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Inside Story - Past Issues

Inside Story for Friday, December 10, 2010

Mileage Reimbursement for 2011

Effective Jan. 1, 2011, the mileage reimbursement rate for 2011 for College-related travel with a personal vehicle is 51 cents per mile.

Nominations for the 2011 Diane Donelson Spirit Award Now Being Accepted

In honor of deceased Board of Governors Representative Diane Donelson, the MCC Board of Governors adopted a resolution to establish an award for MCC employees. The Diane Donelson Spirit Award was established to recognize employees who exemplify a positive spirit in the face of adversity and the enduring qualities and compassionate spirit that Donelson exhibited in her interaction with others.

Nominations are now being accepted for this award. Deadline for nominations is Tuesday, Jan. 18. The fifth Diane Donelson Spirit Award will be presented at the Employee Holiday Reception scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 2.

If you know someone who meets the criteria for the award, submit a nomination in writing to Kay Friesen, FOC Bldg. 18 or kfriesen@mccneb.edu. The nomination should include the following information:

Nominee Name:
MCC Mailing Address:
Telephone Number:
Email Address: 

Nominator Name:
MCC Mailing Address:
Telephone Number:
Email Address:

Specifically address in the nomination:

  1. The reason you have nominated this person for the award.
  2. Address how the person specifically meets the criteria of the award. Include specific examples for each criterion.

Criteria for the award:

  • Positive spirit in the face of adversity
  • Unwavering commitment to building relationships
  • Compassion for others
  • Leadership and dedication to MCC

City Procedures during Winter Weather

City of Omaha Snow Plan and Winter Operation Procedures offer guidelines on parking, mailboxes, sidewalks and shoveling during winter weather. View the brochure for a full explanation.

Information on the Commuter Wheel Fee

The City of Omaha passed a law that requires employers to assess and collect a Commuter Wheel Fee on all persons who work within the Omaha city limits but live outside of the Omaha city limits and drive a vehicle to work. The College is working on finalizing the processes involved. This will only affect staff, both full- and part-time, who work at the Fort Omaha, South Omaha and Elkhorn Valley campuses. For more information, contact Tom Wilson, twilson2@mccneb.edu or (402) 457-2738.

Changing Your Voicemail for Winter Recess

As the holiday break approaches, it is time to set your voicemail to provide an alternate greeting for callers.

Examples of possible greetings include:

"You have reached the desk of Jane at Metropolitan Community College. The College is closed for the holiday break. I will return on Jan. 3, 2011. Please leave a message after the tone."


"You have reached the desk of Jane at Metropolitan Community College. The college is closed for holiday break Dec. 24 through Jan. 2. I will be out of my office starting Dec. 20 and will return on Jan. 3. If you would like to leave a message, please do so after the tone."

The procedure to record an alternate greeting is:

  1. Access your voicemail box.
  2. Press 4 for Setup options
  3. Press 1 for Greetings/Call transfer
  4. Press 1 for Greetings
  5. You will hear: "Your current greeting is the standard greeting... "
  6. The system plays your recorded greeting. You must LISTEN to this entire greeting before pressing any keys.
  7. Press 2 for Alternate Greeting
  8. The system will play: "Your current greeting is the alternate greeting" and will play what you have recorded (if anything).
  9. If you are satisfied with this greeting, press * to exit. Otherwise, follow the prompts to re-record.
  10. This automatically activates your alternate greeting.

You can contact the Help Desk at (402) 457-2900 for assistance.

Remember: When you return from holiday break, change your voicemail back to your standard greeting.

The procedure to return to your standard greeting is:

  1. Access your voicemail box
  2. Press 4 for Setup Options
  3. Press 1 for Greetings/Call Transfer
  4. Press 1 for Greetings
  5. Press 2 to turn off your Alternate Greeting
  6. Press * to exit

Holiday Poisoning Hazards

The holiday season is a time for celebration and happiness. Research shows that the number of poisoning incidents involving children rises during the holiday season. Common calls to the poison center during this time include cigarettes, batteries, food poisoning, holiday plants, bubble lights, angel hair, snow sprays, fireplace color crystals and ingestion of guests' medications by young children. The Nebraska Regional Poison Center would like to offer a few tips on how to make this the most wonderful time of the year.

  • Keep small children and animals away from seasonal plants such as mistletoe and holly berries, yew plants and poinsettias. Poinsettias are not the fatal poison that they were once believed to be but in large amounts can cause upset stomachs.
  • Lead can be a hazard in some tree light wires and older Christmas trees. It is reasonable to wash your hands after handling these cords and trees and keep them out of the hands of children. The ornaments that were handed down over the generations may contain lead in the paint.
  • Be mindful of icicles or tinsel. Both can be a choking hazard if swallowed. Angel hair is finely spun glass, which can cause cuts or irritation when handled or swallowed.
  • Visiting relatives may bring their medications. More than 50 percent of the calls to the Poison Center involve medications. Never leave medications on a nightstand - make sure to store these up and out of reach.
  • Clean up immediately following all holiday parties so that alcohol and other potentially harmful items are not within reach of young children. Children often imitate adults, and they will drink partially filled glasses regardless of the contents. Empty ashtrays often and clean them when the party is over. It just takes a few cigarette butts to send a child to the hospital.
  • Beware of toys containing small magnets, cheap metal jewelry and any toy that can be broken into small pieces and cause a choking hazard.
  • Post the telephone number of the Nebraska Regional Poison Center and your family physician near the phone. If you suspect a poisoning has occurred, call the Nebraska Regional Poison Center or your physician before attempting any emergency treatment.

Refer Five Friends to Win a Prize

MCC's Continuing Education Department continues to grow and enhance programming. They are exploring avenues to spread the word and are asking for your help by referring five friends to Continuing Education! Ask them to visit www.mccneb.edu/ce/promo. Your friends will be asked who referred them. MCC faculty and staff with five referrals (excluding immediate family members) or more will receive a small gift. View more information here.

For the Right Price, a 2004 Ford Explorer XLT Sport Utility Could Be Yours

MCC is accepting bids for the sale of a gray 2004 Ford Explorer XLT Sport Utility with approximately 31,500 miles. The car was purchased as a salvaged vehicle by MCC. Students in the Auto Collision Program, under the supervision of Auto Collision instructors, restored the vehicle to its current excellent condition.

The minimum bid for this vehicle is $7,200. To view photos of the vehicle, email rhanneman@mccneb.edu. To look at the Ford Explorer in person, contact Sharon or Mary at (402) 763-5800 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday-Friday. The car is located at the Applied Technology Center.

The Ford Explorer will be sold as is with no warranties or guarantees.

Thank You from POPS

POPS, the Single Parent Club, would like to thank the winter clothing donors for their kindness and generosity during this year's hat, coat and mitten drive. The Lydia House has been selected as the recipient of the dozens of winter items collected. The Single Parent Club also received a large amount of children's clothing from an MCC and TRiO alumna who heard about the drive and wanted to do something to pay forward the help and support she had received as an MCC student.

Reaching for the Stars: MCC Inspires another Generation of Young Parents

Reach for the Stars

MCC sponsored the 11th Annual Reach for the Stars Single Parent Conference at the South Omaha Campus on Nov. 19. More than 250 participants from 18 schools and institutions attended. The conference served students from Omaha, Bellevue, Ralston, Fremont and surrounding colleges.

This year's conference included a multigenerational panel discussion and a keynote address from MCC Board of Governors Chairwoman Crystal Rhoades. The multigenerational panel of single parents, all who were pursuing higher education or had completed their degrees, shared their stories in an extremely emotional display of courage and progress. The panel included Gloria Kern of Metropolitan Community College, Tina Nieves of Metropolitan Community College, Briana Smith from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, T'Essence Bessick of the College of Saint Mary and D.J. Todd from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis.

D.J. Todd, Coordinator for Multicultural Affairs at Marquette University, served as the lead panelist and moderator for the opening session. Todd is a graduate of Omaha Northwest High School and became a father during his freshman year while attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Todd noted that "...because of the situations we find ourselves in as young parents, we often develop the 'scrappy' characteristic. We have to just get it done! [It's] a skill not mastered by many in society."Crystal Rhoades

In her keynote address, Rhoades shared her journey as a single mother going through her college years. The life lessons she learned are skills she uses today as Assistant Executive Director for the Neighborhood Center working with landlords and rental agreements, predatory lenders, insurance companies, the healthcare system and law enforcement. Rhoades attributed much of her success to her supportive family. Her parents were an integral part to her completing her college education at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Rhoades encouraged the single parents in attendance to continue working toward their goals and to value education. The hard times are worth the struggle, Rhoades said. Without those experiences and struggles, she would have missed some valuable lessons that helped her to be a successful professional today.

Among the 250 participants were 30 men who attended the free conference to not only support of the mothers of their children but also be inspired themselves.

Students, Instructors Attend Meeting on Economy

Economic Outlook Luncheon

MCC students Jesse Webster and Sophia Irfan attended the Omaha Chamber of Commerce Economic Outlook luncheon on Nov. 17. Accompanied by Economics instructors Scott Pangle, Brock Williams and Richard Carter, the students learned about the overall business climate of Greater Omaha, economic performance and attitudes toward future growth. Elizabeth MacDonald, stocks editor for the FOX Business Network, gave the keynote address. The event provided the students an opportunity to experience their course material in a new way. The current national and regional economic problems provide a unique laboratory for learning about both the micro and macro impact of interventions by government agencies and of the combined activities of consumers and businesses.

Free Children's Books Available through Service-Learning Office

The Service-Learning Office has distributed thousands of books to needy families, schools and social agencies to encourage literacy in the community. A large number of books are still available for free at MCC through Dec. 14 at Fort Omaha Campus Central Stores.

To view the books, you must make an appointment with the Service-Learning Office. Times are 1-3 p.m. Dec. 13 and Dec. 14. Call Elizabeth McPhail to schedule an appointment at (402) 467-2591.

If you know of a neighbor or a friend in need of books for their children, let them know about this opportunity.

Save the Date: A Day On, Not a Day Off

Save the date for MCC's third annual A Day On, Not a Day Off service event to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 17.

While all MCC locations are closed that day, students, staff and community members can give back to the community at several agencies, including the North/South Omaha Boys and Girls Club, Habitat ReStore, Open Door Mission, Douglas County Community Health Center and The Kroc Center. The Pass to Class bus card can be used for transportation to the various sites.

To donate a portion of your time on Jan. 17, contact Kyle at the Service-Learning Office, (402) 457-2606 or Ktvandusen@mccneb.edu. The first 100 registrants will receive a free long-sleeved shirt to wear the service event.

Volunteers Needed at Foodbank of the Heartland

Foodbank for the heartlandMCC staff member Marguerite Nielsen is organizing small groups of staff members to volunteer at the Foodbank of the Heartland, whose mission is to eliminate hunger in Nebraska and western Iowa through community collaboration. If you are interested in giving back during the holiday season with other MCC staff, contact Nielson at MNielsen@mccneb.edu.

Photography Club Exhibits Work at Mule Barn

Members of the MCC Photo Club are exhibiting their work in the recently renovated Mule Barn at the Fort Omaha Campus. The show takes place throughout January.

The MCC Photo Club provides students with the opportunity to expand their photographic horizons through visiting artist lectures, workshops, informal critiques and group photographic exhibitions. This current selection of student work, purposely shown without a theme, showcases works from students' personal photographic pursuits.

Save the Date: Employee Appreciation Reception Scheduled for Feb. 2

Mark your calendars! The annual employee appreciation reception is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 2, 1-4:30 p.m. Look for details in upcoming editions of the Inside Story in January. This annual event provides an avenue to recognize the service of employees, to present the Diane Donelson Spirit Award and to provide an opportunity for employees to network with colleagues.

The annual service awards program celebrates employees' commitment to MCC. Employees holding a full- or part-time regular position are recognized for their service following the completion of five years of service and at each five-year interval thereafter. Those individuals who reached their fifth, tenth, 15th, 20th, 25th, 30th or 35th employment anniversary on or before Dec. 31, 2010, will be honored. Human Resources will contact honorees to provide additional information about the program.

Omaha Public Library Needs Your Help

Omaha Public Library needs your help. Omaha Public Library is currently in the middle of the long-term strategic planning process that will help us understand what Omaha needs from the Library now and many years into the future. Help them plan their future and take a survey at http://tinyurl.com/OPLBuzz-Survey.

How to Inspect Your Wiper Blades

Replacing wiper blades is just one part of getting your wiper blade system ready for inclement weather.

  1. Buy quality wiper blades. The cheapest wiper blades do not last very long and perform poorly. The rubber used typically does not stay soft or rubbery at low temperatures. As the wipers get old, the wiper blades jump and chatter on the glass. Eventually, all wiper blades go bad with age or environmental factors, like getting baked on the hot summer days.
  2. Check the wiper blades. The blades need to be replaced when the rubber develops a set, or permanent, curvature, which prevents the blade from maintaining full contact with the windshield. This means that the rubber does not bounce back when you lift the blade off the windshield. It remains in the bent position. Also, tug at the edge of the blade to see if the rubber is tearing loose.
  3. Check the wiper arm. Does the wiper arm push down on the wiper blade with the correct amount of force? If the wiper blade does a lousy job of cleaning the glass, the wiper arm pivot may be at fault. Under the arm is a spring. This spring pulls the arm down onto the glass with enough force to allow the wiper blade to squeegee the glass. To check it, lift the arm to see how much tension there is. Does it move with smooth and even tension without sticking in one spot? If not, the pivot needs to be lubricated. If a small amount of lube does not help, it is time for a new wiper arm. That's because no matter how many wiper blades you put on, the wiper blade can't clean the windshield because there is not enough force for it to do its job.

Other helpful hints:

  1. If you know bad weather is on the horizon, turn off the ignition key when the wipers are at the top of their stroke. This makes cleaning the wiper blades easier - they will not be buried under all of that ice and snow.
  2. Buy covered wiper blades. These are made with a rubber covering over the metal part of the blade.
  3. Some windshield nozzles are adjustable. You can make small adjustments to the direction they spray solvent onto the windshield, improving performance.

Workshops Explore Renewable Energy

Through free Training and Development workshops, MCC's Office of Sustainable Practice is offering MCC staff the opportunity to learn about how sustainability fits into our lives.

Introduction to Renewable Energy: TRDV-407N-01 (synonym 165199)

Discover renewable energy on Friday, Dec. 17, 8-4:30 p.m. at the Fort Omaha Campus, ICA, Room 201A. Clay Sterling, Education Director of the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA), will discuss solar electric (photovoltaics), solar thermal and small wind systems. Learn what renewable energy is, what it can do and how it can be used to provide an alternative to traditional electrical and heating needs.

Weekly Green Tip

Inconvenience is one of the top reasons people do not recycle, but a close second is lack of knowledge. While we can't make you shut down you computer, pack your car full of old gadgets and drive to the nearest recycling location, we can, however, give you the download on major retailers that offer free, in-store programs.

What: All brands of cell phones, smartphones, PC cards, batteries and accessories
Quick fact: In 2009, AT&T reused and recycled an estimated 4.2 million phones and recycled 1.7 million pounds of accessories and batteries.

Best Buy
What: Multi-media projectors, printers, car audio, home audio, PDAs and hand-held devices, mobile electronics (GPS, cell phones, MP3 players), various game systems, televisions, monitors, laptops, ink cartridges, CDs and DVDs and rechargeable batteries

Need to know: Consumers pay $10 for recycling each TV, monitor and laptop and, in return, receive a $10 Best Buy gift card. All other items accepted through the program are free to the consumer. The program does not accept appliances, TVs larger than 32" or console TVs of any size. All hard drives must be removed from laptops and desktops before they are accepted for recycling.

Quick fact: Best Buy collected more than 60 million pounds of electronics in 2009.

What: Computers, computer accessories and televisions

Need to know: Goodwill partnered with Dell Inc. for its residential computer recycling program called RECONNECT. Its computer recycling and electronics recycling businesses creates jobs and supports job-training programs.

What: All wireless phones, batteries, accessories and data cards, regardless of carrier or condition

Need to know: Sprint Buyback offers customers an account credit to return select Sprint and Nextel-branded devices.

Quick fact: In 2009, Sprint collected 1,095,177 pounds of mobile phones and wireless accessories.

What: Cell phones, PDAs, inkjet cartridges and rechargeable batteries

Need to know: While recycling the above items is free of charge, for a $10 fee, customers can recycle computers, laptops, printers, scanners, faxes, all-in-ones, CRTs monitors and LCD monitors. Computer peripherals such as keyboards, mice, speakers and modems can be recycled for free with larger items at any Staples store.

Quick Fact: In 2009, Staples collected 7 million pounds of consumer electronics.

Even more options
You can make money for your electronics without stepping foot in a retail store. Gazelle.com accepts about 30,000 functional and defunct electronics. Using secondary retailers such as eBay, the website will estimate your item's worth.

And no worries if your clunky television from 1989 doesn't fetch any dough - Gazelle will recycle it for free. Gazelle pays for shipping and will even send a box for most orders.

Bill Pulte to Retire

Bill Pulte started his career at MCC in 1979 as the head of the Automotive Technologies Program. Around 1984, he started teaching in the Electronics Program. During his retirement years, he plans on traveling, playing golf and playing in his band. An open house will be held in his honor on Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2-4 p.m. at the South Omaha Campus, Mahoney Building, Room 506. Pulte's last day at the College is Dec. 21.

HR Updates


Juli Bohnenkamp           FOC 5

Deanne Amato              FOC 30

Naomi Greelis-Mattos     SOC CON           (402) 738-4647

MCC Job Openings

For information about the College's open positions and how to apply, visit www.mccneb.edu/hr or call the jobline at (402) 738-4050. Applications are also online at www.mccnebjobs.com.

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