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Daily Minute | The latest Lincoln-area news for Jan. 23

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Welcome to the Daily Minute, the Journal Star's morning news briefing where you can get the latest news in about a minute each weekday. Here are this morning's top stories:

Some Lincoln schools saw dramatic influx of new teachers during pandemic

Sixteen new teachers joined Arnold Elementary School this year, which like other schools during the pandemic has experienced a turnover in educators.

It's part of a larger demographic shift across Lincoln Public Schools during the pandemic years.

The Journal Star analyzed data provided on nearly 3,900 teachers in Lincoln Public Schools this year and found the percentage of teachers new to the district has ticked up since 2019. Meanwhile, the percentage of the district's teachers who have been with LPS for more than 20 years has declined.

While the districtwide shift to a presumably younger teaching corps isn't extreme, the pattern plays out more starkly across a number of buildings. See the breakdown

Lincoln not short on paramedics yet, but workload issues simmer as bargaining period nears

An increasing workload on Lincoln Fire and Rescue personnel combined with a decline in paramedic applications has left Lincoln’s fire department grappling with a paramedic shortage that doesn't yet exist.

Fire Chief Dave Engler insists that the staffing situation within the fire department has not reached a state of alarm. But he acknowledged that the agency has considered a potential “doomsday scenario” as the application pool of certified paramedics shrinks.

The Lincoln Firefigher’s Association has placed some of the blame for the staffing situation on department certification policies and the scrutiny placed on paramedics.

Neither the department nor union have a clear answer to solve the budding problem — which has been further complicated by a massive increase in medical calls over the last 10 years. 

Capitalizing on renewed interest, city wants to create master plan for one of Lincoln's oldest parks

And Lincoln Parks and Recreation got input from residents to create a master plan for Van Dorn Park. For years, the park has sat neglected near a busy intersection. 

But, it’s been well-used with the addition of a mountain bike trail and playground equipment, funded by a donation campaign from the nearby Indian Village Neighborhood Association. 

Residents told Lincoln Parks and Recreation that park users love the trees and the bike trail. They don't like the city's storage area on the south end. Many have concerns about the possibility of putting a botanical garden and conservatory there. And they say better access and a way for neighbors to safely cross Nebraska Parkway is a must.

That’s it for Monday, Jan. 23. Stay in the know with Lincoln’s longest-standing news source at JournalStar.com and we’ll see you back here on Tuesday.

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