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Omaha Magazine

Omaha Magazine - January/February 2024: The Inspiration Issue

Dec 21, 2023 04:10PM ● By Kim Carpenter
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It’s a New Year, and in a world replete with strife and uncertainty, it’s perhaps natural to feel a little trepidation as 2024 takes hold. 

But all I have to do is look around our own community for inspiration. There are so many people doing good things—truly great works—that benefit community members. In both the performing and visual arts alone, we have people making a difference. I look at people like Aaron Derell Gregory, who as Omaha performing Arts’ community engagement manager, is making the art of dance available across the metro. Then there’s Oria Simonini, who uses her international background as a point of inspiration for community art.

And if you really want inspiring, don’t miss the story of Dr. Jacob Weasel, a surgeon and member of South Dakota’s Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, who made the harrowing summit to the top of Mount Everest. He isn’t one to let anything, including gravity, hold him back. Closer to earth is octogenarian Tom Sitzman, who is still making 80-mile cycling excursions. 

There are also people like Kristin Lowrey, who works diligently to provide free access to period products to people across the state who cannot afford them. There’s Denise Gehringer, the executive director of Sheltering Tree, which assists people with disabilities like Down syndrome find safe and secure housing. Olivia Larson, a policy fellow at RISE, is working to restore voting rights more quickly to people who’ve served their full sentences for felony charges.

And we can’t overlook people like Howard Hawks and Chris Leitner at Tenaska, the 12th largest privately owned business in the US, whose name is a portmanteau of “tenacious” and “Nebraska.” Under their leadership, Omaha will see the addition of the Tenaska Center for Arts Engagement to Omaha Performing Arts’ campus. Finally, Tri-Faith Executive Director Wendy Goldberg shares her reflections on how she is dealing with the on-going Israeli-Palestinian crisis with empathy and love. Inspiring, indeed.

These are the kinds of people who make Omaha an extraordinary place to live. They uplift others, whether it’s through showing them how to move, providing access to necessary items, focusing on marginalized populations, helping people find housing, or providing new community engagement centers. As you read our inaugural issue of the New Year, may you be inspired by the phenomenal people we’ve profiled in these pages. 

From all of us at Omaha Magazine, Happy 2024!

Kim Carpenter
Managing Editor, Omaha Magazine 
[email protected]


Omaha Magazine - January/February 2024: The Inspiration Issue

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