likely, will she ever be.
Without admitting her age, Eileen Hansen gives us hints that she is fast approaching her tenth decade. But apparently that is just a chronological age. Her actions put her in her prime years of productivity.
She laughed as she told a recent story: “A gentleman at the courthouse was always asking to see my driver’s license (which is still valid). One day we were in the judge’s chambers and he said, ‘Eileen, how old are you?’ I replied, ‘Old enough to be your older sister.’”
What shaped this dynamo of a lawyer?

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On a clear day the view can be picturesque, 360 degrees – especially if you are in a WWII B-17 bomber.                        – Photos by Lorraine Boyd
Take Advantage of a Rare Opportunity
To Relive the Experience of WWII Pilots

By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record

• First, there’s the noise. Deafening, earplugs-advised noise. A low growl that builds slowly, but surely. Then a sound like a wet towel slapping a board.
• The odor of gasoline tickles the nose, then grows stronger, until you imagine you can taste it in your mouth.
• A vibration from below becomes a rumble, then a vigorous shaking. The powerful roar from underfoot begins to propel you forward.
• Next, seemingly inexplicably, you feel the wind. It grows stronger until it pulls your hair straight up and threatens to strip your glasses off your face.
• Then, there it is, the whole metropolitan area spread out before your eyes – like you’ve never seen it before – as you soar above it.

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For more information, visit www.liberty


Receptionist/Assistant wanted for small central Omaha law firm. Must be comfortable with clients on the phone and in person. Our firm uses Microsoft Office and Outlook. A familiarity with cloud based office management system a plus. Please send resume to:
7-21-to 7-25-14

Susan Henricks is ICAN’s newest president and CEO, but she’s not new to the organization, having spent the past two years on the board of directors.
ICAN Message ‘All About Understanding
Yourself, So You Can Be a Better Leader’

By Elizabeth Elliott
The Daily Record

Susan Henricks has brought her extensive experience in leading large, well-known  companies to bear as the new president and CEO of the Institute for Career Advancement Needs (ICAN). She is no novice to the organization though, having served on the board of directors since 2012.
She recently shared her thoughts on becoming ICAN’s newest leader.
“Probably the most exciting thing for me is that throughout my career I have always been very passionate about developing leaders and preparing people for additional opportunities in business,” she said. “In working at a number of different corporations both here and in Chicago, I’ve always been a big proponent of using leadership development programs.
“This opportunity at ICAN gives me the chance to create and deliver leadership development programs that help people to grow within their respective businesses,” she added.

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For more information regarding the Institute for Career Advancement Needs, please visit

Laurie Wolford shifted careers in 2008, trading her work as a lawyer for the reins of the popular wine and spirits store.
Moving to Aksarben Village
Spirits Are High For Spirit World’s Future

By Julien R. Fielding
The Daily Record

Laurie Wolford has found her passion.
Some years ago, the former business attorney developed an interest in food and wine, and as that interest grew, she happened upon an opportunity. “It just sort of fell into my lap,” she said.

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For more information about Spirit World, go to

As owner of Great Plains Realty-Auction Co., Randy Fleming is carrying on the Fleming family tradition. His father Dean and two partners founded the company in 1964.
From Big to Small
Great Plains Realty-Auction Sells It All

Julien R. Fielding
The Daily Record

The name Fleming has become synonymous with auctioneering. Inducted into the National Auctioneers Association, Dean W. Fleming, CAI, worked in the industry for 43 years, before he passed away in 1996. A graduate of Iowa State, he was the former owner of and instructor at the Nebraska Auction School, and held a variety of leadership positions, including President of the Nebraska and National Auctioneers Association.

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For more information about the Springfield-based Great Plains Realty-Auction Co., go to or call Randy at 402-210-4885.

ADR Adds Morris to Neutral Roster
Affirmative Dispute Resolution recently announced the addition of  attorney William J. Morris to its ADR neutral roster to as sist with arbitration in Nebraska. Morris has been engaged in a full-time civil law practice since 1976 and has been an arbitrator and hearing officer for over 15 years. He received his law degree from the Valparaiso University School of Law and his undergraduate degree in English literature from Bethany College. As a commercial arbitrator, Morris is available to assist with arbitrating a variety of disputes, including health care, personal injury, business, contract, employment, real estate and other matters.
For more information regarding Affirmative Dispute Resolution, please go to their website at

ABA Launches New International
Criminal Legal Access Website
The American Bar Association International Criminal Court Project recently launched a new and comprehensive website to coincide with International Criminal Justice Day. The goal of the site is to provide information and resources for government officials, diplomats and reporters that shape international affairs policy, comment or report about international crimes and conflicts.
The new website is an interactive resource that educates visitors about the International Criminal Court, which is the world’s only permanent tribunal with a mandate to investigate and prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The website will provide information about the ICC’s jurisdiction, judicial process, constituent organizations and States Parties, as well as the evolution of relations between the United States and the ICC.
In partnership with Stanford Law School, the new website will offer an online periodical called International Criminal Justice Today, which will aggregate news stories on current events in the field, and feature regular polling data from Ipsos market research on American opinions on the ICC. International Criminal Justice Today also will feature “Arguendo,” a virtual roundtable forum where experts from different fields discuss and debate pressing international criminal justice issues.
The ABA Center for Human Rights addresses critical human rights issues and develops policy, projects and educational initiatives to advance human rights both nationally and internationally. The ICC Project is a program established by the ABA Center for Human Rights.
For more information regarding the American Bar Association, please visit their website at

Fitzgerald Schorr Welcomes
Hohman and Watson
Fitzgerald, Schorr, Barmettler & Brennan recently announced that David M. Hohman and Kelli J. Watson have joined the firm.  Both Hohman and Watson have extensive experience in their respective legal practice areas and are well known in the Omaha legal communities.
Hohman is a graduate of Stanford University and the University of Nebraska Law School, cum laude, and practices in the areas of corporate and business law, mergers and acquisitions, business
start-ups and real estate law.

Watson received her degrees in business administration and in law from the University of Nebraska, with distinction. She concentrates her practice in the areas of estate planning and administration, guardianships and conservatorships, business planning and real estate, also representing trustees and personal representatives.  
Both Hohman and Watson are active members of the Nebraska State Bar Association, regular presenters at legal seminars and active in leadership roles in community organizations.
For more information regarding Fitzgerald Schorr, please visit the firm’s website at

 Here are some of our recent articles. Click on "Click here" to access the entire article.

NePA’ s “Legal Beagles”
Race to the Top in Relay for Life
The Nebraska Paralegal Association (NePA) recently participated in this year’s American Cancer Society Relay for Life with their team, the Legal Beagles. The team included six NePA members and three family members. The theme for this year’s event was “Superheroes.”  The Legal Beagles were awarded the trophy for the Top Business Fundraising Team, raising  $3,330.15.  The relay event culminated with a sunset luminary ceremony, honoring the memory of those who have died from cancer.
– Photo By Lorraine Boyd
Decades of Service Represented
An annual tradition – the Omaha Bar Association President’s Reception – was held at Brix in Midtown June 19. Hosted by the outgoing president, the party unites the new and old board of directors and former presidents. Stu Dornan passed the gavel to incoming president Doug Law. Here are 15 former presidents along with the current president (front left): Front Row: Doug Law, Hon. Dan Morris, Amy Longo, Wayne Mark, Denise Hill, Clayton Byam, Frank Matthews and Woody Bradford. Back Row: Steve Bruckner, J. Scott Paul, Dave Houghton, Hon. Bill Riley, Jerry Friedrichsen, Stu Dornan, J. Terry Macnamara and Bill Birkel.


–  Photo by Lorraine Boyd
From left, Angela, mother of two, including a son born drug-free while she was in the program; Sarah, who has three children; and Nicole (far right), who also has three children, including a drug-free baby, pose for a graduation picture with Judge Liz Crnkovich.   
Three Moms Graduate,
But Many More Benefit
Douglas County Family Drug Court seeks to reunite families torn apart by drug and alcohol abuse and realize the birth of healthy, drug-free babies. The court celebrated success – times three! – on July 1. Juvenile Court Judge Liz Crnkovich held the graduation ceremony in the Jury Assembly Room, welcoming the three young mothers, their children and families, friends and current Family Drug Court participants. Judge Crnkovich noted the physical as well as behavioral changes that all three had undergone. “You all look so healthy, and you’re glowing with happiness,” she said. Wanting to continue the support and camaraderie “Team C” had achieved, Sarah – “with others,” she insisted – started an alumni group that meets regularly, sometimes to exercise, sometimes to just to talk.  Members of other teams are welcome. The ceremony wrapped up with pizza and cupcakes for all.

– Photo by
Scott Farkas and his wife, Mimi Rogers, say Valpak offers a “360-degree suite of results” to their clients.                                      July Small Business Award
Valpak’s Business Packed With Services
To Market Your Business Across Media

By Dan McCann

The Daily Record
“We get up every morning and focus on doing what we need to do to help others.”
It is that approach to customer service that has earned Scott Farkas and his wife, Mimi Rogers, along with their team at Valpak of Omaha, honors as the Greater Omaha Chamber’s Small Business of the month for July.

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Visit Valpak at

In this file photo, Joe Dreesen of Jackson Lewis P.C. confers with Jean McNeil, NSBA’s director of legal services, at the Self Help Desk where he volunteers regularly. His firm’s attorneys are expected to volunteer at least 50 pro bono hours per year.
Demand Is High for Pro Bono Legal Help
By Elizabeth Elliott
The Daily Record

Out of the Nebraska Supreme Court ruling about the Nebraska State Bar that created a “hybrid” bar – one in which members have mandatory dues paid to the Supreme Court and voluntary dues paid to the State Bar, instead of the entire amount being mandatory – one thing became clear. Funds would be harder to come by for the programs of the State Bar, including its many forms of aid to those in need. Volunteers are needed now more than ever because of the ripple effect on all programs designed to help those in need of legal assistance.
– Additional reporting by Lorraine Boyd

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