Police, Volunteers Work Together for Community

Sparked by the Omaha Police Department’s northwest precinct, volunteers from the community joined together last Saturday to beautify an Omaha neighborhood. More importantly they showed that police and community members can work together for the common good.

The cleanup focused on North 48th Street from Taylor to Sahler Streets.

“The discussion started at an Empowerment Network Omaha 360 weekly meeting,” said Jim Hubbard, northwest precinct crime prevention specialist. “Various members of the community, elected officials, representatives from nonprofits and the Police Department started a discussion, and we kept the ball rolling as a team.”

The goal of the event was to reduce crime in the neighborhood, promote ownership of the neighborhood among residents, encourage productive neighborhood partnerships and create a safe area for youths to walk during Halloween for trick-or-treating.

About 60 volunteers from across Omaha joined neighborhood residents in the cleanup effort. Volunteers included representatives of the Police Department’s northwest precinct, Benson Plant Rescue, Black Police Officers Association, Embrace the Nations, Empowerment Network, Keep Omaha Beautiful, Landmark Group, Dino’s Storage, More Than Just a Village Academy, Omaha Home for Boys, Omaha Public Schools and the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Real Estate’s Hot New Sector: Storage Units

It’s a good time to be in the storage unit business: Rents are rising, vacancies are limited and competition has been muted due to limited new construction, The Wall Street Journal reports.

DinosMapleCaptionedStorage unit companies are finding business is booming at a time when other commercial real estate sectors are still mostly flat. Investors are buying up shares in storage unit companies too; Extra Space Storage Inc. saw its stock rise 33 percent in the past year. The Salt Lake City-based company reports that 94.5 percent of its space was occupied at the end of the second quarter, up from 92.1 percent one year prior. Public Storage, which is the largest publicly-traded storage firm, reported a 7 percent increase in rental income year-over-year.

The number of self-storage locations in the United States is more than triple the number of McDonald’s outlets. Seeing opportunity, some investment firms are rushing to complete new projects, although storage facilities tend to take years to build. For example, Carlyle Group LP is spending $80 million to build new facilities in Southern California, the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere.

The industry’s stability may be thanks to the fact that storage space is in demand in good times and bad. Some in the industry use the 4Ds – death, divorce, downsizing and dislocation – as reasons consumers might utilize their services. Because these events aren’t necessarily tied to the economic cycle, the industry “isn’t recession-proof, but it is recession-resistant,” says Ryan Burke, an analyst at real-estate research firm Green Street Advisors.

Analysts said storage can be a good long-term business because once people rent storage units, they are unlikely to move to a different facility even if the rent is slightly lower, and they tend to keep the units longer than they anticipated.

Dino’s Storage owns facilities in Omaha, Bellevue, Papillion and Elkhorn, Nebraska, Bondurant and Des Moines, Iowa, and Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Stealing or Sharing?

It’s no secret that young people like to consume entertainment they don’t necessarily pay for.

Money magazine notes that when business and tech types talk about this reality, they tend to use neutral or even flattering language: Millennials, they say, like to “swap” files and “share” subscription passwords. After all, super-earnest, bike-commuting, coffee-sipping twenty-somethings don’t look like dangerous criminals. And let’s face it, no business wants to alienate the work-force’s largest generational cohort, with billions, if not trillions, worth of spending ahead of it.

Now, however, some Wall Street analysts have decided to come right out and use another S word – steal – in discussing the problems facing some traditional media enterprises.

Password“The millennials are a generation that grew up (and will likely grow old) ‘sharing’ (read stealing) passwords for access to content if it continues to be ignored,” wrote analysts Mike McCormack, Scott Goldman and Tudor Mustata in a note to clients. “We believe it is the most significant cause of the declining pay TV subscriber base.”

The problem, the analysts suggest, is that all this sharing or stealing could quickly destroy the cable TV business. Similar trends already have gutted the music and news industries, Money magazine reports.

The analysts argue password sharing is already “the most significant cause of the declining pay TV subscriber base.” They compare the current situation to a time when people rigged access to cable with “illegal cable drops, third-party set tops and reprogrammed satellite cards.” Revenues returned only when the industry cracked down.

Of course, no one likes to be called a crook. Millennials might counter that the situation isn’t totally black and white. The music industry has evolved, and sharing streaming TV passwords isn’t clearly against the rules. Passwords for the streaming service HBO Now, for instance, are limited to a household, but the company has been vague about what that means. Netflix, Amazon and others all have policies that similarly attempt to both acknowledge and limit sharing.

The solution, the analysts say, is for companies to adopt tougher rules with emphasis on “authentication limits” – restrictions on how many people can use a log in at the same time. Some sites like Netflix and Hulu already do this.

The analysts acknowledge the scope of the problem – and the fact that it’s not just millennials. People of all ages have used or allowed others to use content passwords, they note.