Archive for December, 2009

Here at MADD at the end of the year I always have two trains of thought going and I decided why not converge them – hey after all it is the end of the year.

First, MADD Nebraska appreciates the more than 1,600 supporters we have currently. Our supporters are truly our life-blood and work across the state would never get accomplished without our great volunteers, supporters and safety partners.  With that said, I would like to encourage you to become a member and donate $20.00 to MADD Nebraska

The moneys stays here to help those impacted by drunk driving, secure sound policy measures and continue our Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving.  Our MADD State Chair, Dana McCown said at the Tie One On For Safety press conference “it is more than a Campaign it should be our way of life.”

I don’t think anyone can argue with that statement.  Prior to December 31, 2009 get your check out and send us a contribution – we will Make A Dinference Daily with it! Thank you for your support.

OK the second thought is to remind everyone one more time that the holiday season is a time to celebrate safe, sober and buckled up. Make a plan to get home and if your plans don’t pan out then use the TAXI service if it is in your area.

Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving - Make the right call.

Those in Omaha and Lincoln who celebrate the holidays by imbibing a little too much can avoid the risk of drinking and driving, thanks to free taxi service offered by a couple of law firms.

Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf and Lathrop of Omaha is again sponsoring its Safe Ride Home program. Started in 1990, the program is simple: Anyone who attends a holiday party through New Year’s Eve and becomes too intoxicated to drive safely can call Happy Cab in Omaha for a ride home. Hauptman will pick up the cab fare.

 A Lincoln law firm, Friedman Law Offices, provides the same service in Nebraska’s capital city. In Lincoln, partygoers are asked to call 402-474-SAFE between the hours of 9 p.m. and 1 a.m. through Dec. 31 for a free cab ride home.

There you go – my two cents and my appreciation to all whom have helped MADD meet our mission:  to stop drunk driving, support victims of this violent crime and prevent underage drinking..


MADD Nebraska would like to recognize  State Operations Council Member, Marcie Hagerty, formerly a Deputy County Attorney with the Lancaster County,  she did a great job of not only winning on the motion, but of getting the right case to appeal and seeing that a good record was made. You can see that by reading the opinion.  The experts were among the best.  MADD Nebraska understands that this was a team effort involving many in and out of the state. 

Nebraska Supreme Court


  • In part, the court wrote: “A law enforcement officer with the training and experience offered by ‘drug recognition expert’ certification is sufficiently qualified to testify, based on his or her evaluation, that a suspect was under the influence of drugs.”

Thanks also goes out to the Attorney General’s staff as they did a masterful job on the appeal, and for funding through the Office of Highway Safety.
One of the greatest things about the decision is that it does not require the full foundational process to qualify the DRE for the opinion. It clearly states that the experience and training that the DRE status represents will qualify the officer to give an opinion. The opinion is unequivocal and unanimous. What a great win for the Lancaster County Attorney and Nebraska. 

Another way to ensure we eliminate impaired driving in our state – thanks to all.

MADD Nebraska would like to take this opportunity to let you know that MADD is holding our 23rd annual “Tie One On For Safety” kick-off and  Governor Dave Heineman and First Lady Sally Ganem will be hosting an open house after the press conference, Tuesday, December 22nd at 9:30. 

It is such a treat to partner with First Lady Sally Ganem, MADD National Board member, and Governor Heineman as we all work to encourage the public to be mindful of the holiday season.  Next week we want to remind everyone to drive safe, sober and always wear your seatbelt throughout the holiday season and the entire year – 2010! 

A few tips for the season: 

Always Designate a Sober Driver 

Never serve alcohol to anyone under 21  

Allow plenty of time between trips as you travel  

Your seatbelt is your best defense against drunk driving 

Make a pledge to drive safe, sober and buckled up in 2010 – for your family! 



Tis the season.......Happy Holidays from MADD.



Boy oh boy have the phones here at the office been ringing like crazy.  I think in the ten years I have worked with MADD we have only canceled the victim impact panel twice.  MADD has a pretty tough line on this we are pretty much like the mailman “come rain or shine” but we are a traffic safety non-profit and we certainly do not want to put individuals at risk by driving in inclement weather.


 There is not a MADD victim impact panel tonight on Tuesday, December 8th, 2009.  The church closes when the school closes but even so MADD still would have canceled because we would not ask our volunteers to be out in this weather, our volunteer speakers or those that need to attend – asking individuals to travel in this weather would pose a public safety hazard and MADD is ALL for safe driving.


You can find the next MADD victim impact panel at our website: 

Drive safe, sober and buckled up!


To each a happy holiday, safe driving and always remember to wear your seatbelt, designate a sober driver and never serve to anyone under 21. 

Squadron commander receives Nebraska Admiralship

by 2nd Lt. Ken Scholz
55th Wing Public Affairs

First Lady Sally Ganem presents Admiralship

12/1/2009 – OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. (AFNS) — A special ceremony for Maj. Dana McCown’s promotion to lieutenant colonel Nov. 24 became much more as Nebraska first lady Sally Ganem took to the podium during the ceremony..

The wife of Nebraska governor Dave Heineman bestowed Colonel McCown with an Admiralship in the Great Navy of Nebraska for the colonel’s personal commitment to the Mothers Against Drunk Driving organization.

“It is truly an honor and a privilege to present this award to Dana McCown,” said Ms. Ganem.

The award, Nebraska’s highest honor, carries with it no real military title, pay or duties, but is an honorary title bestowed by the governor to those who have benefitted the state.  The award recognizes individuals who go above and beyond to help the citizens of Nebraska, said Ms. Ganem.

Sim Reynolds, executive director of MADD Nebraska, said Colonel McCown attended a MADD training program about a year ago. Since then, Ms. Reynolds said, the colonel has brought passion, leadership and spirit to the organization and her talks have helped educate thousands about the dangers of drunk driving.

In June 2007, Colonel McCown and her sister, Michele Pennington, lost their mother and father in a drunk driving accident in Florida.

“It was a year plus, when I later joined MADD,” the colonel said. “MADD Nebraska took us in as family, hey were sincere in their empathy and caring.”

“Dana McCown is success,” said the colonel’s long-time mentor and friend Maj. Gen. Polly Peyer, commander of Warner Robins Air Logistics Center at Robins Air Force Base, Ga. “She’s sincere, understanding, caring; she communicates, has experience, sets the standard and shares.”

Colonel McCown has participated in numerous victim impact panels, fundraisers and family events, as well as shared her experience through locally televised public service announcements.

“Sometimes volunteers don’t get the recognition they deserve,” Ms. Ganem said, “but because of the impact Dana’s had on the citizens of Nebraska with her involvement with MADD, we wanted to make sure she was recognized.”

The new lieutenant colonel, a Bowling Green, Ky., native, entered the Air Force more than 22 years ago as an enlisted Airman. She was recently appointed chairwoman of the executive state operations council of MADD Nebraska and now has joined the prestigious ranks of the Nebraska Admiralty as well.

“I feel like I’ve gotten so much more out of MADD than what I’ve given,” Colonel McCown said.