Nebraska perspectives: Fighting meth and supporting Kenya and coffee

Nebraska perspectives: Fighting meth and supporting Kenya and coffee

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Meth nothing to a laugh about

South Dakota has taken much ribbing for the catchphrase it’s using for its anti-methamphetamine campaign: “Meth. We’re on it.”

The more significant concern, though, is that meth has a terrible power to destroy lives. Nebraska unfortunately is one of the Midwestern states that has seen an upsurge in meth accessibility in recent years.

The vast majority of meth now arrives in Nebraska from foreign producers or over the Internet, rather than from local meth labs.

The highly addictive drug, which can be swallowed, snorted, injected or smoked, has noticeably greater potency and purity than in the past, boosting its appeal — and its danger. The price, meanwhile, has fallen by some 71% since 2005.

Law enforcement agencies in Nebraska seized 52 pounds of meth, valued at $325,000, during the first six months of this year. The federal Drug Enforcement Administration placed its 23rd division office nationwide in Omaha in 2018, in response to the growing need.

Nebraska’s overdose rate from meth and other drugs has increased from 2.3 per 100,000 residents in 1999 to 8.1 by 2017. Researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have begun a multi-partner project to study rural drug abuse in Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and Kansas, using a five-year, $11.85 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

The meth threat is no laughing matter.

Omaha World-Herald


Benefitting Kenya and Grand Island

A business opened in Grand Island last week that will have a profound impact on family farmers half a world away.

Zabuni Specialty Coffee Auction opened its doors in Grand Island to its first auction. For sale: coffee beans grown in Kenya, which is 8,500 miles away from Grand Island.

The business, led by owner and CEO Laban Njuguna of Grand Island, will warehouse the coffee beans in Grand Island and market them to 5,200 independent buyers throughout the U.S.

This will help Kenyan farmers in a number of ways. First it will eliminate middle men who often suck up all of the profits. Second, it will get them a better price for their crops.

If Kenyan coffee can be established as a popular brand, demand will skyrocket. And it should grow in popularity, as it is a good, high-quality coffee.

All it needs is some good marketing and a fair business model — and Zabuni Specialty Coffee Auction will provide both of those.

Njuguna’s vision for his company has become a reality thanks to strong support from the Grand Island Area Economic Development Corp. EDC President Dave Taylor and others worked tirelessly on the project, including leading a trade mission to Kenya and welcoming Kenyan visitors to Grand Island.

In addition, Grand Island developer Ray O’Connor redeveloped a property for Zabuni in downtown Grand Island and hosted delegations from Kenya.

City officials also played a part as the Grand Island City Council approved a $100,000 forgivable loan over four years through the LB840 economic development program. Ten new jobs were created with help from the funding and one can see more coming if the demand for the coffee takes off like expected.

As Zabuni becomes a success, it will benefit Kenya and — 8,500 miles away — Grand Island.

Grand Island Independent

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