Clean Water Guys Tackle Hard Water, Keep Taps Pure

NASA astronauts on Apollo 17 took a photo of clouds whirling over Earth’s oceans in 1972 that looked like a “Big Blue Marble.”

While water covers about 71% of the planet’s surface, only about 1/200th of Earth’s water is fresh water that’s accessible and suitable for drinking.

Rory Sherman, owner of Clean Water Guys, wants the Omaha metro community to know his business is here to treat any water issue, helping to connect people with fresh, clean drinking water.

Working with household names such as Tyson, Scooter’s and even Google, the Clean Water Guys collaborate with manufacturers that have proven themselves to be staples in their industry and creates custom systems to retrofit any building in need of water treatment. The company, incorporated as United Distributors Inc., also offers home and office solutions for water softening and water treatment systems.

Sherman grew up in a small town in South Dakota and went to trade school to become a mechanic before changing his focus to water treatment. He has been serving his customers for more than four decades.

Celebrating its 40th anniversary in Omaha, the first Clean Water Guys was founded in 1979 in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where it grew to cover over seven states.

Eventually, Sherman said his brother suggested opening a branch in Omaha, and the company’s new headquarters was established in 1984.

“It was a lot larger city for development and growth,” Sherman said, noting that a central location was helpful for shipping in parts from across the country.

Clean Water Guys has experienced consistent growth because of the dedication to treating its customers like family.

“The key thing for us is having very strong core values,” Sherman said. “If you take care of the customer, the customer will take care of you. If you don’t take care of the customer, the customer will take care of you. We think it’s better to do it right the first time.”

Family is at the heart of the company, with Sherman’s daughter, Elizabeth, recently marking her fifth anniversary with the company. She said her favorite part of the company is working with a “tight knit team” – and working at a family business.

“Everybody who comes in here feels the family vibe,” she said.

Hard water is a top issue across the United States, and Nebraska has high concentrations of minerals in the water supply. Those can calcify over time and accumulate in water heaters and pipes.

In fact, Sherman said his team has taken piece of sediment from water heaters in Omaha that measured nearly a foot in length.

That’s why Sherman stresses the value of a water treatment system to clients for both commercial and residential properties.

“There’s an old saying in plumbing: ‘It takes one plumber to bring in a water heater and three men and two boys to carry one out.’ Well, the reason for this is because of hardwater scale,” Sherman said.

When water is untreated and mineral scale is left behind, it calcifies and hardens to form a barrier that the water heater must then heat through to function.

“That’s what drives cost up,” Sherman said.

Besides prolonging the life of plumbing and appliances, softer water is healthier on people’s skin and it eliminates the issue of soap and hard water forming scum on shower walls – making bathrooms easier to clean. Even laundry is more efficient, requiring less soap to wash and causing less damage by removing harsh irritants that damage clothing over time.

Pollution is also filtered out, which can provide safety when the water has contamination – whether that’s from floods, like in those across Nebraska this year, or lead or other elements leaking into the water supply from decaying pipes, like in Flint, Michigan.

“People don’t realize that the water we have today is the same water we’ve always had. You can’t make water,” Sherman said.

While water is filtered before it goes into the water supply to be safe, another layer of filtration can bring some peace of mind.

Because of their diligence and care for customers, Clean Water Guys was selected as November’s Small Business of the Month by the Greater Omaha Chamber.

Sherman said success is measured by the company’s longevity and “feeling like you’re a part of something bigger” – through serving the community further, such as by repurposing and donating used water softeners to those in need who can’t afford them.

“I’m more excited about the business today than I was 25-30 years ago,” Sherman said. “Thank you to our customers, because without them, none of this would have happened.”

Find more on Clean Water Guys at cleanwaterguys.com.

Written for the Omaha Daily Record: https://www.omahadailyrecord.com/content/clean-water-guys-tackle-hard-water-keep-taps-pure

Creighton Forum Highlights Immigrants’ Struggles

*Written for The Daily Record: https://www.omahadailyrecord.com/content/creighton-forum-highlights-immigrants’-struggles

The uncertainty regarding the status of immigrants and asylum seekers at the federal level has resulted in accusations of confusion and indecision by state officials charged with renewing driver’s licenses.

A recent conversation hosted by the Creighton University School of Law sought to explore the impact of shifting federal policy for persons with Temporary Protected Status, a federal program that grants temporary legal status to certain foreign nationals from countries where it would be unsafe to return.

The office of U.S. Rep. Don Bacon hosted a conversation on driver’s license and identification renewals for individuals with TPS with several Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles employees on Sept. 20 at the law school. The forum sought to answer questions about the federal Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements Program, or SAVE, which seeks to prevent people from losing their identification.

Rick McFayden, associate dean for student affairs and administration at Creighton Law, introduced the discussion along with first-year law student César Magaña Linares, who served as an interpreter.

“We appreciate being able to be of assistance and be a platform for this conversation,” McFadden said.

Luis Guzman, a constituent liaison from Bacon’s office, gave an overview of SAVE, which uses a three-step verification process to determine a person’s immigration status, including their eligibility for TPS benefits.

SAVE is administered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, part of the federal Department of Homeland Security. USCIS handles the administration of immigration and naturalization for DHS, while Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) handles investigations and deportations and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) protects the nation’s borders and oversees ports of entry.

At the forum, DMV employees and community members with TPS discussed how the multiple steps of the verification process at a federal level that can result in months of waiting – often up to a year.

The system also has resulted in some people with TPS saying they can’t access their benefits.

Several attendees of the forum, for example, said they brought all their required documents to renew, but they were not granted their licenses. One person said they were denied a license despite documentation from her attorney showing it should have been approved.

Another person with TPS said that a police officer won’t care if they have sought a driver’s license and have a right to obtain a driver’s license. If they’re found without one while operating a motor vehicle, even if it’s to work or school, they will face a citation.

“The person that’s affected by that ticket – that impacts their ability to seek other immigration benefits in the future,” the attendee said.

Matt Giesler, a DMV examiner who handles TPS cases, apologized to the immigrant for his negative experience. “We are training our examiners as quickly as possible,” Giesler said.

Giesler said the SAVE program is relatively simple, despite the problems some have encountered. The noncitizen has to present an employment authorization document, valid foreign passport or other immigration document. However, Giesler said he would pass on the concerns brought up during the Creighton forum to appropriate supervisors at the state agency.

Adam Eakin, a project and information manager at the DMV, encouraged applicants who do encounter a problem to ask for a supervisor to review such cases so that all TPS recipients and other protected groups receive their documents in a timely manner.

“Please do not hesitate to bring this to our attention,” Eakin said.

Eakin said the DMV will continue to follow current federal regulations while legislation is crafted at the federal level regarding which countries continue to qualify for TPS.

From El Salvador alone, 3,000 TPS recipients in Nebraska are currently in jeopardy of losing their benefits. Other countries currently qualifying for TPS include Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen, according to USCIS.

McFayden said he hopes the strong turnout and enthusiasm at the forum indicates that the discussion will make a difference.

“Creighton looks forward to being a conduit for information from state organizations to the constituents that they are serving,” McFayden said.

Doctor Putting the ‘Vision’ in Visionary

*Written for The Omaha Daily Record, 10/17/2019

Using top of the line technology and cutting-edge methodologies, Dr. Lance Kugler is changing the face of vision correction in the Omaha metro area by focusing not only on delivering life-changing vision results, but also on world-class customer service.

Most people know about laser eye surgery, known as LASIK, but there are seven different types of vision correction and restoration procedures. Kugler Vision is the only practice in Nebraska to offer all of them.

As a result of their dedication to patient care and stellar success in their field, Kugler Vision was named the recipient of the Small Business of the Month Award by the Greater Omaha Chamber.

Kugler Vision’s specialization in a variety of procedures allows each patient to be matched to the best procedure for their unique needs at any stage of life, so that they may live their lives to the fullest without the need of glasses or contact lenses.

Because the eyes can be affected so drastically by lifestyle, Kugler said it’s a “really critical time” in history for eyesight. With so many new cases of nearsightedness being diagnosed, humankind is near the verge of an epidemic. This is caused, according to Dr. Kugler, “due to screens and kids spending a good part of their time indoors,” which he says tends to worsen near-sightedness.

Proper contact lens care is another important issue.

“The No. 1 reason an adolescent is in the emergency room is because of a contact-related eye injury,” Kugler said.

With teens and young adults neglecting to replace or thoroughly clean their lenses, a multitude of health issues can arise, causing severe long-term damage.

Once the eyes have fully finished developing between the ages of 18 and 21, Kugler Vision can assess and treat nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism with techniques such as the Modern LASIK treatment. Those who are not LASIK candidates generally qualify for another procedure- like the ICL permanent contact lens procedure, PRK or SMILE vision correction. For those dealing with age-related near vision loss or blended vision, Corneal Inlay or Refractive Lens Exchange can reduce or eliminate the need for readers or bifocals.

As the price of glasses and contact lenses continues to increase, the cost-effectiveness of vision correction improves. Vision correction “pays for itself” after about five years, given the cycle of purchasing glasses and contacts coming to about $1,000 per year.

Due to new developments and the continued advancement of technology, worries about vision loss are now becoming a thing of the past. For those individuals who have been told they are not a candidate for LASIK or other vision correction, Kugler urges patients to visit their office near 180th and Burke streets.

“Over 80% of the patients that come to see us have been told at some point that they aren’t a candidate for a procedure,” he said.

While some might not be a candidate for LASIK specifically, there are other options for astigmatism, myopia and hyperopia.

Many patients are surprised by how quickly and easily their corrective eye procedures are performed. Kugler said LASIK can be finished on both eyes within nine minutes and allow patients to go back to work the next day.

A testimonial from a patient shared by Kugler Vision said they were nervous, but the clinic staff is reassuring and supportive.

Self-described as, “the outsiders in medicine,” Kugler’s drive for ethical practices in such a specialized field led him to start the clinic.

One clinic employee, Kori Walker, said she was a patient before she was an employee.

“I actually came in for an appointment, and I thought, ‘This looks like a fun place to work,’ and asked to fill out an application,” Walker said, adding after almost one year of work: “I couldn’t be happier to work here.”

With a team of passionate individuals and expert physicians in their field, Kugler Vision meets the gold standard in vision correction. They have the ability to diagnose and fix a specific problem which, in most fields of medicine, “is pretty rare,” Kugler said.

Using this technology to fix vision permanently and with predictable results, Kugler said, “that is very satisfying. We believe in how we do things … it’s a really engaged process.”

To take a self-test, find out more about vision correction procedures or schedule a consultation with Kugler Vision, call 402-558-2211 or visit lasikomaha.com.

Unique Ways to Tune Into Your Own Wavelength

No question, everyday life can deplete the vital forces that keep us energized. Thanks to a multitude of unique ways to get in touch with your inner yogi and practice meditation throughout the Omaha metro, mind-body-spirit refueling is just a breath away.

The Nebraska Zen Center

Offering meditation and mindfulness classes for over forty years, The Nebraska Zen Center is a refuge for practitioners at the Heartland Temple. Dosho Port, who teaches guided meditation, says the practice sets the mind up for a great day by creating a clear headspace. The Center also offers silent meditation sessions which fosters inner peace, focus and calm.

 

Read the full story here: https://www.omahachamber.org/wedontcoast/unique-ways-to-tune-into-your-own-wavelength/

Tap Into Omaha’s Best Brews!

Just like our eateries, Omaha is host to a cornucopia of fledgling breweries that are as colorful and unique as the people who run them. From pale ales to IPAs, the brewery scene in Omaha has a spot to cater to every taste. Tap In: Region’s Brewery Scene

Because of this, Greater Omaha has been nationally recognized as one of the top regions in the nations for craft breweries. Here are just a few of our gems that are making headway in their field (of hops).

Upstream Brewing Company

Omaha’s original brewpub, they’ve been making visitors feel like locals and locals feel like another round since 1996. New on tap: We Don’t Coast Kölsch – a classic german style ale dry hopped with Mandarina Bavaria and Hallertau Blanc Hops. Cheers to that!

To read the full story, visit the We Don’t Coast Blog here: https://www.omahachamber.org/wedontcoast/brewery-scene/

Jan-Pro of Omaha: July Small Business of the Month

Read the full story here: http://www.omahadailyrecord.com/index.cfm?show=10&mid=84&pid=17

Tumi Oluyole and his team members ain’t afraid of no dust.

The employees of Jan-Pro of Omaha look like they belong in the cast of “Ghostbusters” as they wear professional-grade vacuum backpacks and use the latest technology to eliminate their enemy – in this case, dust, dirt and grime.

Jan-Pro opened its first franchise in Nebraska in 2003 to provide professional cleaning services to businesses in Nebraska and portions of western Iowa.

For its dedication to service and sterling results, the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce named Jan-Pro as July’s Small Business of the Month.

Before taking over Jan-Pro in late 2016, Oluyole worked as a certified public accountant. Born in Nigeria, his family moved to the United States during primary school. Oluyole eventually went on to earn a master’s degree from Bellevue University and to become the owner, president and CEO of Jan-Pro of Omaha.

After more than a decade of working in accounting, Oluyole decided to apply his skills and attention to detail to his work as an associate with Jan-Pro.

Though Oluyole confessed that “I don’t even know how to clean my own house,” he cares for his many customers with ease and precision by following Jan-Pro’s brand standards and learning about cleaning compounds.

“You’re not just cleaning. You’re going above and beyond,” Oluyole said.

The goal is not simply to meet a customer’s expectations, but to exceed them, he said.

Extra effort with cleanliness can be the difference between a healthy environment and dragging productivity in a workplace when flu season hits.

Jan-Pro turns to patented compounds for a guaranteed clean. To ensure the wellbeing of their clientele, Jan-Pro utilizes green, non-hazardous, hospital-grade chemicals that prevent future bacteria from forming. Enviro-Shield, the company’s commercial disinfectant system, has a wrap-around effect that fills a room with negative ions, reaching every nook and cranny to eliminate airborne germs.

Servicing customers such as banks, medical facilities, manufacturing companies, office buildings, daycares, restaurants and many other places with an abundance of foot traffic, Jan-Pro’s cleaning products can make the difference between a normal flu season and an epidemic.

“People don’t understand that their keyboard has more germs on it than the restroom,” said Oluyole, who noted that he sees education as a key part of his job.

When the Jan-Pro team visits a business space, it determines the specific procedures needed to achieve optimal results. To avoid cross contamination, for example, cleaners use color-coated microfiber cloths that are designated for different areas of a business. The microfiber cloths pick up far more dust and lurking bacteria than cotton cloths or dusters.

Jan-Pro also goes a step further by wearing backpack vacuums. Unlike traditional upright vacuums, they do not allow dust to spread through the air and settle back into the carpet. Instead, they completely trap and eliminate it.

Jan-Pro takes their professionalism and forthright philosophy to another level by guaranteeing their cleaning services.

Oluyole said his team stands by their work, and they will offer courtesy cleans or credit toward future cleanings to maintain the partnerships that provide the foundation of the business.

For example, Oluyole said he once had a client with a sudden case of the chicken pox in his building. With the help of Jan-Pro, the contagion was quickly contained by thoroughly sanitizing surfaces and common areas.

That is the sort of dedication to service and his client’s needs that led Jan-Pro to win the Small Business of the Month Award.

Oluyole has maintained membership with the Greater Omaha Chamber since he took ownership of Jan-Pro because of the chamber’s massive network. Oluyole said he feels encouraged by the recognition to broaden his company’s reach in the community.

“It’s a great steppingstone,” he said. “The team was just so excited about it. It made us all say, ‘This is only the beginning.’”

Oluyole looks forward to expanding Jan-Pro’s network of clients and business owners through a two-tiered business plan. Currently, there are 30 Jan-Pro franchisees in Nebraska, and Oluyole hopes to grow that number exponentially.

Jan-Pro’s diverse team of entrepreneurs are free to run their own business while receiving training and education directly from the company’s national headquarters while learning best practices for client services.

To learn more about Jan-Pro of Omaha, or for franchising information, visit jan-pro.com/Omaha.

 

Volunteer Spotlight: President’s Club

Volunteer Spotlight: President’s ClubComprised of job titles that span from dentists, attorneys, bankers, to retailers and many more, The President’s Club is an elite group of approximately 20 volunteers that help grow the Greater Omaha Chamber (the Chamber) by promoting local membership and renewal. 

To read more about this amazing group of individuals, click here to visit the We Don’t Coast Blog.

The Union: Art with an Impact

The Union: Art with an Impact

Now officially open for the season, The Union for Contemporary Art (The Union) on North 24th Street is an exciting place to learn through experience, expand one’s mind, and inspire creativity. With a large art gallery named for Wanda D. Ewing, The Union offers five or more exhibitions per year with a primary focus on women of color in the arts. Not only does The Union display art that is culturally riveting; it also offers a multitude of mediums for visitors to expand their worldview and inspire their own creativity.

Nicole J. Caruth, program director for The Union, can attest to the importance of inspiring the youth through hands-on experiences and exposure to art.

To read the full story, visit the We Don’t Coast Blog

No Horsing Around, International Omaha Is Greater Omaha’s ‘Mane’ Event

Greater Omaha is a horse-lover’s dream, and the Burlington Capital International Omaha horse show gave the region an opportunity to showcase its vast network of trainers, riders and horse enthusiasts.No Horsing Around, International Omaha Is Greater Omaha’s ‘Mane’ Event

Karin Nilsson, an Omaha native, has noticed not only is the region’s equestrian community supportive of one another; the surrounding landscape is ideal for those who own horses and larger barns.

“One of the big pluses that I see is that we have a lot of land, so pasture turnout is much more available,” said Nilsson, in comparison to larger coastal cities, where many competitions are held.

See the full story on the We Don’t Coast Blog

 

Ragtime – Young Actress Pieper Roeder

Opening on May 31, Director Kimberly Faith Hickman and her cast of 37 volunteer actors have tirelessly been preparing to bring Ragtime to life at the Omaha Community Playhouse.

Set in New York in the early 20th century, the plot explores the serious issues of class struggles between immigrants and suburbanites while touching on themes of family, immigration, and integration.

Bringing this powerful play to life needed just the right cast to instill the audience with hope and love throughout the production despite its characters many struggles.

 

To read the full story, visit the We Don’t Coast Blog