Filmed by Abby Currie and Emily Tencer. Edited by Emily Tencer. A Titan Journalism Production.
For more holiday cheer, check out:
BY MIA BRAVO
Being named TIME magazine’s person of the year is an honor only a select few have been granted. This year, TIME chose the Ebola Fighters to represent 2014 with their bravery and commitment. These courageous few were selected over Vladimir Putin, the Ferguson Protesters, Massoud Barzani, and Jack Ma, for their tireless effort to stop the most recent epidemic to ravage Western Africa. Ebola has amassed over 17,700 cases and claimed the lives of almost 6,500. This international disaster is believed to have begun almost exactly one year ago on Dec. 28, 2013, when a sudden illness took the life of a 2-year-old in Meliandou, Guinea. Since the beginning there have been many to step in to fight Ebola, but not enough. About 240 health workers have contracted the disease and almost half have lost their lives to this deadly virus. An end is in sight for this epidemic, however, there is always a chance that Ebola will slip through the cracks once again. Even if this illness does return, the Ebola Fighters will be ready and waiting to run into the fire once again.
For recent coverage on this disease, see:
BY LAUREN FEDEN
North Omaha does not seem like the best place for a Christmas-sweater-clad sheep, but tell that to Gage! Tuesday night, the Humane Society picked up Gage, a sheep found wandering around in a sweater near 13th and Ogden streets.
After being tweeted about by the Nebraska Humane Society, Gage’s story went viral, inspiring the hashtag #ChristmasSheep. Before he was claimed and identified, Gage even inspired a naming contest.
The Nebraska Humane Society tweeted out, “Our Christmas Sheep doesn’t have a name, so we are taking suggestions. #ChristmasSheep.” That request was met met with many entertaining responses. Among the funnier ones were “Fleece-Navidad” from @DadofPicks, “Wooly McWoolerton or WolMac for short” from @NatesGreat04, and “BAAAAAAAAArney” from @AbbyGoetzome.
Gage’s escapade did not just stir up Twitter, but he even made national news. From Time to HuffPost, this little lost sheep was everywhere Tuesday night. Thankfully, the publicity helped him get home.
According to Omaha.com, Gage’s owner, Margaret Vasquez, did not know where he had gone until her daughter saw the Internet buzz about the mysterious Christmas sheep. Gage made it safely home with his family Tuesday night.
BY CASSIDY ADOLF
Tonight is either the most coveted night in television, or the most dreadfully depressing night in television. Yes, I’m talking about the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. This year the angels flew to England for the show that took place last week to air tonight at 9 here in Nebraska on CBS.
Though the show wouldn’t be put out for the world’s eyes to view through tears of jealousy and admiration at the beauty of these creatures that truly are angels from the heavens, the girls of VS posted their photos of the night on social media outlets all week. Yeah, great week for my self esteem, THANKS BEHATI PRINSLOO.
In addition to Prinsloo, Candice Swaneopel, Karlie Kloss and an array of other familiar faces from the modeling world strut their stuff down the runway to performances by Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, Hozier, and Ariana Grande.
I know my Twitter and Instagram feeds were flooded with pictures from the event, but just in case you weren’t able to cry or eat uncontrollably or whatever you do when you realize you’re 5 feet tall and have no chance of ever wearing a pair of angel wings, follow @victoriassecret, @behatiprinsloo, or @angelcandices on Instagram and you’ll have full access to the too-perfect-to-be-true photos. Or, tune in to the show tonight to see it all!
In all seriousness, these women are very hard-working and talented and the pieces they will be shown in are beautifully detailed and true pieces of art. Also, the live performances are always stellar. So, tonight at 9 on CBS, see you there!
BY MIA BRAVO
Dr. James N. Sullivan is a Critical Care specialist at University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. Titan Legacy recently interviewed him about his experience assisting the treatment of Ebola patients in the hospital’s biocontainment unit.
1. How would you describe your job in one word?
2. What emotions are involved in going to work every day?
“It all depends on what I am doing for the day. Normally I would refer to it as cautious excitement. Kinda like when you are going to play a team bigger and stronger than yours but you know that you will be able to take them if you do it perfectly. But you have to execute perfectly.”
3. What will you do after this outbreak is contained? What is your actual job?
“My job revolves around three different things. I have my clinical duties where I take active care of patients in either the Intensive Care setting (like our Ebola patients) or in the operative arena (operating room/recovery room/ obstetrics, etc). I have my non clinical duties that revolve the recovery rooms as I am the medical director for them and quality control issues for the Department of Anesthesiology as I am the Co-Director for Quality Assurance for our department. These two jobs take up a great deal of my time. When we don’t have Ebola patients I just go back to my regular jobs. The care of the Ebola patient is a voluntary job on top of my regular duties.”
4. How have you been trained to deal with this particular disease?
“I was never trained to take care of Ebola patients specifically. My training, however, has given me the knowledge base to take care of all sorts of complicated patients. Most of my ICU patients are really much sicker than the Ebola patients and have much the same problems. That said, the care of the Ebola patient does have some specific challenges like how to do procedures while wearing three gloves, two gowns, a large face shield, etc. These are things that we are still working on and have actually changed how we do through our experience. In fact, we have been asked to develop an ap with Apple so that we can disseminate what we have learned here at UNMC to the rest of medical community in the U.S.”
5. How does American treatment of this disease differ from how Ebola is being treated in Africa?
“The treatment is night and day. Much of what we do here is supportive care. That is what my specialty does. We deal with fluid maintenance and electrolytes. We deal with delirium and nutrition. We deal with all sorts of things that are used to keep someone alive while the body is allowed to heal and be treated by the Infectious Disease specialists. Here in the US we give IV fluids and electrolytes. Ebola patients have serious derangements of these things since they have such profound nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In Africa they try to keep the fluids up orally. Our first patient tried for four days to stay hydrated orally and still came to us profoundly dehydrated. He simply could not keep anything down. In Africa they do not have the experimental drugs were are using here and do not use the plasma that we have here. Those are Western World benefits. It is simply not available in Africa. We think that the mixture of all these things is why we have been so successful treating the patients.”
6. How do you think the recent outbreak is going to impact the world?
“It is really hard to say. I think that it is entirely possible that we have a pandemic (an infection which crosses continents) if we are not cautious. The screening we are doing will help. The incident in Dallas has made all hospitals and medical workers more cautious in the care of people who have traveled recently. I think that if we do have a world wide problem it will be because people are too arrogant or foolhardy to be careful. If you travel to the lands that harbor the disease, you should, at minimum, be taking your temperature on a regular basis and at the first sign of fever should be isolated. Whether or not people are willing to do that is still in debate.”
7. How long do you think it will be before the outbreak is contained, controlled, or gone altogether?
“I really have no idea. I have no training in the area of epidemiology. I do know that we do expect more cases to pop up.”
8. What do you think scares people most about Ebola?
“The fact that you can die over 21 days and the fact that we know so little about it.”
9. Why do you think there is so much hysteria over Ebola when Americans are not in danger?
“Americans are too quick to jump on the bandwagon. The fact is that influenza is probably easier to get and you can die from it. No one is freaking out about it and you are much more likely to catch influenza than Ebola.”
10. What is the most reliable source for the coverage of Ebola?
“CDC. I usually avoid the Internet or news.”
BY MIA BRAVO
Everywhere you turn is this new disease you probably know nothing about. It has a 50-70 percent mortality rate and seems out of control. You’ve heard that Ebola melts you from the inside, causes blood to come out of every opening in your body, and turns your insides to mush. Ebola seems ghastly, and now Americans are bringing it back home. Many people think that they’re at risk of catching this horrible disease because of all the lies floating about. So much false information is going around that many people have absolutely no clue what information is true and what is false.
Even though measures have been taken to catch virus at the get-go, Ebola has found a way to infect regular Americans who were taking precautions to protect themselves. So how can you possibly protect yourself if those who were making the effort obviously failed?
Social media has turned Ebola into a kind of sick joke, one that is making many people paranoid for no reason. According to junior Alyssa Hernandes, “Everybody’s just saying we’re all gonna die.”
With platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, false information can spread faster than ever. Sometimes in the form of a joke, sometimes looking like an official report. Fake information is easy to come by and very tough to decipher from the real stuff. Dr. James Sullivan from the University of Nebraska Medical Center Biocontainment Unit, in Omaha, says “I usually avoid the Internet or news.”
Sometimes it’s easy to identify things that are totally false, such as the rumor that those who have died from Ebola can come back from the dead. However, some things can easily be misleading for those who aren’t properly informed, such as the rumor that an antibiotic that can cure Ebola is being withheld from African hospitals.
While Ebola is a reasonable thing to be afraid of, there is really no reason to worry unless you have been with or around a contagious Ebola patient. This disease is spread through direct contact with body fluids such as blood, vomit or excrement. It also may seem like this disease came out of nowhere, but Ebola has been ravaging parts of Africa since 1976. The first two recorded outbreaks happened within weeks of each other in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Southern Sudan and claimed 70 percent of 602 victims. Ebola is thought to have originated in fruit bats and spread at first by killing and/or eating the diseased animals. This virus got its name because the outbreak in Congo happened near the Ebola River, which was the primary reason for the outbreak’s spread. The bodily fluids from Ebola victims got into the water through the burial traditions of the native people, contaminating the water supply. When people drank from or bathed in the river, they became infected. This is how Ebola has continued to spread in rural areas of Africa.
The current outbreak has been hanging about since March, but only recently escalated to historic proportions. The disease never previously exceeded more than a couple hundred cases at one time. Now there are more than 13,000 cases, with more likely on the way. We’ve only begun to see extensive Ebola coverage because Americans have started to be infected. There have been 10 patients brought to the United States, with eight successfully treated and two dead. Three of those 10 were treated at UNMC. Twenty Ebola patients have been treated abroad. Spain, Norway and France are among the countries that have brought back citizens for treatment. Of those 20, four have died of this disease outside of West Africa: a priest and a missionary from Spain, a traveler visiting the United States and an American surgeon working in Sierra Leone. All who died were seriously ill when they arrived for treatment.
The most recent outbreak, with more than 13,000 cases, is still growing. However, new cases of Ebola may have stabilized. The main people who are contracting Ebola are medical workers treating patients, the families of those with Ebola, and those who have come in contact with the bodies of deceased Ebola victims. The traditions of the native people make it hard for workers to get the sick to come to hospitals and to safely bury the dead. A common belief in West Africa is that when the sick go to hospitals, doctors try to kill them so they can take their organs. While this is totally false, this and many other rumours make it easy to see why Ebola victims avoid going to treatment centers.
This disease is scary to those around Omaha because the city is home to one of the only biocontainment units in the country that is equipped to treat this disease. The 10-bed unit at UNMC is ready to battle almost anything that SARS, smallpox, the plague, tuberculosis or other serious diseases can throw at it. Constructed in 2004 in response to an identified need, the unit was built with federal funding in a central location so that Americans could be cared for safely. It’s also meant to help prevent pandemics or combat bioterrorism.
In an interview, Dr. Sullivan said, “We deal with all sorts of things that are used to keep someone alive while the body is allowed to heal and be treated by the Infectious Disease specialists.” Those being treated for Ebola at UNMC are given plasma and blood transplants and experimental drugs, in contrast to the lack of new drugs, blood and plasma for transfusions in Africa. “Those are Western World benefits,” Sullivan said. The staff has experience in treating all kinds of patients and comes from a variety of medical backgrounds. Doctors and nurses follow all Center for Disease Control guidelines to prevent infection. They use a partner system to ensure their actions are safe and sanitary at all times while handing protective gear. “We have to watch out for our team members,” said Morgan Shradar, a staff nurse in the UNMC unit. While all precautions are taken, there is always a possibility of something going awry.
There is concern about Ebola spreading in America through those who have caught it while working in the hospitals treating patients. Shradar said, “This is what we’ve trained for. There’s always a little itty-bitty what if, but we feel comfortable.”
BY LAUREN FEDEN
Check out our local stores for gifts unique to Papillion. All of these stores can be found in downtown Papillion, located by Sump Memorial Library on 84th/Washington Street.
This boutique is the place to go when shopping for the female fashionista in your life. They have everything from clothes to jewelry to cowboy boots. If you don’t know what the person would like, or are running low on time, a gift card is always a great option.
For something truly unique, check out their destination charms.They are clear charms with a map magnified on one side and the name of the city on the other.
“These are handmade in portland, Oregon. We have ball chains to hang them on, or you could put them on a charm bracelet. I’m the only store that sells them in Papillion,” Kim Ahlers, owner of Kajomas, said.
Another unique accessory is their charm bracelets.
“We have these Titan bracelets, they can say anything you want. Titan cheer, Titan basketball, Titan track, Titan band, anything,” Ahlers said. Not sure what message to put on the bracelet? They sell premade Titan and Husker bracelets.
If you can’t find what you are looking for in Kajoma’s, stop in to pick up a historical downtown map. They list all of the stores in the Historical Downtown Papillion Business Association.
Relatively new to Papillion, this store has a wide selection of meat and to no surprise, cheese. While you can’t leave this gift wrapped up underneath your christmas tree, it would make a lovely and suprising gift. Though if you do want something to leave below the tree, they have gift cards, which may keep a little better.
Some popular choices are their chocolate cheese, bison, elk and venison, frog balls or their artisan crackers.
Yes, they do sell frog balls and chocolate cheese. Frog balls are “beautifully seasoned pickled Brussels’ sprouts” according to one of the owners Darleene Evitch. They are not for the faint of heart.
Chocolate cheese is exactly the name, and is delicious, too. It is light and fluffy with little chunks of nuts in it. It tastes like a chocolate mousse, except it is cheese.
If you are planning on buying a gift from Nothwoods Cheese haus, make sure you know little bit about what the person likes. “If they know the person’s palette, if they like spicy or sweet, we can put together a better gift,” Diana Rayment, one of the owners, said.
When looking for the perfect gift for the artist in your life, look no further. This store sells not only vintage and handmade items, but a memory too.
For $38 you can purchase a ticket to a class that you can give as a gift. You will be giving the recipient an opportunity to create their very own work of art that they can take home with them.There is no experience required, you can give this gift to anyone.
“You could give them a gift certificate to a canvas session. It is 2 hours on a Saturday night. It is a fun group activity or a fun date night,” Cara Ehegartner said.
Besides classes they sell “a little bit of everything” according to Ehegartner. They have candles, items made by Papillion artists, and even vintage sock monkeys.
“A lot of our handmade things are made by people in Papillion,” Ehegartner said. “We sell painted wine glasses or regular glasses that are cute. We have a variety, we are a lot of different vendors under one roof.”
A little known shop is the Sawdust factory & sauce shoppe, located inside the Bell place shoppes. They have chocolates, 112 brands of hot sauces, chocolate wine sauce, and custom made laser engraved boxes.
The boxes are unique to papillion, the owner, Lonnie Theer, makes them himself. “Whether they are for a guy or girl I find out what they are interested in, then I create a custom laser engraved box unique to that person,” Theer said.
Theer has other gifts too. “For a girl I have some very nice heart shaped trinket boxes. I have other boxes that play music” Theer said. “For a guy I have some nice boxes with wildlife engravings on them and with a pocket knife inside. For the macho guy I have hot sauce.”
Even though Christmas is only one day, it’s crazy to think about the millions of things the holiday season brings! To try to organize this hectic holiday, follow these 12 things to get you in holiday cheer!
DAY 1 ~ Decorate the House
As soon as “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” it is the time to unpack all of the Christmas decorations stored away! Take advantage of a nice December day when the Nebraska weather isn’t too unbearable and hop on the ladder and add lights to the house. Go shopping for the perfect tree, and decorate it with ornaments and lights that best describe your family. Start creating a fun holiday environment for the whole neighborhood to enjoy, and create a festive aura within your house that helps build the anticipation for the holidays!
DAY 2 ~ Get in the Mood
There is no shame in watching hours and hours of cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies, listening to 104.5 constantly, and reading some classic picture books. Now is the time to indulge yourself in everything Christmas, for Christmas would not feel the same without all the hype counting down to the actual holiday. Junior Jared Ott is not embarrassed of his Christmas jams, “The best Christmas song in the world is ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’ by Mariah Carey, because even when it’s not Christmas I can always jam out to that song.” Join the craziness of the countdown to the holidays!
DAY 3 ~Watch Lights Twinkle
Throughout Nebraska at malls and popular hot spots, Christmas trees are lighting up all over the place! Here’s a list of fun Christmas tree lighting ceremonies and places to visit:
Try to avoid last minute shopping as much as you can; no one wants to experience the frantic stress of dealing with popular malls when there is very little time to buy the perfect gift. Plan ahead of time what to get your friends and family, and search for a heartfelt gift! Senior Max Hauze said.,“You can never go wrong with buying a Yankee Candle. They have so many different scents that will please anyone. You can give it to your family and friends. When I can’t think of something and I’m stumped, I go for a Yankee Candle.” For those with no intention of spending a lot of money, making a gift is always an option. Whether you’re buying your gift or making your gift, be a smart shopper by shopping ahead of time, avoiding the crowds, taking advantage of sales, and always thinking of what’s best for the recipient.
DAY 5 ~ Enjoy a Show
In honor of the season, many popular Omaha theaters produce entertaining Christmas shows for everyone to enjoy! Seeing a live show is a nice change from being entertained by screen, so go out there and get in touch with your theatrical roots and enjoy a show:
Christmas parties are a great way to spend time with friends and hand out gifts! Gift exchanges are always a blast, for you never know what you will receive. White elephant gift exchanges are always the most interesting. A white elephant gift exchange is when everyone brings something from home as a gift. Other fun holiday party games include Pin the Tail on the Reindeer, or hosting an ugly Christmas sweater contest. The possibilities are endless, and if you don’t host or attend a fun holiday party, at least enjoy a New Year’s party!
DAY 7 ~ Munch on Treats
One of the best parts about Christmas is the treats that come with it! Go purchase some candy canes, chocolate covered Santas, and pre-made Pillsbury Christmas sugar cookies. Buy a Gingerbread kit, get together with friends and decorate your house with the best candy imaginable. For those early mornings, stop by at Starbucks and enjoy one of their drinks from their holiday line. For those who are feeling adventurous, try Buddy the Elf’s classic breakfast recipe! All you need is spaghetti, maple syrup, sprinkles, marshmallows, chocolate syrup, and poptarts, all mixed together in one bowl!
DAY 8 ~ Ice-Skate with Friends
Bundle up in your sweaters and long socks and go ice-skating with a group of friends! Ice-skating is Hauze’s favorite thing to do in the winter, but he has strong opinions about the acivity, “Warning: do not do ice-skating trains. People will fall and people will get hurt.” Ice-skating is always a ton of fun with a group of friends, and don’t ever chicken out because you’re too afraid of slipping on the ice! Here are some great ice-skating hotspots:
DAY 9 ~ Bring out the Mistletoe
Dedicate a day of your winter break to having the perfect night out with that special someone.
There are many things to do downtown, with awesome restaurants, pretty lights, awesome food, and talented street performers. Senior Raina Watson describes the best way to end the date, “I’d want to go back to his house and watch movies and sit by the fireplace,” she said. The date possibilities are endless, but take advantage of the season and pull out some mistletoe and see if you can steal a few kisses!
DAY 10 ~Winter Wonderland
Depending on the bipolar Nebraska weather, who knows if we’ll be having a white Christmas? But when the snow falls, put on your winter coat and snow pants and take advantage of the fun fluffiness around you! There are so many snow activities to do—such as making snow men, snow angels, igloos, and participating in snowball wars with your friends. “I like building snow forts,” Hauze said. There are many places around Papillion to sled. Slide down the hills by the Titan practice football field or the hill by the police station. You could even drive out to Mahoney and sled out there! Once you suck it up and get over the cold weather, snow activities are always a blast.
It is easy for everyone to forget that the most important part of Christmas is to give rather than receive, but there are many options of giving to those in need in the holiday season. You can adopt a family for the Heartland Family Service, where you can donate money or gifts to provide for a family. You can go to ToysRUs and donate a toy for ‘Toys for Tots’. You can volunteer as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army by going to RingOmaha.org. Give to those in need so others can have an amazing holiday season.
DAY 12 ~ Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
No matter how old you are, you are never too old to set up for Santa’s arrival. If you have little siblings, make their night by helping them prepare for St. Nick. Set up a plate of cookies and a glass of milk for Santa, and leave some carrots outside for the reindeer to munch on. Spend your Christmas Eve cherishing your night with the ones you love. “If you want to have a good Christmas, you have to be appreciative of everything that you have and not take anything for granted,” Ott said.
BY TRISTON FAIRCHILD
While you’re all curling up next to the fire, drinking hot chocolate and eating Christmas cookies, listen to this Christmas playlist to get in the Christmas mood.
1. “Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas” – Michael Buble
Michael Buble CAN SING. This song is sure to get you in the holiday cheer. Also, if you have time, watch his Christmas special on television!
Find the song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyKMPXqKlFk
2. “All I Want For Christmas Is You” – Mariah Carey
This song may be about a significant other, but even if you don’t have that achy heart for someone, this song will surely get you in the Christmas mood!
Find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXQViqx6GMY
3. “White Christmas” – Michael Buble
This song is a more traditional song by none other than my fellow Canadian, Michael Buble.
Find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OsgqpnuizY
4. “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” – Glee
I’ve never been a fan of “Glee” until now. This song is an immaculate duet from “Glee” cast members.
Find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aai2fCn7ywQ
5. “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” – Michael Buble
OK, by now you know I like my boy MB, but it’s not just because he is Canadian. He takes a slower and more drawn out approach to the song.
Find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSKKamK8kpI
6. “Fa La La” – Justin Bieber, featuring Boyz to Men
OK, I dislike J-Biebs as much as the next guy, but “Fa La La” is actually good.
Find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8h7wHcsdnNI
7. “Christmas Song” – Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra just may be the most throwback artist you can listen to. Definitely a classic that’ll make you appreciate Christmas.
Find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HC2PF9r9Nhs
8. “Christmas Song” – Whitney Houston
Although this is the same song as the one above, Whitney Houston takes a whole new approach to it and really adds depth. Don’t believe me? Look it up!
Find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuCWGzWY5To
9. “Merry Christmas” – R. Kelly
R. Kelly kills “Merry Christmas”! His range of vocals is amazing!
Find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JwgDBRQit4
10. “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” – Mariah Carey
Mariah just knows how to do it. The song starts out with sleigh bells for a more traditional feel mixed with modern music.
Find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ggxtK5Dg7Q
11. “Blue Christmas” – Glee
Find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyJWDcQ4KgU
12. “Do They Know It’s Christmas” – Glee
Find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w347aP5z-8s
These last two by “Glee” are both original songs that the cast remakes and does it well! It’s pretty much guaranteed (if you have any Christmas spirit at all) that if you listen to these songs you’ll instantly get in that warm holiday mood. So, go ahead, plug in these catchy tunes and turn the volume up.