Greater Omaha Packing Company, founded in 1920 knows its way around the beef world, selling its high-quality wholesale beef, steaks and hamburger to 70 countries worldwide. Henry Davis is the CEO and owner of Greater Omaha, processing 2400 head of the highest quality Angus and Hereford cattle from the heart of the corn belt of the United States. U.S. beef had not been allowed into mainland China for more than 13 years, but after a lot of hard work from our representatives at the State and Federal levels, and a visit by Chairman Xi Jinping of China in April of 2017 to Mar-a-Lago Florida for a meeting with President Trump the two leaders agreed to re-open beef trade from the U.S. into the mainland within 100 daysâ€™ time. In May of 2017 the long-awaited deal was agreed to by both countries, allowing U.S. beef into mainland China, Greater Omaha Packing moved quickly to become one of the first beef companies to ship its beef into China. Greater Omaha was already shipping to 69 other countries so meeting the Beef Export Verification Program requirements by China was an easier task than for other beef packers. Since that first air shipment of USDA Prime beef into China, Greater Omaha has taken great measures to ensure a consistent supply of great tasting beef continues to flow into China. Since June we have made three trips to China, visiting our new and potential customers, exploring new Chinese cuisine like hot pot, as well as some well-established steak houses such as Mortonâ€™s in Shanghai. Greater Omaha has also added new talent to its sales force hiring a Chinese speaking marketing specialist, a recent graduate of U.N.L. who had come to Nebraska from Xian, China to study, and has now made Omaha her home.
FROM GREA TO THE GRE
ATER OMAHA EAT WALL...
With a population of over 1.3 billion people, China has the potential to become a major market for Greater Omaha Packing as well as influencing the economy of Nebraska. Agriculture is Nebraska’s number one economic driver and beef is our number one agriculture product. Beef trade with China will positively impact all aspects of the agricultural economy from ranchers and farmers to truck drivers and adding other jobs. In China you can find Greater Omaha’s beef on E commerce sites like JD.com, as well as other e commerce platforms, in high end retail stores and restaurants in Beijing, the capital of China, and other major cities like Shanghai and Guangzhou. Using this distribution channel, consumer ready packages are completely manufactured at Greater Omaha’s 30th and “L” Street facility are delivered to end users in China with no further processing. Several of Greater Omaha’s Chinese customers have stated that the Greater Omaha brand is the best known and most respected American beef brand in their country. Opening a new market is always challenging. Greater Omaha is proud that it now exports to 70 countries more than twice as many countries as any other single beef plant. Visit GreaterOmaha.com or call 402-731-1700 for more information.
22112 Quail Circle, Elkhorn
Magnificent 5 BR, 6 car, 6 BA home with addl 2424 sq f t in the unfinished full walk-out basement. 2 fireplaces, tall ceilings, huge windows, and elevator ser ving all 3 levels. Nice landscaped lot on quiet cul-de-sac.
Melissa Jarecke • 402-680-2887
610 S 76 St, Omaha
Something special! T his unique 6 BR , 4 BA , wi th over 6, 2 0 0 fsf is privately situated on almost one full acre. The home has been transformed into a model of genuine classic design.
Mickey Sodoro • 402-677-9495
20949 State St, Omaha
Tiffany Gray • 402-677-1635
Cus tom Regency townhome designed impeccably by S tan Howe. Incredibly open and inviting. Super rare find and way ahead of it ’s time! Oversized great room wi th soaring ceilings and beautiful view of ultra-private and serene backyard.
Susan Hancock • 402-215-7700
The Rensch Group • 402-391-5333
2027 205th Trail, Mondamin, IA
Turnkey facilities for livestock. 93x36 ft Harlan Builders pole style metal building with 1 bedroom, 1 bath living quarters, 6 stalls, shop area, and outside hay storage. Approx 85 scenic acres in Loess Hills w/ 4 fenced small pastures and hillside pastures.
980 Cty Road W-S-1179, Fremont
Totally remodeled 3 BR, 3 BA lake house. Heated floors, high end kitchen appliances, remote control blinds, hot tub, oversized heated and cooled garage, steel siding. Come live in paradise. Woodcliff has one full time restaurant and 2 seasonal restaurants.
Susan Hancock • 402-215-7700
9978 Fieldcrest Dr, Omaha
Birchwood Homes presents the executive “Trenton” 1.5 story plan with “Craftsman” front. AMA. Under Construction! This home features a main floor master suite, 3 second flr bedrooms-all ensuite, gourmet kitchen, huge 3 car side load garage and more!
Your Home Team • 402-426-5619
This 6 acre property comes with breathtaking views, a white picket fence and a newer 2800 sq ft outbuilding. The impressive 4 BR, 3 BA home features updated kitchen, granite counters and beautiful hardwood floors.
10707 S 174 Ave, Omaha
11406 S 120 Ave, Papillion
14 Ginger Cove Rd, Valley
Royal Homes walkout ranch on private wooded lot. 10 & 11 ft ceilings, Bosch appliances, Quartz countertops, covered deck, 4 bedrooms & flex room. Certified highperformance home. Interior photos are of similar floor plan.
Huge 0.69 acre double lot, lake front w/sand beach on the main lake. Fabulous views and abundant wild life. Tons of windows. Spacious kitchen. Walkout basement. Boat storage garage. Property could be divided.
John Greguska • 402-612-0594
Sandra May • 402-981-4042
2329 S 219 St, Omaha
Stunning CROWN, LTD 1.5 story in The Prairies! Spacious kitchen w/ hidden pantry, dramatic 18 foot stone fireplace in great room! Large 1,230 SF garage with floor drain. 95% effic. furnace & 14 SEER A /C.
Sandie McPadden • 402-871-5343
2 2114 Cedar Cir, Elkhorn
$ 579,0 0 0
H3 Custom Homes original is a lush modern farmhouse & pinnacle of luxury. Stunning great room with 10-ft ceilings, massive kitchen, 2 owner entries, and posh master suite with a spa-like bath. Rendering is of a similar home.
Kristen Wehner Jacobsen • 402-330-5008
12349 S 78 St, Papillion
Beautiful Shadow Lake ranch - builders personal home w/ high quality throughout. The main level has carpet and tile floors, 2 bedrooms along with an office/bedroom, and features a fireplace and a security system.
Brenda Hamre • 402-659-3157
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contents THE USUAL SUSPECTS
Nebraska Chinese Association board members from left: Grant Wu, Hong Zheng, May Yap, Jun White, Linda Steele, Li Li, Sarah Luo, Qiuming Zhu, Ping Ye, Jenny McAtee
From the Editor
Between the Lines
Calendar of Events
History 35 Years of Change in Omaha
113 Obviously Omaha Local Speak-Easies
137 Explore! 141 Instagram 142 Not Funny
Remember the Maine!
ARTS + CULTURE
38 42 54 114
KISS AN ENDANGERED FISH
Music David Nance
Art Reggie LeFlore
Theater Laura Leininger-Campbell
Zines Omaha Zine Fest
Gen O Dancer Madison Chizek
Profile Archivist Bill Gonzalez
In the News Judge Steve Grasz
How Volunteers are Helping to Save Pallid Sturgeon Bragging Rights
WE’VE GOT OMAHA COVERED
Profile Jerry Murtaugh: The Nebraska Greats Foundation
35 Years of Omaha Magazine Covers Cover
OMAHA’S FORGOTTEN CHINATOWN
Lunar New Year, On Leong Tong, King Fong’s, and More Sports
THE HORSES ARE BACK! 2018 International Omaha MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 4 / OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM
Augmented content above!
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AUGMENTED REALITY 60PLUS IN OMAHA
On Your Digital Device
Active Living Punching Back Against Parkinson’s
ABOUT THE COVER Downtown Omaha once featured a small Chinatown. Omaha Magazine imagines how the local Chinatown would look today if it hadn’t vanished. Senior Graphic Designer Derek Joy illustrated a Chinatown gate with Omaha’s iconic First National Tower over the horizon. The gate features “奧馬哈” (which translates to “Omaha” in traditional Chinese characters). Other cover headlines appear translated in street signs. Translations by Michele Fan. The cover opens to an ad for Greater Omaha Packing and the company’s big China news in 2017.
Hard Rock Hunting
Remember the Big Joe Polka Show?
Alicia Sancho Scherich
Breaking the Silence of Osteoporosis
Watch videos and view photo galleries of select stories from this issue of Omaha Magazine for FREE.
DINING 116 Feature
Chaima: West African in West Omaha
Saddle Creek Breakfast Club’s Chase Thomsen
Swartz’s Delicatessen & Bagels
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126 Dining Guide
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116 MARCH // APRIL • 2018
/ 5 / BESTOFOMAHA.COM
ENJOY YOUR EXPERIENCE Watch, click, shop, explore!
FROM THE EDITOR EXECUTIVE EDITOR DOUG MEIGS
THE YEAR OF THE DOG
ow. Wow. Holy cow.
2018 is a major milestone for Omaha Magazine. The current issue marks the first edition in our 36th volume— the completion of 35 years of local magazine publishing. Publisher Todd Lemke started in local magazine publishing with City Slicker in March 1983. After City Slicker, he merged with Our City Magazine. When he realized the copyright for Omaha Magazine had become available, he snapped up the brand. Omaha Magazine has been his flagship publication ever since. However, that doesn’t mean it’s his only title. Omaha Magazine staff (and the website omahamagazine.com) produce a host of titles that include Encounter, B2B Magazine, Family Guide, OmahaHome, and many more that have come and gone over the years. 2018 is also Year of the Dog in the Chinese zodiac. The lunar zodiac features a 12-year cycle with 12 corresponding animals. Legend has it that the animals are ordered according to their finish in a mythological race across a river. Rat finished first because he rode on top of Ox’s head and jumped onto the opposite shore (followed by Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig). The Lunar New year officially began on Friday, Feb. 16. Traditionally, the holiday is the year’s most important occasion for Chinese families all over the world. It’s like Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter all rolled together. After celebrating the occasion with loved ones, many Chinese families residing in the Omaha metro will celebrate again on March 3 with the Nebraska Chinese Association’s Lunar New Year Gala at Burke High School. More than 30 percent of the attendance, organizers say, comes from local folks who are not Chinese. Everyone is welcome. But tickets must be purchased in advance. Find out more details in this issue’s Calendar of Events. The occasion is the 10th consecutive Lunar New Year gala hosted by the Nebraska Chinese Association (formerly the Omaha Chinese Culture Association).
But of course, the local Chinese community dates back much longer than 10 years. There has been a Chinese demographic segment of Omaha’s population since the mid-1800s. The March/April issue* of Omaha Magazine explores that history with a series of connected stories that probe the forgotten history of Omaha’s Chinatown, a Chinese community timeline leading up to today, and the story of two buildings that provide a tangible link to the past: King Fong Cafe (currently under renovation) and the last site of the local branch of the On Leong Tong (recognized in late 2017 on the National Register of Historic Places). This in-depth package of stories on Omaha’s Chinese community is also special for me on a personal level. I lived in the Chinese territory of Hong Kong for five years, and my wife is Chinese from the former British colony. Our daughter was born in Omaha in 2017 (the Year of the Chicken), and her biracial heritage means that the ongoing story of Omaha’s Chinese-American narrative is our story, too. I was born in Omaha (in the Year of the Ox) and I can trace my American lineage back through generations of immigrants to North America since before the American Revolutionary War. Although my wife is a more recent immigrant, our daughter is nothing but American. She has the exact same birthright that I enjoy, as outlined in the U.S. Constitution. It is my hope that she—and anyone else with ties to Omaha’s Chinese community, or anyone simply interested in the history of our city—finds this issue to be a keepsake addition to the family library. Of course, this edition also offers all the great arts and culture stories, dining features, profiles, and so much more that our readers have come to expect. Every issue of Omaha Magazine is a unique record of a point in time for our shared city. In recent years, the company has embraced the motto, “It’s about all of us.” This is truly our mission. Follow us on social media (@omahamagazine on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram) for updates, and subscribe to the magazine at omahamagazine.com/subscribe. Thanks for reading!
*Note: the hotel edition of Omaha Magazine has a different cover, and it does not include all of the editorial content included in the magazine’s full city edition. MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 6 / OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM
MARCH // APRIL 2018 VOLUME 36 // ISSUE 1
EDITORIAL Executive Editor
Managing Editor: B2B Omaha, Family Guide, special projects
DAISY HUTZELL-RODMAN Managing Editor: Encounter
TARA SPENCER Editorial Assistants
WILL PATTERSON · LINDSAY WILSON Editorial Interns
CLAIRE BROMM · MATTHEW BOGSETH Contributing Writers
J.D. AVANT · LEO ADAM BIGA · RYAN BORCHERS BING CHEN · BETTY CHIN · ANTHONY FLOTT · GREG JERRETT LISA LUKECART · SEAN MCCARTHY · CHRIS MCCLELLAN NIZ PROSKOCIL · KARA SCHWEISS · KEVIN SIMONSON MAX SPARBER · OTIS TWELVE · ANNE WALSH · SARAH WENGERT
CREATIVE Creative Director
MATT WIECZOREK Senior Graphic Designer
Graphic Designer II
Graphic Designer I
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Between A LOOK AT FOUR OMAHA MAGAZINE TEAM MEMBERS CLAIRE BROMM - Editorial Intern Born and raised in small town Nebraska, Claire Bromm ventured to Omaha for her college years. She studies journalism, media communications, public relations, and advertising, while minoring in international studies at the University of Nebraska-Omaha (which she hopes will lead to working for a travel agency in the future). After interning at her hometown newspaper and Omaha Magazine, Bromm will graduate in December 2018. Some of her favorite hobbies include traveling, writing for her personal blog, and spending time with family. Since she grew up on a farm, she also loves hanging out with her five pets: three cats of uncertain breed (rescued as stray kittens), a labradoodle, and a mini-golden doodle.
CHRIS MCCLELLAN - Contributing Writer Chris McClellan grew up in Omaha and attended Metropolitan Community College and University of Nebraska-Omaha before receiving a Ph.D. in history and philosophy of science from Notre Dame University. After teaching at Kansas State and Georgia Tech, he returned to Omaha to open Blue Line Coffee in 2003, where he is currently employed. When he’s not baking muffins or roasting coffee, McClellan can usually be found riding his bicycle somewhere in the area or in the hills of some faraway land.
ERIC STOAKES - Managing Editor If you read local media, chances are you’ve heard of Eric Stoakes. He’s been in the journalism game for decades now, working for the Omaha World-Herald, The Reader, Omaha City Weekly, and Omaha Publications, (twice) where he is currently the managing editor of Encounter. In 2002, he helped found Medium Magazine, a culture and creativity publication. To many, he’s also known as “the guy who does all the fashion shows” and the creator of Project: Puppy Pageant. His love for dogs has no bounds, and he lives in his own Dundee tower with his three chihuahuas: Petey, Bullet, and Coco Chanel. His love for people is a little more selective, but most will agree if he considers you a friend he will do anything to help you and push you to be your best self.
ANNE WALSH - Contributing Writer The internet didn’t exist, TV had only three channels, and she was asthmatic. That combination led Anne Walsh to a childhood love of words and books, culminating in a journalism degree from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. As the oldest of seven kids, she naturally likes to herd people. That trait came in handy when she became editor of The Gateway, then president of the Association of Railway Communicators and the Omaha Press Club. Walsh retired in 2016 after a 31-year career at Union Pacific Railroad, where she led the employee communications team. She now writes for Legacy Preservation and is a board member of two nonprofits: A Time To Heal (which offers free recovery programs for cancer survivors) and HELP Adult Services (which rents health equipment at a fraction of the retail cost). Walsh is a Trekkie, Monty Python enthusiast, horse lover, and a first-time grandma.
MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 8 / OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM
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C A L E N D A R 8
I SEE THAT FABLE DIFFERENTLY: SELECTIONS FROM CREIGHTON UNIVERSITY’S CARLSON FABLE COLLECTION
Through April 29 at Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge St. This exhibition will examine a dozen of Aesop’s fables with a variety of objects from printed materials to ceramic dishware, assemblage sculpture, and a set of nesting dolls. A companion exhibition will be viewable at Creighton’s Lied Art Gallery. Admission: free. 402-342-3300. —joslyn.org
WORD/PLAY: PRINTS, PHOTOGRAPHS, AND PAINTINGS BY ED RUSCHA
Through May 6 at Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge St. The first major exhibition featuring Ruscha in his home state of Nebraska, Word/Play brings together prints, photographs, and artist books, complemented by a selection of major paintings. Ruscha’s use of the written word is a signature element of his work. Tickets: $10 general, $5 students with valid ID, free to members and youth (17 and under). 402-342-3300. —joslyn.org
ART & MUSEUM EXHIBITS NANCY FRIEDEMANN-SANCHEZ
Through March 8 at Fred Simon Gallery, 1004 Farnam St., lower level. Friedemann-Sanchez describes her art as “a bicultural and transcultural experience” as it focuses on her migration from Colombia to the United States. Admission: free. 402-595-2122. —artscouncil.nebraska.gov
THREE GENERATIONS OF WOMEN PHOTOGRAPHERS
Through March 10 at El Museo Latino, 4701 S. 25th St. This exhibit features Lola Álvarez Bravo, her student Mariana Yampolsky, and photographer Cristina Kahlo. All three have ties to Frida Kahlo. Admission: $5 general, $4 students, $3.50 seniors and children K-12, and free to members. 402-731-1137. —elmuseolatino.org
OPEN HOUSE/OPEN STUDIOS
March 10 at Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts 724 S. 12th St. Current artists-in-residence and 2018 curator-in-residence Taraneh Fazeli will give brief presentations about their artistic and curatorial practices. The event includes live performance, a chance to visit the artist-in-residence live/work studios, and participation in an all-ages art activity. Noon. Admission: free. 402-341-7130. —bemiscenter.org
METAMORPHOSIS: WORKS BY SAYAKA GANZ AND AURORA ROBSON
Through March 23 at K ANEKO, 1111 Jones St. Visual art, performances, lectures, youth education, and hands-on creative experiences will empower visitors to see the world in a whole new light. Admission: free. 402-341-3800. —thekaneko.org
Through May 13 at Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St. This exhibit is constructed of found, recycled, and reused plastic objects. Equal parts artistic and educational, it will feature fine art accompanied by a message of environmental stewardship. Admission: $10 adults, $5 for children 6-12, free for garden members and children under 6. 402-346-4002. —lauritzengardens.org
NEBRASKA SIXTY-FIVE PLUS
Through March 25 at Gallery 1516, 1516 Leavenworth St. More than 65 pieces of art from artists age 65 and older will be on display at this exhibition dedicated to artist Dan Boylan, who passed away in 2017. Admission: free (but donations encouraged). 402-305-1510. —gallery1516.org
OIL AND WATER
Through March 31 at Artists’ Cooperative, 405 S. 11th St. View artwork from local painters Linda Hatfield and Katrina MethotSwanson, both of whom use vibrant colors in their work. Admission: free. 402-342-9617. —artistscoopomaha.com
FIGHTING FOR THE RIGHT TO FIGHT: AFRICAN-AMERICAN EXPERIENCES IN WORLD WAR II
Through July 15 at Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St. The exhibit features artifacts, photographs, and oral histories to highlight some of the extraordinary achievements and challenges of African-Americans during World War II, both overseas and at home. March Admission: $11 adults, $8 seniors (62+), $7 children (3-12), and free to children age 2 and under and members. 402-444-5071. —durhammuseum.org
Through April 15 at Omaha Children’s Museum, 500 S. 20th St. This national exhibit explores sustainability, selective harvesting, transportation needs, and the everyday products made from trees. Admission: $12 adults and children over 2, $11 seniors, free to members and children under 24 months. 402-342-6164. —ocm.org MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 11 / BESTOFOMAHA.COM
OMAHA MAGAZINE | CALENDAR
WOMEN IN OMAHA: A BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF PERSISTENCE THROUGH HISTORY
Through July 29 at Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St. The Durham Museum is partnering with the University of Nebraska-Omaha’s History Department and Service Learning Academy to produce an immersive, interdisciplinary experience focused on Nebraska women and their experience in the Midwest. Admission: $11 adults, $8 seniors (62+), $7 children (3-12), and free to children age 2 and under and members. 402-444-5071. —durhammuseum.org
March 3 at KANEKO, 1111 Jones St. Join reiki healers under the immersive light installation, “TRIPH.”Get ready for spring and emerge with a wholeness in body, mind, ands pirit. 11:30 a.m. Tickets: $20. 402-341-3800. —thekaneko.org
WYNKEN, BLYNKEN, AND NOD
SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE CASE OF THE MISSING MUSIC
Through March 4 at The Rose Theater, 2001 Farnam St. Performed by The Rose Theater and told through nonverbal, creative movement, the words of Eugene Field’s poem come alive as children sail through the stars while on a fishing trip. Times vary. Tickets: $12. 402-345-4849. —rosetheater.org
OMAHA IN THE ANTHROPOCENE
Starting March 10 at Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St. This collaborative exhibit centers on the material history of the Anthropocene using objects from the collection of The Durham Museum in partnership with Creighton University’s History Department. The Anthropocene is the Earth’s most recent geologic time period as influenced by humans. Admission: $11 adults, $8 seniors (62+), $7 children (3-12), and free to children age 2 and under and members. 402-444-5071. —durhammuseum.org
CENTERED: R EIKI LIGHT & VIBRATIONAL SOUND HEALING
March 1-3 at the Weber Fine Arts Building, 6505 University Drive S. Go inside the mind of a feminist during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror. This “testament to solidarity” explores what could happen if four powerful women got together to oust a tyrant. Times vary. Tickets: $6-$16, free to UNO students. 402-554-3857. —unomaha.edu
Through March 11 at Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St. This Tony Award-winning musical is based on the trial of a Jewish man wrongfully accused of murder in Marietta, Georgia, in 1913. Times vary. Tickets: $42+ adults, $25+ students. 402-553-0800. —omahaplayhouse.com
March 4 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. The game is afoot and Sherlock Holmes is on the case when the orchestra’s melody goes missing. All are suspect as Sherlock investigates great music, including Gershwin’s An American in Paris, Mancini’s The Pink Panther, and Shostakovich’s Festive Overture. Can he solve the mystery in time to save the concert? 2 p.m. Tickets: $15. 402-345-0606. —ticketomaha.com
SIRO-A THE TECHNO CIRCUS
March 8 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. Experience a mesmerizing mix of technology and theater. The company fuses mime, dance, visual effects, and a techno soundtrack. 7 p.m. Tickets: $20-$42. 402-345-0606. —ticketomaha.com
Through March 11 at The Rose Theater, 2001 Farnam St. This production features a community brought together by the work of one girl as she tries to turn the lot next to her house into a garden. Times vary. Tickets: $20. 402-345-4849. —rosetheater.org
March 17-July 29 at Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St. This exhibit takes visitors on an immersive, educational role-play that asks them to conquer one great challenge: survive the year as one of the original Jamestown colonists. Admission: $11 adults, $8 seniors (62+), $7 children (3-12), and free to children age 2 and under and members. 402-444-5071. —durhammuseum.org
BEMIS ARTTALK, RECEPTION, AND SERIES
March 22-June 2 at Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, 724 South 12th St. Sick Time, Sleepy Time, Crip Time: Against Capitalism’s Temporal Bullying focuses on how the body is articulated in various discourses oriented around health. Additionally, an associated program series entitled The Warp and Weft of Care will occur as a dialogue between many of the artists in the exhibition and local communities of care, with some events open to the public taking place at Bemis and other closed-door collaborations occurring off-site at partner organizations. Admission: free. 402-341-7130. —bemiscenter.org
DIA DEL NIÑO / DAY OF THE CHILD
April 28 at El Museo Latino, 4701 S. 25th St. This day is to celebrate and recognize children. The museum will have special activities and exhibits just for children. 12 p.m. Admission: Free. 402-731-1137. —elmuseolatino.org
MUSICAL THRONES: A PARODY OF ICE AND FIRE
March 2 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. This musical brings the most beloved and hated characters to life as it journeys through a ll six seasons of the Game of Thrones T V series. Tickets: $20-$45. 8 p.m. 402-345-0606. —ticketomaha.com
MOVEMENT: W HEN V ISIBLE
March 2-3 at K A NEKO, 1111 Jones St. April An o riginal d ance p erformance, When Visible e xplores t he p resence a nd a bsence o f light a nd the p ower i t h as t o i lluminate and a bsorb p erceptions o f f eelings a nd r eality. 8 p.m. Tickets: $10 adults, $5 students, free to members and children. 402-341-3800. —thekaneko.org
Stage Performances COMEDY SHOWS
ELEGIES FOR ANGELS, PUNKS, AND RAGING QUEENS
Recurring Thursdays-Saturdays at The Backline Comedy Theatre, 1618 Harney St. Primarily longform improv, the Backline also hosts standup shows, short-form improv shows, and occasionally sketch shows. INTERROGATED, the Backline’s premiere show, recurs every Friday. Times vary. Admission: $3-5 Thursday, $5-10 Friday and Saturday. 402-720-7670. —backlinecomedy.com
ROALD DAHL’S JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH
March 2-25 at Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St. James and the Giant Peach is a brandnew musical telling the story of a young orphan who accidentally drops magic crystals by an old peach tree. Times vary. Tickets: $24-$50. 402-553-0800. —omahaplayhouse.com
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March 8-April 1 at SNAP! Productions, 3225 California St. This celebration of lives lost to AIDS is told in free verse monologues with a blues, jazz, and rock score. This popular show was performed in Omaha in 1999 and is back by popular demand. 8 p.m., Thursday-Saturday. 6 p.m., Sunday. Tickets: $20 general, $15 for seniors, students and TAG members, $12 on Thursdays. 402-341-2757. —snapproductions.com
CELTIC JOURNEY: THE RETURN
March 10-11 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Authentic Irish music, dance, and storytelling join forces with the orchestra to revive the majesty and charm of Celtic culture. “Danny Boy,” “Galway Bay,” and “The Last Rose of Summer” never sounded so moving and magnificent. Times vary. Tickets: $19-$89. 402-345-0606. —ticketomaha.com
March 14-15 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. The international Irish dance phenomenon is back by popular demand on their 20th Anniversary World Tour. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $41-$61. 402-345-0606. —ticketomaha.com
March 15 at the Opollo, 6052 Maple St. This jazz-inspired, spoken word poetry open mic night runs until 9:30 p.m. and is hosted by Withlove, Felicia. 7:30 p.m. Admission: $10. 402-210-3386. —withlovefelicia.weebly.com
BONNIE AND CLYDE
SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE
April 13-May 6 at Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St. While the government threatens to close all theaters, young Will Shakespeare suffers from writer’s block, as his muse Viola disguises herself as a man to pursue her dreams of being an actor. Based on the film of the same title. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $24-$50 402-553-0800. —omahaplayhouse.com
March 2 at Baxter Arena, 2425 S. 67th St. This Christian hip-hop recording artist has charted 20 solo singles on Billboard ’s Christian Songs list. TobyMac is also a music producer, songwriter, and author. 7 p.m. Tickets: $15-$69.75. 402-554-6200. —omavs.com
March 2-3 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Roderick Cox will conduct the Omaha Symphony in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 and Mozart’s Symphony No. 40, with Stewart Goodyear as pianist. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $19-$72. 402-345-0606. —ticketomaha.com
March 21-25 at the Lied Education Center for the Arts, 2500 California Plaza, No. 101. Creighton’s theater department will host a musical reimagining the criminal duo Bonnie and Clyde and their crime spree. They have been immortalized in folk stories since the Great Depression when they tore across the country. Times vary. Tickets: $18 adults, $15 senior citizens, $5 students and Creighton staff. 402-280-1448. —creighton.edu
March 22 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. An Argentinian troupe brings malambo dance to Omaha. Through fast-paced footwork and explosive drumming, the company celebrates the South American cowboy tradition of the gaucho. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $20-$40. 402-345-0606. —ticketomaha.com
BEETHOVEN AND MOZART
April 13-22 at KANEKO, 1111 Jones St. Opera Omaha presents this show, set in the brutal early years of postCivil War Nebraska. A mother is pushed to the brink as her family is pulled apart by loss and isolation. Performed in English. Times vary. Tickets: $60. 402-341-3800. —thekaneko.org
PIGEONS PLAYING PING PONG
March 3 at The Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. This funk band’s existence is rooted in the unyielding quest for joy and positive energy. 9 p.m. Tickets: $15 advance, $17 day of show. 402-884-5353. — waitingroomlounge.com
BROADWAY AND FILM BRASS CONCERT
March 3 at First Central Congregational Church, 421 S. 36th St. Join the MasterSingers of Omaha and the Nebraska Brass Band with music taken from Broadway and film. The program promises to be entertaining and enjoyable. 7 p.m. Tickets: $10. 402-704-6322. —nebraskabrassband.com
March 8 at CenturyLink Center, 455 N. 10th St. The Grammy-winning country singer embarks on her North American tour with other up-and-coming artists. Her Omaha performance includes guests Jon Pardi and Sunny Sweeney. 7 p.m. Tickets: $39.75 and up. 800-745-3000. —centurylinkcenteromaha.com
March 22-April 15 at Bluebarn Theatre, 1106 S. 10th St. During the ’70s, painter Jamie Wyeth did a series of studies and paintings of Rudolf Nureyev, the legendary ballet dancer who defected from Russia and revitalized Western ballet. This play imagines what their relationship may have been like. Times vary. Tickets: $30 general, $25 students, seniors age 65+, TAG members. 402-345-1576. —bluebarn.org
WONDERLAND: ALICE’S ROCK & ROLL ADVENTURE
March 23-April 8 at the Rose Theater, 2001 Farnam St. Get ready to look down a different rock ’n’ roll rabbit hole in this contemporary, reimagining of the classic Lewis Carroll tale. Times vary. Tickets: $25. 402-345-4849. —rosetheater.org
DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD LIVE: KING FOR A DAY
March 31 at Orpheum Theatre, 409 S. 16th St. Based on the PBS Kids TV series, this hugely popular musical is back for little tigers and grown-ups alike to enjoy. 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Tickets: $30.25-$80.25. 402-345-0606. —ticketomaha.com
April 7 at CenturyLink Center, 455 N. 10th St. This comedy and ventriloquist act comes to Omaha after previously appearing on shows such as The Late Show with David Letterman, Comedy Central Presents, and The Tonight Show. Tickets: $49.50 and up. 5 p.m. 800-745-3000. —centurylinkcenteromaha.com
THREE TO BEAM UP
THE HOT SARDINES
March 8 at The Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. In 2008, Ingram won the Academy of Country Music award for “Best New Male Vocalist” and is on tour for his latest album, Big Dreams & High Hopes. 7 p.m. Tickets: $20. 402-884-5353. — waitingroomlounge.com
April 20, 22 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. Opera Omaha joins Ireland’s Wexford Festival Opera for a striking new production of this dark chapter of Greek mythology. Performed in Italian with English supertitles. Tickets: $19-$99. Times vary. 402-345-0606. —ticketomaha.com
April 20-May 13 at Shelterbelt Theatre, 3225 California St. John Wisher believes it is the 23rd century, and he is the captain of the USS Valkyries starship. He goes missing again when he hears an alien voice calling him elsewhere. His children, Sam and Jules, go looking for their missing father and try to keep his mind back on Earth. 8 p.m., Thursday-Saturday. 6 p.m., Sunday. Tickets: $20 general, $15 students, seniors age 65+, and TAG members; $12 special on Thursdays. 402-341-2757. —shelterbelt.org
March 8 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. This New York-based group blends a fusion of 1920s jazz with New Orleans-style brass. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $17-$42. 402-345-0606. —ticketomaha.com
CONCERTS GAELIC STORM
March 1 at Iowa Western Community College, 2700 College Road, Council Bluf fs. After nearly two decades and more than 3,000 live shows, this chart-topping Celtic band is looking sharper than ever. They are coming to promote their latest release, Matching Sweaters. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $30 and $35 adults, $27 and $32 seniors 65+, $15 youths (18 and under). 712-388-7140. —artscenter.iwcc.edu
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March 8 at Strauss Performing Arts Center, 6305 University Drive N. This small ensemble spans three continents and is recognized by many to be one of the foremost clarinet-violin-piano ensembles performing today. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $8-$15. 402-345-0606. —ticketomaha.com
March 9 at The Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. Inspired by Garth Brooks, Foo Fighters, George Jones, and Blink-182, this artist infuses rock elements into his unique brand of country music. 9 p.m. Tickets: $10 advance, $12 day of show. 402-345-7569. —theslowdown.com
OMAHA MAGAZINE | CALENDAR
JOANNE SHAW TAYLOR
March 10 at Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave. Joanne Shaw Taylor is bringing her world-renowned blues-rock performances to the Reverb Lounge. She’s taking her tour worldwide after establishing herself in the United Kingdom. This latest tour features music from her latest album, Wild. 8:30 p.m. Tickets: $20. 402-884-5707. —reverblounge.com
March 16 at The Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. This Canadian pop singer has sold out tours around the world and earned $100 million in streams and $200,000 in album sales. 9 p.m. Tickets: $26 advance, $29 day of show. 402-884-5353. — waitingroomlounge.com
COME TOGETHER BAND: A MUSICAL CELEBRATION OF THE BEATLES
March 10 at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St. No glitz, glamour, or huge stage production. These down-toearth lads celebrate the music of The Beatles, up front, close and alive. 8:30 p.m. Tickets: $10. 402-884-5353 —waitingroomlounge.com
KID ROCK: GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH
March 17 at CenturyLink Center Omaha, 455 N. 10th St. In celebration of his new album Sweet Southern Sugar, Kid Rock is hitting the road on his “Greatest Show On Earth Tour 2018.” The new album includes country and classic rock, highlighting Kid Rock’s versatility as a musician. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $37-$127. 800-745-3000. —centurylinkcenteromaha.com
BUILT TO SPILL
April 6 at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St. Following their appearance at the 2017 Maha Music Festival, Built to Spill returns to Omaha with their iconic indie-rock tunes. Tickets: $20 advance, $25 day of show. 8 p.m. 402-884-5353. —waitingroomlounge.com
JAMES TORMÉ CELEBRATES THE GREATS
April 6 at IWCC, 2700 College Road Council Bluffs. This jazz vocalist, the son of Mel Torme, infuses classic with contemporary for a unique style. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $26-$36 adults, $23-$33 seniors (age 65+). 712-388-7140. —artscenter.iwcc.edu
CONAN, THE DITCH AND THE DELTA, AND RIFFLORD
March 12 at Lookout Lounge, 320 S. 72nd St. This doom metal trio from the U.K. is coming to Omaha. Expect to hear lots of hard-hitting music with gloomy themes. 9 p.m. Tickets: $8 in advance, $10 day of show. 402-391-2554. —lookoutomaha.com
THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS
March 14 at The Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. This alternative, indie-rock band formed back in 1982 are on tour celebrating their newest album, I Like Fun. 8 p.m. Tickets: $25. 402-345-7569. —theslowdown.com
March 15 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Guided by deep jazz traditions, this show—Experiment In Truth—Marie uses elements of folk, R&B, classical, and country music. Tickets: $30. 7:30 p.m. 402-345-0606. —ticketomaha.com
MENDELSSOHN’S REFORMATION SYMPHONY
March 18 at Joslyn Museum, 2200 Dodge St. This symphony evokes the world of night with muted horns and strings while the tenor offers English poetry, exploring dreamscapes both beautiful and haunting. 2 p.m. Tickets: $33 general admission, $27 Joslyn members. 402-345-0606. —ticketomaha.com
March 23 at Sokol Auditorium, 2234 S. 13th St. Touring in support of their newest album, Yesterdays, Pennywise welcomes back original vocalist Jim Lindberg. Fellow California punk band Strung Out is also performing. 8 p.m. Tickets: $24 advance, $29 day of show. 402-346-9802. —sokolauditorium.com
April 7-8 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Part of Omaha Symphony’s tribute to Leonard Bernstein’s centennial, this concert includes hits from West Side Story, Candide, and On the Town; favorites from his collaborators Stephen Sondheim and Stephen Schwartz, and standards by songwriters who inspired Bernstein. 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $19-$89. 402-345-0606. —ticketomaha.com
TRIBUTE TO DAVID BOWIE
April 9 at Strauss Performing Arts Center, 6305 University Drive N. This Dutch violinist is known March 24 at Holland Performing Arts Center, for her passionate performances, interesting pro1200 Douglas St. Celebrate the legendary David grams, and communicative qualities on stage. Bowie as a full rock band, powerful singers, March 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $8, students, seniors, miland the Omaha Symphony perform all his itary members, $15 adults. 402-345-0606. hits, from “Space Oddity” and “Ziggy Star—ticketomaha.com dust” to “Let’s Dance” and other iconic songs from his illustrious career (including “Fame,” “Under Pressure,” “Young Americans,” and AJR more). 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $19-$89. 402-345-0606. April 10 at The Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. This —ticketomaha.com DIY band from NYC is composed of three brothers who come together to create, write, and produce unique electronic indie-pop music. Tickets: $20 RADNEY FOSTER advance, $25 day of show. 7:15 p.m. 402-345-7569. March 25 at Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave. This —theslowdown.com country music singer-songwriter just released his 11th album, For You To See The Star, and is now on tour in celebration. 5 p.m. Tickets: $20 advance, $25 day of show. 402-884-5707. —reverblounge.com BERNSTEIN & MAHLER’S 4TH SYMPHONY April 13-14 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Presented by the Omaha Symphony, their Bernstein centennial celebration continues with BernNIGHTWISH stein’s expressive showpiece for violin and orchestra and April 2 at Sokol Auditorium, 2234 S. 13th St. Mahler’s Symphony No. 4. Tickets: $19-$72. 402-345-0606. This Finnish metal band will be in Omaha one —ticketomaha.com night only while on their “Decades World Tour.” 8:30 p.m. Tickets: $43-$185.50. 402-346-9802. —sokolauditorium.com
March 15 at Ralston Arena, 7300 Q St. Enjoy The Belles at the Side Room of Ralston Arena. The Belles is an award-winning group comprised of a mother and daughter from Omaha. The singer-songwriters play modern country music. 7-9 p.m. Admission: free. 402-934-9966. —ralstonarena.com
SYMPHONY IN SPACE!
REGGIE AND THE FULL EFFECT
April 3 at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St. This solo project of keyboardist James Dewees from The Get Up Kids has gained an almost cult-like following, thanks in large part to its mythical origin story. Tickets: $15 advance, $17 day of show. 7:30 p.m. 402-884-5353. —waitingroomlounge.com MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 14 / OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM
April 15 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Enlist in Symphonic Starfleet, board the Sonic Spaceship, and engage in intergalactic adventure. Set a course for maximum fun with music from Star Wars, The Planets, and more. 2 p.m. Tickets: $15. 402-345-0606. —ticketomaha.com
through April 15! Exploring the realities of forests through play, families will learn about sustainability, selective harvesting, transportation needs, and the every-day products we use that are made from trees.
KNOW OF A BEAUTIFUL HOME IN OMAHA? LET US KNOW AT
10666 Sapp Bros. Drive Omaha, NE 68138 402-896-9140
Between Exits 439 & 440 on I-80
MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 15 / BESTOFOMAHA.COM
OMAHA MAGAZINE | CALENDAR
OMAHA MAGAZINE | CALENDAR
CIGARETTES AFTER SEX
April 17 at The Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. This ambient pop band aims to project their worldview on a bigger canvas while sustaining a mood that reels you in. 8 p.m. Tickets: $20. 402-884-5353. —waitingroomlounge.com
HYPNOTIC BRASS ENSEMBLE
March 2 – 25 series sponsor:
April 19 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. This band, comprised of the sons of jazz legend Phil Cohran, mixes brass band tradition with generous doses of hiphop, soul, and funk. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $35. 402-345-0606. —ticketomaha.com
A love letter to the stage and human connection.
A world of magic and adventure in a family-friendly musical.
April 13 – May 6 artistic sponsor:
6915 Cass St. | (402) 553-0800 | OmahaPlayhouse.com
Prints, Photographs, and Paintings by Ed Ruscha
Annette and Paul Smith Contributing Sponsors:
Word/Play is the first major exhibition to feature internationally-renowned artist Ed Ruscha in his home state of Nebraska. Prints, photographs, and artist books from the 1960s through 2015 are complemented by a selection of major paintings. Explore Ruscha’s deft talent for combining imagery and text, his incisive reading of the landscapes of the American West, and his ongoing commitment to transforming the mundane into the extraordinary.
Robert H. Storz Foundation
Carol and Steven Bloch Additional support provided by
IMAGE: Ed Ruscha (American, b. 1937), Clarence Jones, 2001, acrylic on canvas, 72 x 124 inches, Phillip Schrager Collection of Contemporary Art, © Ed Ruscha
2200 Dodge St. | Omaha, NE 68102 | (402) 342-3300 | www.joslyn.org MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 16 / OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM
April 19 at Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. Kansas City’s Tech N9ne is one of underground rap’s most respected and well-known artists. Krizz Kaliko, Just Juice, Joey Cool, and King Iso will also be performing. 8 p.m. Tickets: $37 advance, $40 day of show. 402-345-7569. —theslowdown.com
April 23 at Baxter Arena, 2425 S. 67th St. The 12-time Grammy-wining artist is coming to Omaha to promote his third solo album, Boarding House Reach. White has been named one of the greatest guitarists of all time by Rolling Stone, founded the White Stripes, and has performed with The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather. 7 p.m. Tickets: $36.25 to $66.25. 402-554-6200. —omavs.com
OMAHA MAGAZINE | CALENDAR
April 26 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Paying tribute to Miles Davis, this ensemble brings together today’s f inest performers and composers in one of the most exciting and acclaimed groups on the ja zz scene. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $20-$40. 402-345-0606. —ticketomaha.com
26 108th & Center | rockbrookvillage.com
Why Helix is Better
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11025 Elm St. / 402.397.7383 / reveomaha.com
April 28 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. Combining elements of R&B, pop, Latin, and jazz, this Grammy-award-winning icon has solidif ied his reputation as a premier artist in contemporary jazz. 8 p.m. Tickets: $45-$65. 402-345-0606. —ticketomaha.com
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movement, you usetradition more muscles, which MostThe machines work front-toback. Helix turns on means you burn more fat than during back. The Helix turnsWith tradition its side— literally. lateralon a traditional workout—in the same its side-to-side) side— literally. With lateral ( or movement, you amount of time. ( or side-to-side) movement, you use more muscles, which means use which means youmore burn muscles, more fat than during a THANK YOU you burn more fat than during a traditional workout– in the same OMAHA! traditional workout– in the same amount of time. amount of time.
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SUICIDEGIRLS: BLACKHEART BURLESQUE
April 28 at The Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. Smart, geeky, and sexy, the SuicideGirls are on tour again with their burlesque show. This pop-culture-inspired performance has been on tour since 2003. 9 p.m. Tickets: $20 advance, $25 day of show. 402-345-7569. —theslowdown.com MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 17 / BESTOFOMAHA.COM
in Rockbrook Village in Rockbrook Village 10923 prairie brooke rd, omaha, ne 68144 10923 prairie brooke rd, omaha, ne 68144 402.991.2300 402.991.2300
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Family & More OMAHA BEEF 2018 PRESEASON GAME
Four Old Market
March 2 at Ralston Arena, 7300 Q St. Missing football? Arena football starts with this preseason exhibition game, which promises to be lots of fun. 7 p.m. Tickets: $10. 402-934-9966. —ralstonarena.com
BENSON FIRST FRIDAY
March 2 and April 6 in Benson (Maple and 59th to 63rd streets). Art galleries, bars, music venues, a nd cultura l institutions of Benson collaborate on the f irst Friday of ever y month with a showcase of loca l arts and culture. 4 p.m. Recurring the f irst Friday of each month. —bensonf irstfriday.com
FIRST FRIDAY OLD MARKET Unique holiday décor, ornaments, collectibles and gifts for every season.
Chocolates and fudge made in our own kitchen, plus many other sweet temptations.
oTannenbaum.com • 402-345-9627
OldMarketCandy.com • 402-344-8846
March 2 and Apr il 6 at the Ol d Market . Wa lk the distinctive brick streets of the Old Market to live music, ride Ollie the Trolley for free between venues, and ignite your imagination with art at this free event. 6 -9 p.m. Recurring t he f irst Friday of each mont h. —f irstfridayoldmarket.com
2018 CHINESE NEW YEAR GALA
Ma r c h 3 a t B u r k e Hi g h S c h ool , 12 2 0 0 B u r k e S t . R ing in the Year of the Dog at this annual event put on by t he Nebra sk a Chinese A ssociation. T he Chinese Ne w Yea r’s Gala showcases the Chinese culture and heritage through cuisine, traditional performances, a lion dance, and other cultura l activities. 4 p.m.-9 p.m. $20 members, $30 non-members. —omahachinese.net
Travel essentials plus downtown’s largest selection of souvenirs and Nebraska-made gifts.
Authentic Italian desserts, coffee, and FlavorBurst TM soft serve ice cream.
OldMarketSundries.com • 402-345-7646
DolciOldMarket.com • 402-345-8198
All located at 10th & Howard
OMAHA FILM FESTIVAL
March 6 -11 at Village Pointe Cinema, 304 N. 174th St. This f ilm festival celebrates motion pictures big and small. Local f ilmmakers will showcase their work alongside special previews and releases that are coming to Omaha just for this event. Festival parties after screenings allow f ilm af icionados to mingle with f ilmmakers. Times vary. Tickets: $100 all-access pass, $70 all-f ilms pass, $70 weekend pass. Tickets to individual f ilms available at the box off ice. 402-203-8173. —omahaf ilmfestival.org/
SIGNS OF SPRING HIKE
March 17 at Fontenelle Forest Nature Center, 1111 Bellevue Blvd. N. Search for signs of spring, such as new growth and animal activity, with this spring hike. 9:45-11 a.m. Admission: $9.50 adults, $8.50 seniors (62+), $7.50 youths (2-17), and free for children under age 2 and members. 402-731-2403. —fontenelleforest.org
OMAHA ROLLERGIRLS GREEN OUT/ MILITARY APPRECIATION NIGHT
March 17 at Ralston Arena, 7300 Q St. Come support Omaha’s all-female roller derby league. Wear green to celebrate St. Patrick ’s Day and show your appreciation for those in uniform. 6 p.m. Admission: $12 adults, $6 children ages 4-10, free for kids under 3. Buy one get one free adult ticket for any military person with a valid ID. 402-934-9966. —ralstonarena.com
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OMAHA MAGAZINE | CALENDAR
SPINOSAURUS: LOST GIANT OF THE CRETACEOUS
March 20 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Travel back in time with paleontologist Nizar Ibrahim as he explains how he rediscovered spinosaurus before it was lost to science. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $11-$26. 402-345-0606. —ticketomaha.com
April 6-8 at Sycamore Farms, 1150 River Road Drive. This Omaha-grown vintage festival features more than 200 “junk” vendors from across the country, accompanied by live music, food, and activities for younger kids. 8 a.m. early birds, 10 a.m. general admission. Admission: $10 one-day pass, $20 three-day pass, $30 three-day early bird pass, $50 early bird season pass. 402-765-8651. —junkstock.com
OMAHA ZINE FEST 2018
April 14 at The Union for Contemporary Art, 2423 N. 24th St. Omaha’s third annual zine festival features creators from across the country. Whether you like poetry, comics, art, or all of the above, this is a fun, free event for the whole family. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission: Free. 402-933-3161. —omahazinefest.org
EARTH DAY OMAHA
April 21 at Elmwood Park, 60th and Dodge st reets. This event combines science, education, music, food, and fun. Spend a rela xing day outside learning and enjoying the atmosphere. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Admission: free. —earthdayomaha.org
April 28 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Return to Isla Nublar for Steven Spielberg’s origina l dinosaur epic. John Williams’ heart-pumping score amplif ies t he action to t hrilling new heights. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $19-$79. 402-345-0606. —ticketomaha.com
NC A A MEN ’S BASK ETBA LL TOU R NA MEN T, MIDW EST R EGIONA L
Marc h 2 3 and 25 at C e nt u r yLink C e nte r, 455 N . 10 t h S t . Watc h Ma rc h Mad ne s s i n Oma ha a s Crei g hton Un iver sit y ho s t s t he M idwe s t R e g ion a l. 6 p.m. Tic k e t s: $125 - $150 si n g le se ssion, $250 -$30 0 a l l se ssions. 80 0 -745 -30 0 0. — c ent u r yl i n kc enteroma ha .c om
FA IRY FA IR E
March 24 at Fontenelle Forest Nature Center, 1111 Bellevue Blvd . N. Dress up and meet some forest fairies while building fair y houses, ma k ing crafts, blowing bubbles, having your face painted, a nd more. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Ad mission: $15 for non-members, $5 for members. 402-731-3140. —fontenelleforest.org
31ST A N N UA L ORCHID SHOW A N D SA LE
March 24 -25 at L aur it ze n Gard e n s, 10 0 Banc r of t S t . Vie w orc h id d i splay s f rom loc a l a nd i nternat iona l g rowers, a nd ret u rn home w it h a pla nt of you r ow n a s a n a rray of orch id s w i l l be ava i lable for pu rc ha se. 10 a .m.- 4 p.m. A d m i ssion: $10 a du lt s, $5 c h i ld ren (6 -12), f re e to chi ld ren u nder 6 a nd members. 402-346 - 40 02 . — lau rit z eng a rden s.org
April 6 at Centur yLink Center, 455 N. 10th St . This iconic, internationa lly recognized group bring their entertainment and basketba ll sk ills to Omaha. 7 p.m. Tickets: $20-$111. 800-745-3000. — centur ylinkcenteroma ha.com
Apr il 6 - 8 at R a l ston Are n a , 730 0 Q St . Hu nd red s of t he nat ion’s f ine st a r t ist s a nd cra f ters d isplay a nd sel l t heir ha ndcra f ted work s. Live enterta inment, fa mily f un, food, a nd d rin k ac compa ny t he shoppers. Time s va r y. Admission: $8 adults, $7 seniors (62+), f ree to c h i ld ren u nder 10. 4 02 -93 4 -996 6. —ra lstonarena.com
TREEMENDOUS ARBOR DAY CELEBRATION
A p r i l 2 8 a t L a u r i t z e n G a r d e n s , 10 0 B a n c r o f t S t . C e le br a t e Ne br a s k a’s hom e g r ow n holid ay at L au rit z en Ga rdens. Ch i ld ren w ho d r e s s l i k e a t r e e w i l l g e t i n f r e e . T he f i r s t 10 0 hou sMEDIA e hold sSPONSORS: w i l l re c e i ve a f re e t re e s e e d l i n g. 9 a .m . A d m i s s ion : $10 a du lt s , $5 f o r c h i l d r e n 6 -12 , f r e e f o r g a r d e n m e m b e r s a nd c h i ld r e n u nd e r 6 . 4 02 -3 4 6 - 4 0 02 . — l au r it z en g a rden s .or g
Event times and details may change. Check with venue or event organizer to confirm.
THE INTERNATIONAL OMAHA HORSE COMPETITION
A p r i l 1 2 -15 a t C e n t u r y L i n k C e n t e r O m a ha , 455 N . 10 t h S t . C ome watc h t he speed, e xec ut ion, a nd t he c omp e t it i ve s pi r it of b ot h r id e r a nd hor s e at t h i s world- c l a s s i ndo or horse ju mping a nd d re ssa ge c omp e t it ion . Fr e e e x p o e ve nt s w i l l fe at u re i nter ac t ive d i splay s a n d a c t i v it i e s f o r a l l a g e s — i nc lud i ng oppor t u n it ie s to me e t ei g ht d i f ferent bre e d s of hor s e s , a t r e a s u r e hu nt , a n d h a n d s - on e x h ibit s. Tic ket s: a l l-se s sion pa s se s f or t h re e d re s s a g e c onte s t s c o s t $ 75 (A pr i l 12 -14); a l l-se s sion pa s se s for t h ree ju mpi n g c ont e s t s c o s t $ 75 ( A pr i l 13 -15). I nd iv idu a l s e s sion t ic k e t s c o s t $12 .50 - $3 0. V I P t ic ke t s c ost $ 4 0 0 -$6 0 0. 4 02 -930 -3079. — i nternat iona loma ha .c om /
MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 19 / BESTOFOMAHA.COM
A+C MUSIC // STORY BY RYAN BORCHERS // PHOTOGRAPHY BY BILL SITZMANN // DESIGN BY MATT WIECZOREK
NEgATIVE BOOGIE w/ DAVID NANCE (AND ONE OF THE BEST ALBUMS OF 2017)
MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 20 / OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM
// A+C MUSIC //
“YOU GOTTA LIVE YOUR OWN AUTHENTIC EXPERIENCE”
That search for variety and freedom has been a driving force in his music career thus far.
Omaha musician David Nance, 29, has identified that as a personal mantra. It certainly seems to be serving him well.
Nance is a native of Grand Island who went on his first tour when he was 18, playing guitar for a band called Brimstone Howl. It was an eye-opening experience to go to other towns and see the varieties of groups “making music that you would have no way of hearing otherwise.”
His 2017 album Negative Boogie, released by Ba Da Bing Records in Brooklyn, has received rave reviews. One reviewer called it “brilliantly raucous and unhinged.” Noisey (the music channel of vice.com) named Negative Boogie in their “100 Best Albums of 2017.” Nance says The Velvet Underground is an influence on the album, and the influence is apparent on the finished product. “We went into this big studio, ARC [an acronym for “Another Recording Company” in Omaha], and we got money from the label to screw around with stuff there,” Nance says. “They got a bunch of fun toys and stuff like that.” Indeed, a colorful write-up from NPR praises the album’s variety of sounds and production styles coming together to create a “spastic dance music for rock ’n’ roll deviants, a jabbing pointer finger at the soullessness of the pixelated present, blown out and blown up like a basement tape.” In mid-December, Nance and his band just recorded a new album (which they are calling Peaced and Slightly Pulverized). The yet-to-bereleased album will be his fourth in the past three years. His first full-band, full-length album was More Than Enough in 2016.
What did they decide to do for their first album post-Negative Boogie? “This one we just did in a basement,” Nance says. “It’s more about the performance and us playing off of each other, because the songs are real loose, just two chords and rough ideas.”
“Playing to what people expect of you, I don’t think there’s much fun in that,” he says. “I think it’s fun to throw curveballs constantly.”
He started writing songs around that time. “I started doing my own thing just out of boredom, basically,” Nance says. “Writing songs or whatever, and getting a tape machine in the basement and just going for it.” From there, he recorded his own albums and tapes. Actor’s Diary, released in 2013 on Grapefruit Records, was his first album in 2013 Over the years, he has enjoyed making cover albums of other musicians’ work (with his own signature style, of course). He says the exercise helps him to better understand the creative process without having to worry about making new material. However, he may have gotten more than just a better understanding of the creative process in the case of an album he made with fellow Omaha singer-songwriter Simon Joyner. (Over the years, Nance has played lead guitar in Joyner’s bands.) They did a cover of the Rolling Stones’ album Goats Head Soup, thinking only a few people would hear it, but it started getting some attention online after it was released in the summer of 2017 and discovered by “some guy in Germany.”
Nance says he and Joyner thought there was a chance they could be sued. In a sense, though, that would be a positive. “[It] could be kind of cool, you know? Then the Stones’ lawyer would know about us…We made a fake ceaseand-desist letter,” he says. “Hopefully one of these days we’ll get an actual cease-and-desist letter from the Stones.”
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Nance enjoys making albums and treating the mixing like it’s another member of the band, but he prefers live shows. In January, he embarked on his first overseas tour. The two-month European tour was scheduled to start in Aarhus, Denmark, and conclude in Paris, France. “When we go out and play, we really don’t have any intention of recreating what we did on the record.” The songs act more as guidelines with some chords. The goal is for everyone in the band to be ‘present.’” “Sometimes we’ll play for an hour; sometimes we’ll play for 20 minutes or something, just try to ride the feeling and make honest music,” he says, explaining that being “present” as a musician means “having to think on the spot, now what do you come up with? As opposed to, ‘This is this rigid thing. We need to do everything exactly the same every time.’” To Nance, working is all about experiencing. He lists an eclectic mix of influences, including Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell, Funkadelic, Nina Simone, and Lou Reed. And he loves meeting people while touring. “You just feel like you’re a part of something. That’s the biggest thing for me…the not feeling alone.” Is it ever too much? Can someone have too many influences to the point where it drowns out his or her own voice? In his case, Nance doesn’t think so. “I used to get worried about that,” he says. “You just listen to how other people do things, and it’s not necessarily how am I going to filter this through myself. It’s just being inspired by it.” At the end of the day, Nance just wants to make and find truthful music.
“There’s great music in every genre,” he says. “A person who cares about what they’re doing, who’s being present, I think there’s no flaw to that.” Visit davidnance.bandcamp.com and badabingrecords.com/david-nance for more information.
“I STARTED DOING MY OWN THING JUST OUT OF BOREDOM, BASICALLY, WRITING SONGS OR WHATEVER, AND GETTING A TAPE MACHINE IN THE BASEMENT AND JUST GOING FOR IT.” -DAVID NANCE
A+C ART // STORY BY J.D. AVANT // PHOTOGRAPHY BY BILL SITZMANN // DESIGN BY MATT WIECZOREK
MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 24 / OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM
// A+C ART //
“THE GRAFFITI ARTIST IN ME SAYS TO STOP ASKING FOR PERMISSION, COME DOWN, AND GET SOME STUFF UP THERE,” -REGGie LeFlore
Hughie [Doherty], who owns a screen printing shop in Stanley, Hong Kong.”
His portraits may share similarities to the vandalism-tarnished genre, but for LeFlore, his art form is all about transforming communities.
During the day, Stanley is a busy seaside marketplace with a labyrinth of shops selling clothing, trinkets, and toys. When the neighborhood shops close for the night, a vibrant street art scene emerges. Artworks reveal themselves, painted on the shutters of local establishments.
“I love working with organizations and community leaders to create a series of work that’s out in the public,” explains LeFlore, who works primarily in portraiture. “My portrayals can help uplift an otherwise drab space with art.”
Schuster, his Nebraska expat friend, introduced LeFlore to a local arts nonprofit called HK Walls. HK Walls “aims to create opportunities for local and international artists to showcase their talent in Hong Kong.” The nonprofit helped LeFlore with resources in Hong Kong, introducing him to Doherty and a host of local street artists. From there, LeFlore set off to create his masterpiece amongst the shutters.
LeFlore’s mission started from humble beginnings, including art classes at Benson High School where he would meet his friend Gerard Pefung. After high school, LeFlore’s aspirations to illustrate cartoons and comic books led him to pursue graphic design while Pefung went in a different direction. A chance meeting years later would lead to LeFlore’s first foray into street art.
A collaboration with Doherty led to “Kowloon Influence,” an art piece depicting Tsang Tsou Choi, a legendary Hong Kong graffiti artist (known as the King of Kowloon) who spent decades scrawling his family’s ancestral claims to Kowloon—a large portion of Hong Kong’s land area—in calligraphy that he painted on public walls throughout the bustling city.
“I go to a party, and I see this massive indoor mural and Pefung is standing in front of it,” LeFlore reminisces. “I find out that he created it, and I’m flabbergasted. At that moment I decided to take my craft and elevate it by jumping into public art.”
In order to pay homage to the King of Kowloon, LeFlore made stencils of Tsang Tsou Choi’s calligraphy and combined them with a friend’s referenced photographs creating a surreal portrait on a city street.
Leflore would pick up an aerosol can for the first time at Pefung’s studio, eventually developing a signature style remixing existing images with his hybrid stencil method. He became acquainted with community art organizers—including folks involved with Benson First Friday—and he started to pay more attention to public art and murals around town. With his desire to showcase his art, LeFlore participated in shows at The Union of Contemporary Arts’ Wanda B. Ewing Gallery in North Omaha and exhibited in Chicago (in a gallery and on the street). But he longed for an international platform. After admiring constant social media posts about Hong Kong’s street art scene from a Nebraska friend (Craig Schuster) living in the Chinese territory, LeFlore became determined to showcase his art there. With income earned from personal commissions and teaching at The Union of Contemporary Arts, he was able to move toward his goal with a trip to the former British colony. “I did research and found that I didn’t need to know Cantonese or Mandarin to live in Hong Kong,” LeFlore says. “It made it easy for me to adapt, and I utilized my time there to build opportunities and meet my friend,
LeFlore’s recent move to the Twin Cities has immersed him in Minnesota’s own thriving visual arts community. While his girlfriend, Heather Peebles, pursued her Master of Fine Arts at Minneapolis College of Art and Design, he linked up with a comprehensive group of like-minded creatives. “I still keep my connections in the Big O,” LeFlore says. “I consider Watie White as a mentor, and my cousin, Joanna LeFlore helped me establish my style. The Union for Contemporary Art has also been amazing.” LeFlore is in the process of pursuing a collaborative project with Omaha photographer Alicia Davis, but here is where street art clashes with the rebel spirit of graffiti. Their project has run into some unexpected roadblocks. “The graffiti artist in me says to stop asking for permission, come down, and get some stuff up there,” he says. “North Omaha should have a bigger public art presence. The conversation behind street art is what makes it cool, and I’m sure it could help reinvigorate the community.” Visit ral86.com for Reggie LeFlore’s personal website.
MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 27 / BESTOFOMAHA.COM
A+C THEATER // STORY BY SARAH WENGERT // PHOTOGRAPHY BY BILL SITZMANN // DESIGN BY MATT WIECZOREK
Eminent Domain progressed from a notebook to a reading at the Shelterbelt Theatre to its world premiere, sold-out run at the Omaha Community Playhouse in 2017. LeiningerCampbell’s next touchpoint with the legacy of Eugene O’Neill came when Eminent Domain was named a 2016 Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference finalist.
GROWING UP, LAURA Leininger-Campbell
was an introverted bookworm who dreamt of being an actor and had an imagination that ran as wild as her naturally curly hair. She would go on to establish her own singular course in the arts, with a steadfast love of theater and storytelling acting as her compass. Leininger-Campbell avidly participated in high school plays before earning a degree in theater from Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. She’d have her first run-in with the legacy of famed playwright Eugene O’Neill there—though it wouldn’t be her last. “[Connecticut College] had a great theater program and many ties to the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center the next town over in Waterford,” she says. “New London is actually where O’Neill lived. His childhood home—the Monte Cristo Cottage, [depicted] in Long Day’s Journey Into Night—is there.” After college, Leininger-Campbell moved to New York City, where her expectations of an acting career were humbled by the reality of paying the bills. Three years later, she realized her day job with hat designer Tracey Tooker left little time for auditions and the then-nebulousto-her concept of networking. “They do a much better job teaching kids to manage creative careers now,” she says. “I ended up getting pretty fried, so I gave up on it, moved back to Omaha, and started over. I told myself I wouldn’t do theater anymore, and tried to make peace with that.” But her calling kept calling. A role in Brigit Saint Brigit Theatre’s The Cherry Orchard helped her establish strong ties there, which extended throughout the Omaha theater community as she took on more roles. Leininger-Campbell found herself living the dream on her own terms. “I was actually enjoying a life of theater and making a living,” she says.
“Laura’s script came to my attention after its public reading at Shelterbelt Theatre, and I fell in love with it immediately,” says Kimberly Faith Hickman, artistic director at Omaha Community Playhouse. “I’m proud and honored to see this story enter the canon of American theatre, and for Omaha Community Playhouse to have been the home for its world premiere.” Leininger-Campbell’s next star turn emerged when her career as a playwright germinated. She says it began with several adaptations she wrote for the Joslyn Castle Literary Festival: Wuthering Heights, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and The Jewel of Seven Stars. “At that point, I really liked the idea of writing—taking specific ideas from the [original] writer and putting them on the page in a compelling way,” she says. “My acting background really helped me understand the structure of compelling scenes and what makes for good conflict.” Playwright Ellen Struve noticed her knack for theatrical storytelling and encouraged her to create original script work.
“The reaction we had at the Playhouse was great,” says Leininger-Campbell, who’s sent queries nationwide for the piece. “Part of it’s about the pipeline, but really it’s about a family that has to join together in trying times, and I can’t think of a better time than right now, when people are so polarized, to see a polarized family having to cleave together to solve their own problems. It’s a Nebraska story, but it’s an American play.” Leininger-Campbell credits director Amy Lane for helping to clarify and enhance aspects of the script, and the cast for bringing the show to life. She also cites her husband, author/ musician Michael Campbell, who was the first to read the play and later contributed the production’s music.
“Ellen was instrumental in getting me going. She gave me a little notebook and said, ‘I think you have real stories in you. Go write them down.’ She was very influential, and she was the first person I called when I was done. I said, ‘I think I wrote something.’ And that something I wrote was Eminent Domain,” Leininger-Campbell says.
“He wrote these beautiful, amazing tunes, just on the knowledge of what he’d read about the characters. I was really lucky to have him as a collaborator,” says Leininger-Campbell.
The play employs wit, humor, and powerful emotion to tell the poignant story of a Nebraska family whose farm is threatened by the construction of an oil pipeline. LeiningerCampbell spent lots of time on her own family’s farm growing up. The agrarian inspiration motivated her to write something inspired by news about the Keystone XL pipeline.
While she plans to do some acting in 2018, Leininger-Campbell is fully embracing the role of playwright. This year, audiences can anticipate Leininger-Campbell’s Terminal. The comedy tells the story of a group of people stuck inside an airport terminal who “get on each others’ nerves and slowly their humanity begins to melt away.”
“I wanted to write about a farm family…and those memories of people who just remain in your heart. That story fit so perfectly with what I saw happening with KXL,” says LeiningerCampbell. “Much of my impetus to start writing comes from outrage, and once I identify my outrage, I try to understand both sides and expose them so people have something to talk about on the way home from the theater...I tried to depict both sides in Eminent Domain.”
Leininger-Campbell says her biggest wish is more time to write, and while time is a finite resource, she has ideas aplenty.
MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 28 / OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM
KXL pipeline fighter Jane Kleeb attended the Shelterbelt reading—offering helpful feedback afterwards—and the Playhouse premiere.
“I like to identify stories and then just tuck them away to mine later,” says LeiningerCampbell. “I love the process of writing and bringing those stories to life.” Learn more about Laura Leininger-Campbell at lalaplaywright.com.
The Stages of Playwright Laura Leininger- Campbell' s
T h e a t r i c a l P a s s i on
Omaha Zine Fest Enters Its Third Year // A+C ZINES // STORY BY GREG JERRETT PHOTOGRAPHY BY BILL SITZMANN DESIGN BY MATT WIECZOREK
MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 30 / OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM
From top: Andrea Kszystyniak and Daphne Calhoun
MARCH // APRIL • 2018
/ 31 / BESTOFOMAHA.COM
// A+C ZINES //
OR THE UNINITIATED, zines
are small, handmade magazines typically made from standard printer paper folded, cut, and stapled together. Variations of the form exist, and subjects are limited only by interest: journalism, politics, art, activism, poetry, fan fiction, DIY, superheroes. Anything cool, hip, instructive, subversive, or enlightening is fit to print. No matter how you slice the printer paper, Omaha Zine Fest is cool and getting cooler by the year. How cool? Cool enough for Vice Magazine to include OZF as the Nebraska entry in their series “50 States of Art.” Founded in 2016 by Andrea Kszystyniak, Daphne Calhoun, and Kaitlin McDermott, OZF has grown. The March 2017 fest at The Union for Contemporary Art drew hundreds of artists and fans from the Omaha metro and across the Midwest to buy, sell, trade, share, and learn.
Kszystyniak is a Rhode Island native who studied journalism at the University of Missouri and moved to Omaha in 2013. Her personal philosophy is radical inclusion. Her interest in zines started because she was, like many artists, a discipline case. “I was grounded a lot as a kid, so I was often trapped at home and forced to amuse myself,” Kszystyniak says. “I spent a lot of time engaging with people online and really growing my understanding of art and DIY culture that way.” A voracious consumer of music and music journalism, Kszystyniak was inf luenced by the feminist punk Riot Grrrl scene of the ’90s. “Zines were a huge part of that culture, so I really grew to love them as a medium that way,” Kszystyniak says. “I used to play around on this now-defunct mail art forum called nervousness. org when I was a younger teen. The website encouraged you to collaboratively make and share work with people across the globe. A huge part of that forum was exchanging art, zines, collages…whatever.” Daphne Calhoun came to Omaha from Grand Island to study social work and public health. For her, zines are great because anyone can get involved. “You don’t have to have a resume,” Calhoun says. “You can make anything you want to do: DIY, poetry, science fiction, fantasy. The sky is the limit.” Calhoun worked previously at Valiant Studios, an art and music studio for individuals with developmental disabilities.
“One of my favorite zine memories is compiling an art zine with them. Accessibility is the only thing that matters to me, and zines are such an accessible medium,” says Calhoun who once got her grandmother to make a short zine about interdimensional space aliens. “You don’t need to be an expert or have any expensive equipment. All you need is paper and some scissors and anyone can make a zine.” In the spirit of radical inclusion and accessibility, Omaha Zine Fest has a safer spaces policy to provide for an open-minded, nonthreatening, and respectful environment where participants learn from one another. It is the essence of the festival, according to Kszystyniak. “The everyday person needs an outlet to speak out against injustice or even just to teach others things,” Kszystyniak says. “Our No. 1 goal is to make sure everyone comes in and is comfortable and feels safe spending time in a creative community with everyone else there. Our priority is always accessibility, safety, and radical inclusion. It’s really the reason we started the fest in the first place: to make sure everyone has a place at the table.” Visit omahazinefest.org for more information. The 2018 Omaha Zinefest is April 14 (11 a.m.-5 p.m.) at The Union for Contemporary Arts.
MARCH // APRIL • 2017 / 32 / OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM
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Energ y not what it used to be? Weight gain? Decreased muscle mass? Trouble focusing? Having Trouble Concentrating? Memor y not as sharp as it used to be? Decline in libido? Erectile dysfunction? MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 33 / BESTOFOMAHA.COM
84th & 1 st St. / Downtown Papillion Open Tues-Thur 10AM, Fri 10-7PM, Sat 10-5PM, Sun-Mon CLOSED
GEN O // STORY BY LISA LUKECART // PHOTOGRAPHY BY BILL SITZMANN // DESIGN BY MATT WIECZOREK
“It’s like a part-time job,” she jokes. Maddy now wants to dance professionally.
MADISON CHIZEK SLIPS on her tap shoes,
throws her light brown hair in a ponytail, and laughs at herself in the mirror. “Ok, ready.” Her mother, Dawn, pushes play. The song “Are You That Somebody?” fills the cold studio with warmth and energy. Or maybe it is Maddy’s moves. Her mint green and black shoes beat their own melody against the smooth vinyl floor. Maddy flips, flaps, and shuffles in dark leggings. “The 30-second notes are like death, but I love it,” she says. The words on her T-shirt are written backward so the reflection reads, “Get Out of the Mirror.” The saying is a reminder to be mindful and enjoy the moment. This moment. It shows when Maddy finishes, tired but exuberant.
The 16-year old sophomore from Millard South High School runs through a contemporary routine next, this time barefoot, to “Unchained Melody.” She is past the point of embarrassment and will try anything thrown at her. Her body takes a beating whether it is bruises on her knees from spins, carpet burns, or blisters literally on top of blisters. Basically her feet are horrendous, but the teenager doesn’t let it stop her.
Rachel Shockey—her contemporary, jazz, and musical theater coach—believes Maddy has a real shot at turning her dreams into reality.
“Bruises are a sign of hard work, and scars are just cool,” Maddy says.
Yet, it is a very competitive world. Maddy has to sometimes fight her way to the front. Luckily, she keeps getting noticed and pulled out. Her effort earned the attention of GoPro’s director Don Mirault. GoPro is an intense program, seven days in the summer, where dancers train, perform, and live like professionals. Admission to the workshop is by invitation only—just 40 or 50 of the best from around the nation are selected. In October 2015, Maddy received the news she would be attending. But in December, Maddy complained about back pain, a sore throat, and a fever. She had a very extensive bout of mono. Her top grades plummeted since she could barely get through classes. Maddy just couldn’t function, let alone step on the dance floor. In practices, Maddy watched from the sidelines or marked (practicing the routines without full physical exertion). When her team went to nationals in St. Louis, she came down with strep throat, but still came in fourth place for her tap solo.
Her mother cheers her on from the sidelines, recording her performances. Dawn wanted her daughter to be physically active, so she enrolled her into dance classes when Maddy was just 3 years old. Maddy, though, crossed her arms and pouted in her pink tutu. “She hated it,” Dawn says laughing. It was just too girly for a tomboy more interested in John Cena and skateboarding than pirouetting. Yet, Maddy continued attending Studio D and entering competitions. At 12, Maddy found her calling at Shockey Dance Co. in southwest Omaha. And workshops, such as Talent on Parade, drew the shy teenager into a world of opportunity. Maddy opened herself up to critiques, listening to tape after tape on ways to improve. Professionals and choreographers exposed her to intensive training at a young age. She met members from the reality television show So You Think You Can Dance, including tapper Gaby Diaz and hip-hopper Fik-Shun. She soon put in 20 hours a week or more, all with the intent of pushing herself to become better.
“She is strong and determined,” Shockey says. Maddy is versatile in many different forms, from ballet to tap to clogging and others. Her positive personality adds to the vibe in the studio where Maddy also teaches when she isn’t dancing.
Dance is her release. “Whether overflowing with happiness or if I am just having a bad day, I can channel that into movements,” Maddy explains.
dancing ambition MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 34 / OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM
â€œbruises are a sign of hard work,
and scars are just cool." -
// GEN O //
Dawn had to make a difficult decision. She would not be sending her sick daughter to GoPro. Physically, she needed the recovery time, but mentally it took a toll. “When I am angry or frustrated, I let it out when I dance. When I can’t do that, I get angrier and it feeds off itself,” Maddy explains.
Sitting on the sidelines gave her a new appreciation. Now, fully healed, Maddy has once again been invited not only to GoPro but to professionally choreograph Tokyo’s academy. And people can check her out at the Omaha Jazz and Tap Festival this summer. Maddy does have fun whether hiking, playing board games, or hanging with her family. She squeezed time in last year to audition for the book Dance Across the USA. Jonathan Givens, formerly a master carpenter for the Oprah Winfrey Show, made it his mission to photograph dancers in all 50 states. Winfrey reminded Givens to photograph what he knew. The former performer and choreographer selected Maddy out of a pool of thousands to shoot stunning moves in gorgeous natural parks and settings.
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His idea was to combine the beauty of dance with the beauty of America. Representing Nebraska, Maddie executed a contemporary jump in the cool waters of the Missouri National Recreational River and tapped on the Meridian Bridge. But it isn’t about the trophies, books, or even the invites. Many times, Maddy will just listen to the music and let it move her. “There is a genre of dance for every mood you are feeling. It is not a sport. Dance is an art. It’s what I love,” Maddy says. Visit shockeydancecompany.com for more information about the dance company where Maddy Chizek performs and works.
Friday, May 4, 2018 • 11:30 am – 1:00 pm • Hilton Omaha Join us in celebrating the powerful advocates - both women and men - who embody the spirit of our Women Build.
Get tickets: habitatomaha.org
MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 37 / OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM
ADVENTURE // STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY DOUG MEIGS // DESIGN BY MATT WIECZOREK
- KISS AN -
FISH HOW VOLUNTEERS ARE HELPING TO SAVE PALLID STURGEON ON THE MISSOURI RIVER
MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 38 / OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM
Dave Crane unhooks a pallid sturgeon.
Seeking to reverse the species collapse, the government listed pallid sturgeon as a federal endangered species in 1990. A recovery plan went into effect soon after.
MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 39 / BESTOFOMAHA.COM
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TROTLINES CATCH EVERY bottom-feeding
fish imaginable in the Missouri River: channel catfish, freshwater drum, shovelnose sturgeon. Even the occasional blue sucker. But this boat’s crew of biologists and volunteers seek one rarity—the endangered pallid sturgeon. Watching the line of hooks rise from the water, Dave Crane spots the prize. “Pallid!” he shouts, excitedly, as thick and bony cartilage plates breach the river’s surface. He and three friends work in unison to pull the 200-foot line on board. Crane carefully removes the pallid sturgeon from a hook; then he passes the precious specimen to a Game & Parks staffer to take its measurements, weigh the fish on a digital scale, and check for hatchery-implanted tags. “Looks like a shipper,” says fishery biologist Dane Pauley, as the sturgeon goes into a water tank on the boat. Pauley is one of four Game & Parks crew leaders checking trotlines between the Plattsmouth and Nebraska City boat ramps on April 9, 2017, during the annual pallid sturgeon recovery effort known as Broodstock. A “shipper” (i.e., slang for any sexually mature pallid sturgeon that is not hatchery-raised or has not been previously captured) is a sturgeon that the Game & Parks staff will send to a regional hatchery to ensure that its genetic stock is preserved and repopulated in the river ecosystem. “I’ve been volunteering with Broodstock every year since 2009,” says Crane, a biologist with the Army Corps of Engineers. “As someone who works on planning and constructing Missouri River habitat restoration projects for a living, it’s a real treat getting hands-on with the fish and seeing firsthand the kind of biological response we’re having. My field work doesn’t typically involve fish; I love getting out on the river like this.” Broodstock collection—a regional conservation effort—is part of a larger, nationwide pallid sturgeon recovery initiative funded by the Army Corps of Engineers. Local participants include regional and federal stakeholders: Nebraska Game & Parks, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, volunteers from various state agencies, university biology professors, and students (along with their friends and family). It’s not every day you come face-to-face with one of the American interior’s most endangered species. If you have the opportunity, be prepared to pucker up. Posing for a photo with a pallid sturgeon—and giving the fish a smoocheroo—has become a tradition on the Game & Parks’ boats.
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// ADVENTURE //
“I’ve probably kissed a sturgeon at least three or four times. Only when we get a bigger one,” says Tim Shew, one of several friends that Crane has introduced to volunteering with Broodstock. “What has been really cool is that we have seen the effect of the program. There are a lot more and bigger pallids than when I started six years ago. Also more wild born. We never saw those for the first couple years.” After checking 10 trotlines attached to buoys along the river, the boat crew has captured two shippers, and they caught-and-released countless non-targeted rough fish and hatchery-raised pallid sturgeon. When the boat stops on the side of the river for a sack lunch, it’s almost time to re-bait worms on 400 hooks to be replaced in the river for the next day’s crews. By the end of the day, volunteers will have a dozen photos of themselves kissing a variety of fish—not just pallid sturgeon. Game & Parks staff record data on every fish pulled out of the water; it has become a valuable data set not only on the endangered species, but the entire Missouri River fishery. Shipper sturgeons are transported via Game & Parks trucks (with water tanks), heading north to Gavin’s Point Fish Hatchery. After spawning in captivity, the adult fish will return to the river. Their offspring will remain in the tanks until the following spring when the space is needed for the next year’s broodstock. According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, pallid sturgeon are “bottom-dwelling, slow-growing fish that feed primarily on small fish and immature aquatic insects. This species of sturgeon is seldom seen and is one of the least understood fish in the Missouri and Mississippi River drainages.” Pallid sturgeon are strange-looking creatures with bony back plates, skeletal cartilage rather than bones (common among ancient fish), a reptilian-like tail, and a pointy snout (that is more narrow than its close relative, the shovelnose sturgeon). They have been documented living longer than 60 years and weighing more than 80 pounds. As an endangered fish, they are also illegal to catch and possess (unless you are participating in Broodstock or a similar government-sanctioned recovery effort). Their fossils date back to the days of dinosaurs, and the fish have likely been swimming the Missouri River as far back as the river has existed. But in the modern era— following rampant dam construction and the Army Corps of Engineers’ channelization of the river for shipping and flood control in the mid-20th century—the pallid sturgeon population collapsed. Kirk Steffensen is the coordinator of the Broodstock effort on Nebraska’s stretch of the Missouri River. A fisheries biologist
with the Nebraska Game & Parks, he has managed regional pallid sturgeon recovery efforts since 2002. “Before the river was highly engineered and managed, that spring pulse of water [from upstream snowmelt] usually cued sturgeon to make their migration run to the spawning grounds,” Steffensen says. “Now that the river is so regulated and managed, they don’t get that pulse any more.” The fish still make spawning runs. They just aren’t very successful. Dams block their migration, and mankind’s reshaping of the river has degraded remaining spawning habitats. Seeking to reverse the species collapse, the government listed pallid sturgeon as a federal endangered species in 1990. A recovery plan went into effect soon after. “Since their populations were so low and diminished,” Steffensen says, “it was decided that we need to supplement the population through capturing wild fish in the river, transporting them to a hatchery facility and spawning them, and then rearing their progeny up to a bigger size—so that when we stock them back in the river, they have a higher rate of survival.” Starting in 1992, pallid sturgeon stocking began from local populations supplemented by fish from upstream (sourced from the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers near the Montana-North Dakota border). But it wasn’t until spring 2002 that Steffensen says Nebraska Game & Parks ramped up its pallid sturgeon stocking efforts. That lasted until scientists realized “that, genetically, fish in the upper basin are just slightly different than down in our reach of the river into the middle Mississippi River,” he says. A 2007 federal moratorium on stocking upper basin fish in the lower Missouri followed. Suddenly, downstream recovery efforts faced heightened pressure to gather all the pallid sturgeon needed to stock lower stretches of the river from local fish. “That’s when this whole thing developed of bringing in volunteers to maximize our efforts,” Steffensen says. “So we began fishing these local fish and shipping them to the area hatcheries so they could spawn them in their facilities and maintain our stocking program in this lower reach of the Missouri River.” Game & Parks boats monitor pallid sturgeon in the Missouri nine months out of the year, but it is only during the 11 days of Broodstock that they will capture the fish to send to hatcheries. It is also only during this time when volunteers can get in on the action. Broodstock normally takes place in late April, but the 2018 dates were not confirmed when this March/April edition of Omaha Magazine went to press. MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 41 / BESTOFOMAHA.COM
There’s a four-person volunteer limit per boat. And the slots fill up quick. Steffensen estimates that the weekend volunteering spots are usually snapped up within an hour or two of his initial call for volunteers via e-mail. In 2017, they had 167 volunteers—many of whom worked two or three days. More than 700 individuals have volunteered with Broodstock since they began accepting volunteer participants in 2008. “We go rain or shine,” Steffensen says. “Back in ’09, we had to cancel one day because we had a snowstorm come in. Otherwise we endure rain, wind, temperatures. After we set the gear one afternoon, we have to get it out of the water the next morning so we don’t harm any fish. We operate under endangered species handling protocol, and we are limited to having these trotlines in the water for only 24 hours.” They operate four or five boats each day to check approximately 10 trotlines per boat. Each line, connected to a buoy in the river, has about 40 hooks baited with worms. With four or five boats in the water each day, crews are running 17,600-22,000 hooks during the brief 11-day window of Broodstock. Steffensen says they select the program’s date range a month or two in advance to anticipate when pallid sturgeon will make their spring migration to spawn. “It’s really a unique effort that we do here. You always hear about endangered species: Don’t approach them; don’t touch them; they are for observation only. But that’s birds and mammals, where you can look at them with spotting scope and binoculars. With fish, you have to pull them out of the water to tag, and you actually handle them. We get a lot of that message from volunteers—that this is awesome,” Steffensen says, adding that the stocking effort would not be possible at its current level without the outpouring of volunteer support. Since 1992, Game & Parks has introduced approximately 177,000 hatchery-reared pallid sturgeon. More than 94,000 of those hatchery fish were introduced through the Broodstock program that began in 2008. Although the fish remains listed as endangered at the state and federal level, Steffensen is cautiously optimistic: “Overall, our catch suggests that the wild fish who were naturally spawned and lived in the river their whole life appear stable.” Due to high demand, the opportunity to participate in Broodstock is not advertised. Anyone wishing to volunteer can request to be included in the email notice by contacting fisheries biologist Kirk Steffensen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FEATURE // STORY BY DAISY HUTZELL-RODMAN // PHOTOGRAPHY BY BILL SITZMANN // DESIGN BY MATT WIECZOREK
d e r e v o c a h a m o t we’ve go
s r a e y 35 s r e v o c e n i z a g a m a h a m o of
OMAHA MAGAZINE PUBLISHER Todd
Lemke fondly remembers several magazine covers from his 35 years in the local magazine business. But he is particularly fond of the November/December 1993 issue—a poster of which hangs on his office wall. The cover features a beautiful model wearing a Russian fur hat and coat. The lead story? “Revelations on Russia.”
“I was talked into being the cover subject by Bill Sitzmann, who told me that readers want to know the faces behind the names in business, and that includes our business,” Lemke says. That was one of the first conceptual covers of Omaha Magazine. Lemke liked the idea so much, he and the creative team began creating unique covers for subsequent publications.
Conceptual covers also enable Omaha Magazine to feature Omaha stars in uncommon ways. One of Sitzmann’s favorite covers is the July/August 2014 issue featuring Chuck Hagel. “I got that done in two days,” Sitzmann says. “I flew to New York and drove straight to D.C. with all my gear. I shot at the Pentagon, spent the night at a friend’s house in New York, and flew back to Omaha the next day.” He also enjoyed shooting the July/August 2015 cover with Keystone Pipeline activist Jane Kleeb holding a blacksnake and covered in chocolate syrup to emulate oil.
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Bringing together these covers involves strategic meetings of the minds of everyone on the creative and editorial team. “I am proud that each cover is a team approach between edit, photography, and graphics as to the selection and the composition of the design,” Lemke says. “Not everyone agrees all the time, but we are able to respect one another’s opinions, and I think most people walk away from O the table saying, ‘Yes, that will work.’” Read Omaha Magazine at omahamagazine. com. Subscribe to support community journalism.
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For many years, covers of Omaha Magazine featured one person’s portrait. Often it was someone whom the public could easily identify and read about in the magazine’s inside pages. Five years ago, the 30th anniversary issue changed that idea like a light bulb popping over Lemke’s head.
“The cover that has won the most awards was the black-on-black cover with the spot gloss on it,” Lemke says of 2014’s Best of Omaha issue. The spot gloss varnish meant that while nearly the entire cover was black, there were words on the cover that were glossy while the majority of the cover was matte. “You had to move the cover around under a light source to see the words, but the cover really engaged the reader.”
Other favorite conceptual covers include Mayor Jean Stothert on the September/ October 2013 issue featuring the headline “Leading in a Man’s World” (with her head Photoshopped above a man’s hairy arms) and the September/October 2017 issue’s double cover on indigenous language revitalization (tribal elders translated text into the Omaha, or Umoⁿhoⁿ, language for the front with equivalent English text on the inside).
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Here’s the behind-the-scenes scoop: Lemke and the author of the cover story, Sandy Stahlstein, had traveled to Russia over the summer. While abroad in the land of “czars, caviar, and communism,” Lemke had proposed to the writer. And she said, “Yes.”
As lead photographer, Sitzmann saw concept covers as a way to stand out from the crowd, also noting that his skill set suited him to the work. The covers have won awards, inspired and intrigued the viewer, and brought an unparalleled feel to the publication.
“She was all in,” Sitzmann says. “I gave her the snake idea, and she went for it.”
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// FEATURE //
sarah lemke Photographer May 2012
Mike Brewer Tyler Lemke
Todd Lemke Publisher
Senior Sales Executive, contributing editor 60Plus
Chief Operating Officer
Publisher’s Assistant, contributing editor OmahaHome November 2011
Holley Garcia March 2015
Will Patterson November 2017
Sr. branding specialist
Managing Editor: b2b, family guide , special projects
creative director October 2015
Executive Assistant of Sales for Gil Cohen August 2007
Sales Assistant January 2018
OMAHA MAGAZINE began with Todd Lemke in 1983. Over the subsequent 35 years, additional staff in operations, sales, editorial, and design have joined the publishing family (including other Lemke relatives). Meet our team. Our mission is to serve the community of Omaha with the best city magazine possible. Our company motto, “It’s About All of Us,” is our promise to every resident of our shared city. Thanks for reading! MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 44 / OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM
Vice President June 1988
graphic Designer Extraordinaire
Vice President, Sales & Marketing March 2007
Associate Publisher December 2016 Jillian Dunn & Photographer Digital Sales Manager Extraordinaire November 2017
Sales Assistant December 2017
Local Stubs Ticketing Rep. & Branding Specialist
Editor-at-Large March 2017
Sales Assistant February 2013
Senior Graphic designer
Executive Editor May 2016
Graphic Designer June 2017
* Not pictured: Eric Stoakes, Managing Editor: Encounter Magazine March 2017 (featured on pg.8 )
#omahamagazine it’s about all of us MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 45 / BESTOFOMAHA.COM
HISTORY // STORY BY MAX SPARBER // PHOTOGRAPHY PROVIDED BY DURHAM MUSEUM // DESIGN BY MATT WIECZOREK
35 YEARS IN THE CITY
Jobbers Canyon, 1929
A LOT CAN change in 35 years, even in
Omaha, a town where some places look like a glacier flowed over 2 million years ago and only unfroze a few weeks ago. Of course, if you’re paying attention, there were decisions that changed the face of the city. Since 1983, the city has razed some of its notable historic structures, most notoriously Jobbers Canyon, a 24-building section of downtown Omaha that was torn down in 1989. It represents the nation’s largest demolition of National Register historic buildings, which remains a sore spot for preservationists.
But there have been subtler shifts. There was an exodus of businesses away from downtown to the suburbs, most visibly represented by the loss of the downtown Brandeis store in the 1980s, which both the razing of Jobbers Canyon and the development of the Gene Leahy Mall (conceived in the 1970s and named after Omaha’s mayor from 1969 to 1973) were intended to address.
Mall, built in 1991. Now Crossroads, a shell of its former glory, is the city’s most visible evidence of the “retail apocalypse.”
The Brandeis move west—the company developed and settled in the Crossroads Mall—was perhaps the most visible “suburban” relocation of its time. Westward sprawl continued apace with additional suburban malls opening afterward, such as Oak View
In recent years, the city’s westward trend has started to reverse itself, with a number of high-profile redevelopments downtown, including the building of the CenturyLink Center in 2003, the construction of TD Ameritrade Park in 2011, a variety of arts
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Omaha’s once-upon-a-time peripheral neighborhoods have continued to see retail development, perhaps most notably with the redevelopment of the old Ak-Sar-Ben race track into Aksarben Village.
Jobbers Canyon being demolished in 1989
Some things don’t seem to change much. For example, Omaha has always wrestled with what to do with its riverfront, an ongoing discussion that doesn’t seem anywhere near resolution. The city’s latest riverfront redevelopment proposals could once again change the face of downtown (whether the plans are an improvement remains uncertain).
with 2,000 employees. This later expanded to an entire communications technology industry, and nowadays both the University of Nebraska and Creighton offer degrees in technology and telecommunications. Omaha’s semiskilled labor industries, especially in meat packing, have long been one of the city’s magnets for new citizens. The plants have, over the years, drawn from relocated African-American workers, rural Southern white workers, and even workers from Japan. While Mexican-Americans have been in Omaha since 1900, the packing plants, in particular, brought a wave of new residents from Latin America in the 1990s, who at first settled around South Omaha.
Some things don’t seem to change much, however. As an example, Omaha has always wrestled with what to do with its riverfront, an ongoing discussion that doesn’t seem anywhere near resolution.
Omaha’s population has consistently grown in that time. From 1982 through 2017, the city’s population has grown about 42 percent, from approximately 316,000 to 450,000 (according to the U.S. Census Bureau and University of NebraskaOmaha Center for Public Affairs Research Coordinator David Drozd).
venues (including the KANEKO in 2008 and the Holland Performing Arts Center in 2005), new restaurants, and the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge across the Missouri River (built in 2008). Meanwhile, almost overnight, it seems that Benson and now Blackstone have rivaled the Old Market as the city’s top districts for nightlife. Additionally, the skyline of downtown has changed considerably in the past 35 years. In 1983, the city’s iconic tall building was Woodmen Tower. It has since been joined by First National Bank Tower, completed in 2002, and Union Pacific Center, completed in 2004.
It helps that Omaha has a flexible economy, a product of a surprising legacy. Because the city was founded as the westward terminus for the transcontinental railroad, the city has always been able to capitalize on opportunities provided by the railroad. One of the more recent opportunities is that railroad lines have offered an unfettered path for laying communications lines. Early on, telegraph lines went along the railroad, but recently those have been replaced by high-speed internet lines and the like, allowing Omaha and Council Bluffs to serve as communications hubs for the rest of the country. In the ’90s, this encouraged the development of telecommunications jobs, such as the West Corp., which went public in 1996
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The Mexican-American and Mexican immigrant presence in Omaha is significant enough that the city has its own Mexican consulate. In 1999, Union Stockyards and the Livestock Exchange Building closed, and the “smell of money” left its longtime home in South Omaha. Lately, the city’s largest growing population statistic has been its Asian residents, growing 23.5 percent between 2010 and 2015. Some of this increase is due to immigration, with the city becoming home to refugees from Thailand, Myanmar, Nepal, and Bhutan. Even with this growing demographic representation, however, the Asian population of Omaha remains relatively small, about 2.6 percent of the total population according to the last census. Visit census.gov for more information.
PROFILE // STORY BY ANTHONY FLOTT // PHOTOGRAPHY BY BILL SITZMANN // DESIGN BY MATT WIECZOREK
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// PROFILE //
”A lot of the pictures we have ar e r eally fam i ly pictures of people. They mean something to somebody.“ - Bill Gonzalez
From the Bostwick-Frohardt Collection, this 1911 image was taken on top of the Union Pacific Railroad Building at 14th & Dodge streets looking east.
HAT WITH BILL GONZALEZ for a short while and
one thing becomes clear: It really is hard to keep a good man down.
Nearly 20 years ago, Gonzalez was down. In August 1999, while working at an Omaha warehouse, Gonzalez tripped while crossing over a machine. Its drive belt caught his leg, shattering it from his knee down and damaging his back. Despite a handful of operations on his leg and back, Gonzalez was disabled.
the Bostwick-Frohardt Collection, then in the possession of K MTV (Channel 3). “I was just blown away seeing these old pictures of what Omaha used to look like. I always remembered that.” Now the collection was on permanent loan to the Durham. Gonzalez, who lives just 2 minutes from the museum, wanted in. He joined the Durham as a volunteer March 15, 2005, working one day a week.
“I couldn’t do physical work anymore,” he says, “and I didn’t have the skills to do anything else.”
“As soon as I started working here I knew I’d found a home,” Gonzalez says. “I just kept coming back.”
He was homebound but realized that wasn’t the way he wanted to spend the rest of his life.
Soon he was working four days a week. After a couple years, the museum hired him on a permanent basis as photo archive associate with its curatorial and education services. Today he oversees collections totaling more than 1 million photographs of Omaha from the 1860s to 1990s—from its rise as a frontier town with shanties on the banks of the muddy Missouri River to a sophisticated metropolis with a bustling downtown straddling those same banks. Many of the photos are digitized and available through the museum’s website. Gonzalez has written many of their descriptions.
“That’s a quick way to die,” he says. “I had to get out of the house and do something other than sitting home eating painkillers and going nuts.” A newspaper article noting that the Durham Museum was seeking volunteers for its archives department changed all that. Gonzalez thought back to his days at now-defunct Omaha St. Joseph High School when, during his senior year, someone presented photos of Omaha from
MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 51 / OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM
// PROFILE //
When a visitor comes to the museum seeking a specific photo, Gonzalez is the man they turn to. He already possesses great personal recall of the city. Though his parents were immigra nts from Mexico, 67-year-old Gonzalez was born and raised in South Omaha. “A lot of stuff, I know what I’m looking at. The younger interns don’t have an idea,” he says of decades-old Omaha scenes and long-gone iconic structures from his youth. “Someone said I’m the organic memor y of archives. I guess that’s true.” Using that memory and his knowledge of Durham’s vast photo archive helps him connect people to pictures, past to present.
EXHIBIT ON DISPLAY FEBRUARY 17–JULY 15 Presented By
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“The best part, the part that really gets me high, is when I find a picture that a person has some kind of emotional attachment to,” Gonzalez says. “A lot of the pictures we have are really family pictures of people. They mean something to somebody.” They’ve got a good man to find them.
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What are Bill Gonzalez’s favorite photos in the Durham archive? He has many. Among his favorites, he includes: an aerial of Omaha taken in 1947 and looking west from the museum, formerly Union Station. “A spectacular shot,” he says. Another, from the Bostwick-Frohardt Collection, was taken on top of the former Union Pacific headquarters near 14th and Dodge streets and looks southeast. “A lot of what you’re looking at is no longer here,” he says.
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COVER // INTRO BY DOUG MEIGS // DESIGN BY MATT WIECZOREK
LION DANCERS LEAP INTO THE AIR. Traditional Chinese instruments
evoke tunes of a distant land. Dancers in multi-colored costumes accompany contemporary Chinese pop songs. There is even a Kunqu opera troupe visiting overseas from Nanjing and, of course, plenty of Chinese food for guests. It’s Omaha’s Chinese Lunar New Year Gala. The festivities—March 3 at Burke High School—bring together the diverse segments of Omaha’s Chinese community: recent immigrants to the United States, overseas students, American-born Chinese, mixed-race families, along with friends and members of the general public who don’t have any personal claim to being Chinese (other than their possible interest in Chinese culture). Everyone is welcome. The 2018 gala welcomes the Year of the Dog (the latest zodiac animal represented in the Chinese lunar calendar’s 12-year cycle). It’s also the 10th anniversary of consecutive festivities hosted by the Nebraska Chinese Association (formerly known as the Omaha Chinese Culture Association). But the history of Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations goes back much further than 10 years in Omaha. In fact, back when Qing Dynasty emperors still ruled “the Middle Kingdom,” Omaha had its very own (albeit small) Chinatown. Although Omaha’s Chinese population is thriving in the early 21st century, the city’s historic Chinatown has been largely forgotten. This edition of Omaha Magazine tells the story of Omaha’s Chinatown leading up to the city’s current Chinese community. Visit omahachinese.net to learn more or to purchase tickets for the Lunar New Year Gala. Tickets can also be purchased at the Asian Market (321 N. 76th St.). Advanced ticket purchase is required.
MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 55 / BESTOFOMAHA.COM
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CHINA TO W N LO S T A N D FO U N D
ON LEONG WAS ONE OF SEVERAL TONGS OPERATING ACROSS THE U.S. IN CHINATOWNS AT THE DAWN OF THE 20TH CENTURY. The On Leong Tong House, 1518 Cass St.
THERE ARE ONLY a few remnants of early
Chinese-American history left in Omaha. The city’s former Chinatown is almost forgotten. The building at 1415 Farnam St. (now occupied by Kitchen Table) was for many years the home of the King Joy Oriental Cafe, opened by Leo Wing in 1913. The iconic structure at 315 S. 16th St. (where King Fong Cafe operated for almost a century, from 1920 until 2016 when it closed “for repairs”) remains standing. And there is also the recent addition to the National Register of Historic Places at 1518 Cass St. (added to the federal registry in November 2017), the On Leong Tong House. Tongs were male-only social organizations for Chinese immigrants and ChineseAmericans. Literally, tong translates to “hall” or “gathering place” in Cantonese (the Chinese language spoken by most early Chinese immigrants to the United States). Not everyone in the local Chinese community would have been a member of Omaha’s On Leong Tong, which was essentially a secret society. COVER STORY BY CHRIS MCCLELLAN PHOTOGRAPHY BY BILL SITZMANN DESIGN BY MATT WIECZOREK
The exact date when On Leong Tong established itself in Omaha remains unclear. City directories suggest that leading members had occupied the site of 111 N. 12th St. as early as 1912 (but some form of the tong might have been present in the city earlier). The tong house moved to the Cass Street location in 1938. Although the tong eventually disbanded in Omaha in 1959, branches of the nationwide organization continue to operate in the form of the On Leong Chinese Merchants Association in several U.S. cities with large Chinese populations. On Leong was one of several tongs operating across the U.S. in Chinatowns at the dawn of the 20th century. The era of tong expansion featured bloody conflict as rival tongs fought to control turf, opium, prostitution, and gambling rackets. Omaha’s Chinese community, for the most part, avoided spillover from the Tong Wars (1880s-1930s) of San Francisco, Chicago, and New York. The local branch of On Leong Tong, however, suffered no shortage of historical intrigue. For the most part, the local story of the On Leong Tong is a story of people acclimating to, struggling, and thriving in a city that looks very different from the Omaha that residents know today. At the tong house, members could socialize while speaking Chinese, celebrate common holidays, and find community.
THE ERA OF TONG EXPANSION FEATURED
BLOODY CONFLICT AS RIVAL TONGS FOUGHT TO CONTROL TURF, OPIUM, PROSTITUTION, AND GAMBLING RACKETS.
Omaha’s Chinese community—more so than most other immigrant communities—was alien to the daily life of the city. They were often victims of prejudice and exploitation, and they had no real political representation. What they had—for what it was worth—was a social organization led by businessmen that would carry on their collective rituals, where they could forge their identity and find their power as a local community. The On Leong Tong’s first location was a three-story building at 111 N. 12th St. near the corner of 12th and Dodge streets. The structure was presumably built by Anna Wilson—the infamous brothel owner and proprietor of “sin palaces” in Omaha—sometime after acquiring the land in 1884. When the building was being razed, a World-Herald story (from Dec. 3, 1963) suggests that the building remained in the hands of Anna Wilson until her death in 1911. At that time, and for many years, the street level space would be occupied by Chinese grocers, the first owned by Wing Sing. Across the street to the west sat Omaha’s first fire station. Just to the north at 117 N. 12th St. was Q.W. Lee’s grocery, and the Sing Long grocery was at 123 N. 12th St. Across the road toward Capitol Street, at 122 N. 12th St., was a grocery owned by Wing Tang. These addresses typically had private residences on upper floors, and it is likely that the block was densely populated by a poor and often transient population of mostly Chinese men. A block to the east, at 11th and Capitol streets, was the Sam Hai Laundry, while a large, four-story police headquarters occupied the block between 10th, 11th, Capitol, and Dodge streets. This is an area that would come to be known, at least for history, as Omaha’s Chinatown. Some local newspaper accounts suggest that Omaha’s Chinatown occupied a four-block area northeast of 12th and Dodge streets. In a Dec. 3, 1961, WorldHerald article titled “Gay Dragons Once Danced in a Thriving Chinatown,” journalist Robert McMorris paints a picture sourced from secondhand accounts of the “four-block area” where men wore Manchustyle braids (common during the Qing Dynasty in China) and women walked in “short, mincing steps” (a consequence of the now-discontinued practice of binding girls’ feet) at the turn of the century. Later writing from Edward Morrow on the city’s early Asian community (in a March 5, 1978, Sunday World-Herald Magazine) claims that 200-300 Chinese once resided in “ancient red brick buildings at Eleventh and Dodge” streets. Old city directories don’t support his claim of Chinatown occupying a four-block area. More likely, Omaha’s Chinatown took up a single block between Dodge and Capitol on 12th Street, with additional concentrations of Chinese restaurants along 14th and Douglas streets and clustered near North 16th Street.
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Among the Chinese restaurants grouped together on Douglas Street, the first to open as an upscale establishment—competing for Omaha’s business and night-time entertainment clientele—was the Mandarin Cafe at 1409 Douglas St., with a large “Chop Suey” sign hanging from the front of the building. Opening in January 1912 by Gin Chin (who would later open King Fong Cafe), it was located on the floor above the Budweiser Bar, just at the east end of Omaha’s theater row, which occupied most of Douglas to 16th streets. The Budweiser Bar was run by Billy Nesselhaus, business partner of Tom Dennison, Omaha’s most notorious gangster, who ran a gambling operation out of the bar below the Mandarin Cafe. The year after the Mandarin opened, in September 1913, Leo Wing opened the King Joy Cafe, at 1415 Farnam St., in a secondstory space above the Farnam Theater. Like the Mandarin House, the King Joy offered American dishes along with its Chinese menu, advertising “steaks and chop suey” in particular, as well as live music in the evenings. Opening night at the King Joy did not go off without incident, but it did land a story in the World-Herald (Sept. 19, 1913). Firecrackers were lit on the balcony of the restaurant that somehow started a fire inside. Patrons ran to the street, fire trucks came, crowds gathered, and traffic was stopped for much of the evening. In the Douglas Street cluster of Chinese restaurants, there was also Louie Ahko’s at 1419 Douglas St. (moving to 1417 Harney St. in 1917), open since at least 1910, the Canton restaurant at 1404 Douglas St., and the Elite Cafe at 209 S. 14th St. run by Sam Joe. Another Chinese restaurant, the Los Angeles Restaurant owned by Sing Yep, was located at 105 S. 13th St. At 1306 Douglas St. was a restaurant run by Charles Sing, and at 1313 Douglas St. was the Nanking Restaurant run by Wong Ching. Among the Chinese restaurants concentrated in the vicinity of North 16th Street, Sam Sing had been operating a restaurant at 1516 Webster St. since 1901. (It moved to 1520 Webster St. at some point and would close in 1918 upon Sing’s arrest for bootlegging.) The 1914 city directory lists Joseph Wing as proprietor of a restaurant at 304 N. 16th St. (in the Edward Hotel, later run by Sam Huey as Edward Cafe) and Hung Lew at 517 N. 16th St. In 1918, Leo Wing is listed as proprietor at 517 N. 16th St. and Chin Chung as restaurant owner at 606 N. 16th St. The directory also shows Chinese laundries at 509 and 604 N. 16th St.
LEO WING WAS ARRESTED FOR A PLOT TO
ASSASSINATE TWO LOCAL CHINESE MERCHANTS. THE EVIDENCE WAS ALLEGEDLY PROVIDED BY FEDERAL AGENTS WHO CLAIMED TO HAVE INTERCEPTED A MESSAGE
SENT FROM THE ON LEONG TONG IN CHICAGO. Among the problems facing Chinese merchants in Omaha was a corrupt police department. The police commissioner, John Ryder, would be removed from office in 1914 and forced to switch positions with A.C. Kugel, head of the department of street cleaning and maintenance, for his inability to control the police force. The move came Jan. 19, 1914, three days after the World-Herald criticized Ryder for allowing a “protected house of commercial vice” to remain in operation just a few blocks from police headquarters, at 13th and Dodge streets. The house in question belonged to Hazel McVey of 414 N. 14th St., the sometime romantic partner of Billy Nesselhaus. On Jan. 31, 1914, Ryder’s last night as police commissioner, a series of secret raids would be made on “every place in town suspect of law violation,” according to the World-Herald. Most were Chinese restaurants, including “All of the lower Douglas Street Chop Suey restaurants.” At the Mandarin, “there were certain evidences that didn’t suit the officers,” so the manager, probably Gin Chin, was arrested and later released on $25 bond. Louie Ahko was also raided and arrested. Across the street at the Canton, two men were arrested and several women were “hustled out of town.” At midnight, the police returned to the Canton, “They didn’t like the looks of the place,” so the proprietor was returned to police headquarters. The King Joy was also raided, but nothing was found out of order. Louie Ahko and Gin Chin were to appear before a judge Feb. 3. Louie Ahko paid a $25 fine, but Gin Chin did not show up, to the outrage of the city prosecutor, and he forfeited his bond. The charge was “running a disorderly house,” and the evidence was beer found in teapots. But on Feb. 6, Gin was able to show, to the satisfaction of the judge, that the beer was brought in by patrons, which was perfectly legal, and the charges against Gin and Ahko were dropped.
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Despite problems, and perhaps because of them, the thriving Chinese-American business community officially organized in 1916 with the founding of the Omaha Chinese Merchants Association. On Nov. 22 of that year, the World-Herald reported, “More than two million firecrackers, yes, two million, were discharged in Omaha last night,” to celebrate the opening of the new hall of the Merchants Association at 111 N. 12th St. There was live music, the Merchants Association band, and a feast to celebrate the event. If there was any symbolism in the event, any message being sent to Omaha, it was delivered by the firecrackers. It took more than a half hour to shoot them all off, on a Tuesday evening, just one block from police headquarters. The police may have taken offense. Two weeks later the president of the Merchants Association, Leo Wing, was arrested for a plot to assassinate two local Chinese merchants. The evidence was allegedly provided by federal agents who claimed to have intercepted a message sent from the On Leong Tong in Chicago to a newly formed tong in Omaha directing the assassination of the two men who did not belong to the tong or the Merchants Association. Wing denied the accusation, claiming that the issue merely involved a minor dispute over an unpaid debt, and it apparently went no further. However, a month after his arrest, the King Joy caught fire, with firemen finding evidence of arson, gasoline, and kindling in the Farnam Theater below. Two months later a midnight explosion and fire, again in the Farnam Theater below, sent King Joy patrons running into the street. No motive or possible perpetrators are mentioned in the news coverage. The building at 111 N. 12th was never listed as the Chinese Merchants Association in the city directory. In 1914, its sole occupant listed is Wing Sing Grocers.
Left: Nebraska Chinese Association advisory board members from left: Dennis Chin, Betty Chin, and Bing Chen Top: Hong Zheng is the current chairman of the Nebraska Chinese Association. Zheng owns the Asian Market at 321 N. 76th St. Bottom: Linda Steele is the current president of the Nebraska Chinese Association. Steele is an adjunct professor at Bellevue University.
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By 1918, it is Soon Lee Grocer and the Wa Wing Club. For 1923 and 1925 the directory lists Soon Lee Chinese goods and On Leong Chinese goods. Only in 1934 and then in 1936, just before moving to 1518 Cass St., would it be recognized in the directory as a tong house, listed then as On Leong Tong Hall along with Leo Wing. The tong house in Omaha included gambling rooms, mahjong and lotteries, a bunk room where opium smoking could be found, and a shrine room with an altar and a statue of Buddha. No other illegal activities were ever reported by the World-Herald. Nevertheless, individual members would continue to have problems. A spokesperson for the Merchants Association, Gow D. Huie, was arrested in March 1917 for assault with intent to kill, the victim identified as Yen Huie. Gow Huie allegedly “smote him on the head with a cleaver” while the two were working at a Douglas Street restaurant. It seems the two were related and that the charges were dropped. Gow Huie would later open the Mon Yen Lo Cafe at 1508 Howard St. (by 1925), and in 1932 he would take over both the Mandarin Cafe and the Peacock Inn at 1818 Farnam St. He would remain an active community leader until Dec. 7, 1935, when he was arrested on a federal narcotics charge. In the summer of 1936 he was convicted and sentenced to two years in the Leavenworth Penitentiary, but he disappeared immediately after sentencing and was never heard from again. During the Depression, many ChineseAmericans would leave Omaha. This may explain why key restaurants changed ownership. Early in 1930 it was announced that Sam Joe opened a new chop suey house at 1415 Farnam St., previously Leo Wing’s King Joy. Gin Chin gave up the Mandarin Cafe in 1932, to be reopened by Gow D. Huie that year as Huie’s Cafe. It may simply be that the Chin and Wing families had fewer relatives to employ. A New Year’s notice of the tong celebration in 1933, with Chin Soo Leong named as president, reported that membership once at 220 had dropped to 50, with most leaving in the past year. The restaurant industry in general was hit hard during the Depression, and it had a dramatic effect on Chinese restaurants in Omaha. Those who worked at the restaurants, those who remained in town, were suffering economically. According to the newly elected spokesperson for the tong, Sam Joe, in a 1936 New Year’s notice, the prior year was the first time any members of the colony had to accept outside charity. A dozen or so went on government relief. One effect of the economic conditions was reported in the World-Herald on Nov. 1, 1937. The day before, Anna Chin, 7-year-old daughter of Jimmy Chin, died of pneumonia. She had 12 siblings; one of which, Phillis (or Lotus Blossom), had been born six weeks earlier. Her
mother had remained sick in bed ever since. Two of her siblings, 4-year-old Billy and 1-yearold Jeanette, were also sick. All lived at 1517 Burt St. Jimmy, a World War I veteran, had worked at the “famed restaurant” Mandarin Cafe with his father, Gin Chin. Both then worked at King Fong’s. The story goes on to point out that Jimmy had to support his family on $40 a month—$12.50 in salary and the rest in tips. He had made double that “until a damaging story had circulated about the place where he works.” Evidently, some sort of rumor had spread about King Fong’s that severely curtailed business. As an example of the general prejudice faced by tong members, consider the entry in the Nov. 26, 1935 World-Herald. Under a large photo with the header “Sam Joe and Soon Lee explain it all,” the two prominent Chinese-Americans are publicly degraded and humiliated. On the important topic of Japanese aggression against China, the reporter chose to parody their lack of facility with English, transcribing mispronounced words in a few broken sentences, and portray them as stupid and ill-informed. The truth is that both men were hard-working and successful leaders of their community. On July 16, 1938, the World-Herald reported the dedication of the new tong house at 1518 Cass St. On the exterior of the building was placed a sign in Chinese characters identifying it as the On Leong Tong house. The interior was split into two large rooms. One side was devoted to mahjong and the other a meeting room with a Buddhist shrine.
Hueys in particular, lived several blocks north and west of Omaha’s former Chinatown. Soon Lee, president of the tong (brother of Sam Huey and Sam Joe’s cousin) lived at 1617 Cass St. Sam Huey lived at 1609 Cass St. while running the Edward Cafe a block away at 304 N. 16th St. Across the street from the Hueys at 1610 Cass St. was the Lee Kune laundry, next door to the Midway Tavern, a dance bar. Another Chinese laundry listed in 1938 was run by Lee Moy at 1514 Webster St. In 1939 Quong Wing Industry was located at 319 N. 15th St., perhaps a laundry as well. The Chin family had a large residence at 1817 Davenport St., Jimmy Chin lived at 16th and Burt St., and a few years later the family would have another home at 19th and Burt streets. Another feature of the neighborhood where the tong had relocated was Cass Elementary School, between 14th and 15th on the north side of Cass Street. Cass School was attended by virtually all children of Chinese-American immigrants. It was, in fact, the most ethnically diverse school in Omaha, reflecting the diversity of the neighboring population (which also included many Swedes and Jews). Mary Simonds, principal in 1912, responded with indignation to the suggestion that her immigrant students were inferior. “I have the very best students in the city,” she said, quoted in the June 2, 1912, edition of the World-Herald.
Current Omaha resident Chu Huey, son of Sam Huey and nephew of Soon Lee, is now in his 80s and remembers the old tong house. He says it was very social space with people (adult men) there every day playing mahjong. Chu Huey arrived from China via Hong Kong in 1951, at 17 years old, and attended Tech High while working for his father at the Edward Cafe. He and friends would sneak into the tong house in the morning and play mahjong and be off to work at Chinese restaurants before adults arrived around lunchtime to play. Mahjong would continue through the afternoon and evening, often ending with a trek south on 16th Street to King Fong’s. If there was anything to celebrate, especially Chinese holidays (the Lunar New Year in particular), festivities would take place at the tong house. It was only on these celebratory occasions that women and children would come. Often new arrivals, with no money and nowhere else to go, would stay at the tong house. Extended family members would then have the obligation of finding them jobs and a place to live.
The neighborhood around 16th and Cass streets was popular for immigrants for a reason. It was a downtown, urban neighborhood that bordered large industry. Coal-burning smokestacks lined the view to the east. Union Pacific’s shops occupied most of the land from Dodge to Cuming streets, on an angle running from the river to 15th Street. Also included in that area near the river was Asarco (previously Omaha and Grant), Omaha’s now notorious lead smelter and refiner, the world’s largest in the late-19th and early-20th century. This was Omaha’s most noxious business and residential area. Those who would not be welcomed into other areas of the city would end up on near North 16th Street. This was partly exclusion and partly economics. It was also a cheap neighborhood to live in. Numerous inexpensive hotels lined 16th Street and side roads, between Davenport and Cuming: the Edward at 302, the Rex at 605, the Drexel at 618, and the Northwestern at 619 16th St., the California on the southwest corner at California street, and the Park at 1502 Cass St. On Chicago between 15th and 16th streets were the Chicago and the Midland Hotels. On the south end of the neighborhood, Capitol to Davenport on 17th Street was the Flomar Hotel, a block east on 16th Street was the Loyal.
Exactly why the tong moved remains a matter of speculation, but it is clear that the center of the Chinese-American population in Omaha had shifted to North 16th Street by the late 1930s. The established families, the Chins and
Interspersed between hotels were markets, primarily grocers and hardware stores. And running through the center of neighborhood activity, and responsible for much of it, were streetcars that intersected with the rest of
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Omaha. It was the liveliest neighborhood business district in the city. In the post World War II era, as activities in the tong house continued, the World-Herald stopped reporting them. Mahjong was played daily, holidays were celebrated, but membership in the On Leong Tong continued to decline, as did its role for the Chinese-American community in Omaha. Like Gin Chin’s son Carl, who worked as a chemist for the city, the children of tong members would increasingly see themselves as citizens of Omaha, Nebraska, rather than members of an immigrant community. They would speak perfect American English. They would be assimilated, in the sense that they would no longer accept or bear the burden of being treated as aliens in their native land. The function of the tong declined as identity with it became less necessary or useful. After the death of George Hay in 1959 (who the World-Herald names as one of the last members), the tong disbanded. Chu Huey went on to open his own iconic restaurant, Chu’s Chop Suey House, in 1964, across from Aksarben on Center Street, which remained open until 2002. Chu’s father, Sam Huey died in 1965. Gin Chin died in 1962 at the age of 93, with 36 grandchildren and 49 great-grandchildren. His restaurant, King Fong’s, will be reopening in the near future.
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Blue Line Coffee purchased the former tong house at 1518 Cass St. in 2009 to be used as a coffeehouse/diner in anticipation of a planned transit center at 16th and Cass streets. The transit center failed to materialize and plans for the building were put on hold. The building is currently used for storage while under preparations for development. The author of this article, Chris McClellan, is the owner of Blue Line Coffee. McClellan prepared a history of the building (from which this article is excerpted) for Restoration Exchange Omaha’s successful nomination to list the structure with the National Register of Historic Places.
CHINESE NAMES Chinese names traditionally feature family/surname first, followed by given names. In Chinese, Gin Chin’s full name would be presented “Chin Ah Gin.” Gin Chin is an Americanized presentation. Chinese around the world also often take an English first name. In addition, some of the Chinese names featured in Omaha Magazine’s in-depth look at the city’s historic Chinese community are based on early archival accounts (where names might have been distorted due to language barriers, reporting errors, or outright racism). MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 61 / BESTOFOMAHA.COM
COVER // STORY BY DOUG MEIGS // PHOTOGRAPHY PROVIDED // DESIGN BY MATT WIECZOREK
TO WALK UPSTAIRS from 16th Street to
in California; Chin’s father was a potato farmer in Stockton who gained citizenship while working as a houseboy for the mayor of San Francisco. Chin eventually left California to open a Chinese restaurant in Duluth, Minnesota. Upon visiting Omaha for the 1896 Trans-Mississippi Exposition, he decided to relocate to Omaha’s relatively more-temperate climate. He opened the Mandarin Cafe and then King Fong Cafe in Omaha.
But the cuisine was another sort of timetravel experience. At least until King Fong’s— considered Omaha’s oldest restaurant—closed “temporarily” for renovations in 2016. King Fong’s menu featured old-school ChineseAmerican dishes such as chop suey, chow mein, and egg foo young.
King Fong’s opened in 1920 at 315 S. 16th St. The building previously housed dining entrepreneur Tolf Hanson’s Cafe Beautiful, an ambitious French restaurant that ended up a financial disaster (the bankrupted Hanson committed suicide in 1909, a year after Cafe Beautiful opened). To remodel the magnificent space, Chin went all the way to Canton (present-day Guangdong province) to retrieve the traditional furniture and décor that would fill King Fong’s second and third levels. Chin even took the boat back to America with his teak tables, chandeliers, and silk embroideries to keep the investment safe.
the dining area of King Fong Cafe was like passing through a time-warp. Destination: Southern China, more than 100 years ago. Pagoda chandeliers hovered above lavish teakwood tables inlaid with mother-ofpearl. Golden camphor carvings decorated the trim of private booths and tearooms. Silken embroideries adorned walls.
Back in the early days of Chinese immigration to the U.S., entrepreneurial chefs invented chop suey, chow mein, and egg foo young to appeal to American taste buds. The dishes became staples at Chinese restaurants throughout the United States, but they have gradually faded from Chinese-American menus in recent decades. The trend is evident in New York City’s Chinatown. Likewise among the Chinese restaurants of Omaha. Omaha-born director Alexander Payne was involved in a company’s purchase of King Fong’s in 2007. He has expressed desire to ensure that a Chinese restaurant remains at the site of King Fong’s for future generations; however, the restaurant remained closed for renovations as this edition of Omaha Magazine headed to press. Preservation of King Fong Cafe represents a continuation of the last-remaining continuous link to Omaha’s early Chinese community. The restaurant’s founder, Gin Chin, was born
Subsequent generations of the Chin family would leave the restaurant industry behind. Chin’s son, Carl (the eldest male of eight children), became a chemical engineer and chief chemist for Omaha Public Works. Although Carl personally helped out with accounting at King Fong’s, none of his own children would work there. Among Carl’s five children, his second-eldest son— Dennis Chin—is the only one still residing in Omaha. He became an accountant for Union Pacific before switching careers to education as a Bellevue school teacher/ administrator and wrestling coach.
Dennis’s first language was Toisanese—a regional dialect of Cantonese—but says he’s no longer conversational in Chinese. His Chinese-American wife, Betty, grew up in Pittsburgh’s small Chinese community. Her first language was also Toisanese. Dennis and Betty (who remains bilingual) speak English with each other, their children, and granddaughter. Their household conversations demonstrate how English often becomes the language of familiarity for second and third-generations of Chinese-American families. Just like the culinary landscape of ChineseAmerican communities has changed—with chop suey, chow mein, and egg foo young becoming increasingly rare—the linguistic landscape has also changed with subsequent waves of Chinese migration. Mandarin has replaced Cantonese as the dominant Chinese language in ChineseAmerican communities. (Cantonese is the regional language/dialect of Guangdong province and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, while Mandarin is spoken throughout mainland China and Taiwan.) Meanwhile, with recent waves of Chinese immigration, the great variety of Chinese cuisine has found more authentic representation in American cities: from Sichuanese (a spicy Chinese cuisine from the interior of the country, available in Omaha at China Garden), to Shandong specialties (available at Blue & Fly in Omaha), and even back south to the Cantonese-speaking region of China with authentic dim sum (available in Omaha at Gold Mountain’s two locations and Grand Fortune Chinese Restaurant).
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Omaha-born director Alexander Payne was involved in the purchase of King Fong Cafe (Omaha’s oldest restaurant) in 2007. Although currently closed, Payne plans to reopen King Fong’s in the near future. The restaurant’s interior is famous for rare and antique décor imported from Canton, China, in the early 1900s. Go to omahamagazine.com to see photos of the interior.
COVER // STORY BY DOUG MEIGS, BING CHEN, AND BETTY CHIN // DESIGN BY MATT WIECZOREK
中 國 人 在 奧 馬 哈
A TIMELINE of
CHINESE IN OMAHA
HINESE MIGRATION TO
Omaha began, indirectly, during the Gold Rush of the mid-1800s. The “Old Gold Mountain” (i.e., the Chinese term for California) attracted a flood of unskilled laborers known as coolies. Nationwide, the Chinese population grew by leaps and bounds: from 758 (in 1850) to 35,565 (in 1860) to 104,468 (in 1880), according to U.S. Census data on the country’s foreign-born population.
LaBounty spoke with Omaha Magazine while preparing a research presentation focused on the contribution of Chinese labor to Union Pacific. Among the earliest documentation is an illustration of Chinese railroad laborers crossing the frozen Missouri River with Omaha’s sparse skyline in the background—including the old territorial capitol, now the site of Central High School (printed in the Jan. 22, 1870, edition of Harper’s Weekly).
Facing open hostility in the goldfields, many went to work in agriculture, mining, fisheries, started laundry or restaurant businesses, or joined construction of the nation’s first transcontinental railroad. The railway industry dispersed Chinese migrants throughout the American interior. With Union Pacific’s headquarters in Omaha, it’s likely that the railroad helped populate Omaha’s own early Chinatown. But documentation of Union Pacific’s role in attracting the city’s earliest Chinese residents remains scarce.
Mounting opposition to Chinese immigrant labor led to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which halted immigration and banned citizenship. Many American Chinatowns dwindled and disappeared in subsequent years, with Chinese-American communities remaining staunchly Cantonese-speaking due to the early immigration from China’s southern regions. Post-World War II waves of Chinese immigrants predominantly spoke Mandarin, the language of mainland China and Taiwan.
“We don’t have archival records of Union Pacific bringing Chinese labor to Omaha, but we’ve seen this pattern throughout cities and towns of the American West,” says Patricia LaBounty, curator of the Union Pacific Railroad Museum in Council Bluffs.
The second wave of Chinese immigrants arriving in Omaha—and the U.S. in general—consisted of Chinese Nationalists and their families coming overseas after civil war split the Republic of China (Taiwan) from the communist People’s Republic of China.
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中 国 人 在 奥 马 哈
A third wave of immigration followed normalization of U.S. diplomatic ties with Beijing during Richard Nixon’s presidency. This group included highly educated professionals, scientists, doctors, and students from the People’s Republic of China. At the dawn of the 21st century, the number of students coming to U.S. universities (evident at the University of Nebraska system, Creighton, and Bellevue University) has steadily grown. Meanwhile, what could be considered a fourth wave of Chinese migration to North America has taken the form of wealthy Chinese looking to the U.S. for property and stock market investments.
WITH UNION PACIFIC’S HEADQUARTERS IN OMAHA, IT’S LIKELY THAT THE RAILROAD HELPED POPULATE OMAHA’S OWN EARLY CHINATOWN. BUT DOCUMENTATION OF UNION PACIFIC’S ROLE IN ATTRACTING THE CITY’S EARLIEST CHINESE RESIDENTS REMAINS SCARCE.
From the Jan. 22, 1870, Harper’s Weekly
MAY 10, 1869 Promontory, Utah—The driving of a ceremonial golden spike signals the completion of the nation’s first transcontinental railroad. Chinese labor played a critical role in completing the eastbound Central Pacific that met with Union Pacific.
JAN. 22, 1870 Harper’s Weekly prints “Chinese Coolies Crossing the Missouri River” with Omaha pictured in the illustration. The article claims 250 Chinese laborers passed through Omaha to build a railroad in Texas.
1872/1873 The 1872/1873 Omaha City Directory lists Chinese laundries for the first time. There are two: “Yingalongjingjohn & Yingyang” between Farnam and Harney on 10th Street, and “Hong Lee” on Harney between 14th and 15th streets.
JUNE 4, 1874 The Omaha Daily Bee reports on the burial of “Tinga-ling” at Prospect Hill Cemetery, noted as the city’s first Chinese burial. His death is attributed to “too much ironing and ice cream.” The article explains that his remains will be exhumed after two years to be returned to China for final burial in accordance with traditional custom. The article also notes that the local Chinese population consists of 12 men and one woman.
1880 OMAHA HAS 14 CHINESE RESIDENTS.*
1882 THE CHINESE EXCLUSION ACT IS PASSED BY CONGRESS AND SIGNED INTO LAW BY PRESIDENT CHESTER A. ARTHUR.
MAY 6, 1892 The national Methodist Episcopal Conference is held in Omaha. A speaker condemns the Chinese Exclusion Act for jeopardizing U.S. missionary work in China, denounces the U.S. president and Congress,
and argues “that the Chinese had the same right to be here as other foreigners, notably the Irish” (according to the New York Times on May 7, 1892).
1890 OMAHA HAS 91* OR 93 CHINESE RESIDENTS.**
FEB. 15, 1893 Dr. Gee Wo Chan goes to the Supreme Court of Nebraska for practicing medicine without a license. He will lose his case, but his traditional Chinese medicine practice continues. At the peak of his business, he operates storefront clinics in Omaha, Milwaukee, and Chicago. The Omaha Daily Bee frequently publishes full-page ads promoting that Dr. C. Gee Wo “the greatest doctor that China ever produced is in your city.” His 1892 marriage to a Caucasian woman in Chicago was reported in the Omaha Daily Bee. His life story will be featured in a free online book, Chinese Medicine in Post-Frontier America: A Tale of Three Chinese-American Doctors (published in 2016).
AUG. 31, 1894 An article in the Omaha Daily Bee covers a revolutionary meeting of 150 Chinese “from Denver, Cheyenne, Sioux City, St. Paul, Minneapolis, Kansas City, and other surrounding towns within a radius of 200 miles,” who meet to discuss overthrowing the Qing Dynasty. Chinese revolutionaries draw support from overseas Chinese communities around the world. Years later, China’s Revolution of 1911 will overturn the country’s last dynasty and set in motion the establishment of the Republic of China.
1895 The 1895 Omaha City Directory lists at least 21 Chinese-owned laundries (featuring names that appear to be Chinese).
OCT. 23, 1898 The Omaha World-Herald reports that 438 men, women, and children—including artists, performers, and cooks—were brought to the United States from China
to help with the Chinese village at the Trans-Mississippi Exposition in Omaha. The expo allowed them to bypass the Chinese Exclusion Act restrictions. The newspaper alleges human trafficking and claims that women were sold into slavery or prostitution.
1900 OMAHA HAS 94* OR 103 RESIDENTS.**
AUG. 19, 1900 The Illustrated Bee publishes an article titled “Chinese in Omaha—Some Prominent Men,” which claims a Sunday school has offered English language education to Chinese youth since September 1885. Laundry is the chief occupation of local Chinese residents, and cleaners tuck “good luck mottoes” into fresh linens. Opium smoking is on the decline (allegedly the only crime in an otherwise “peaceable, quiet, and law-abiding” community). A sort of Chinese credit union offers loans to the immigrants at exorbitant rates. Joe Wah Lee is named as the community’s best English interpreter, the wealthiest local Chinese person, and the shrewd owner of Bon Ton Restaurant. Leo Mun, head of Quong Wah Co. is named the community’s most educated in Chinese but lacking in English skills.“Henry” Hong Sling is noted as affiliated with the community but based in Chicago where he is a railroad passenger agent.
1910 OMAHA HAS 53 CHINESE RESIDENTS.*
JANUARY 1912 Gin Chin opens the Mandarin Cafe at 1409 Douglas St.
NOV. 22, 1916 The Omaha World-Herald reports on the opening of a “new hall” for the Omaha Chinese Merchants Association at the first known site of the On Leong Tong (111 N. 12th St.). Leo Wing is president and Chue Fing Sue is secretary. The report claims there are 150 Chinese living in Omaha.
1920 OMAHA HAS 126 CHINESE RESIDENTS.*
SEPT. 16, 1920 Gin Chin opens the King Fong Cafe near 16th and Harney streets.
1930 OMAHA HAS 147 CHINESE RESIDENTS.*
1931 Following the Stock Market Crash of 1929, a city directory is not printed in 1930. The 1931 Omaha City Directory lists at least eight Chinese laundromats remaining in Omaha (six are included under a “Chinese Laundry” category, two are listed as hand-laundries). Omaha has 147 Chinese residents.* “When the Depression came in, there was no more business,” says Jeanette Chin, wife of Carl Chin (Gin Chin’s son). “If families could save some money, they could go back (to China) and live like royalty.” She came to Omaha in 1942 from a prominent family in New York City’s Chinatown. Local Omaha papers claimed her 1942 marriage to Carl was the city’s “last arranged marriage.”
JULY 16, 1938 The Omaha World-Herald reports on firecrackers and festivities involved in the dedication of the relocated On Leong Tong at 1518 Cass St. The article notes that the tong is raising funds for China’s fight against Japan in the war effort.
1940 OMAHA HAS 69 CHINESE R ESIDENTS (44 NATIVE-BORN AND 25 FOREIGN-BORN).***
1944 The year after the Chinese Exclusion Act is repealed (1943) during World War II, Gen. Albert Wedemeyer takes command of U.S. forces in China, relieving Joseph Stillwell. Wedemeyer was born in Omaha in 1897. He was likely familiar with Omaha’s ethnic Chinese community as he attended Creighton Preparatory School (when the school was located near downtown on the Creighton University). In 1919 he went to West Point Academy. Upon graduation, he was assigned to Tientsin, China, where he learned to speak Mandarin and gained a deeper understanding of China’s turbulent political climate with the consolidation efforts by the Nationalists and the rise of the Communist movement.
1946 The 1946 Omaha City Directory lists one business under the category “Laundries—Chinese” (Louie Chas at 209 S. 13th St.), and the name disappears in the next year’s directory. The Chinese laundry category vanishes from record in subsequent city directories.
1950 OMAHA HAS 106 CHINESE RESIDENTS.*
1960 OMAHA HAS 130 CHINESE RESIDENTS.****
1970 OMAHA HAS 186 CHINESE RESIDENTS.****
// COVER //
1978 Joe Kuo and his wife, Alice, open the Great Wall Restaurant at 72nd and Farnam streets. The restaurant’s success will spawn other Great Wall restaurants downtown (at 11th and Farnam streets), near 84th and Center streets, at Oak View Mall, and in Council Bluffs. Kuo had graduated from Fort Hays State University in Kansas with a mathematics degree in 1972, but with a new family decided against doctoral studies to enter business as a restaurateur in New York City and Chicago before coming to Omaha. The Kuos were founding members of a Christian fellowship of Omaha Chinese (established in 1977), which started as a bible study group (officially renamed the “Omaha Christian Chinese Fellowship” in 1980, and again renamed as “Omaha Chinese Christian Church” in 1986). Kuo’s restaurants host bible study gatherings. The church’s founding minister, Pastor Job Lee, is married to Joe’s elder sister (Grace). The church fellowship serves as a center for Chinese language and culture education. The Kuo family will sponsor local Chinese cultural events, leading to the creation of the Metropolitan Omaha Chinese American Association.
1980 OMAHA HAS 374 CHINESE RESIDENTS.**** The Omaha Chinese Christian Fellowship rents space at First Presbyterian Church. A few years later, in 1983, the fellowship will relocate to First Christian Church on 66th and Dodge streets.
MID-1980s The Metropolitan Omaha Chinese American Association forms with the goal of bringing all Chinese immigrants and American-born Chinese together, regardless of regional origins or political affiliation. The organization’s board includes Dennis Chin (a Bellevue Public School educator and Gin Chin’s grandson), his wife Betty Chin (a research organizer at Creighton and UNMC), and UNL engineering professor Bing Chen, among others. The association will eventually discontinue as political tensions mount and the community shifts to a predominantly mainland Chinese orientation.
1985 The Metropolitan Omaha Chinese American Association’s Chinese New Year celebration moves to UNO’s Milo Bail Student Center for a Chinese meal cooked by UNO chefs under the watchful eye of Joe Kuo followed by music, acrobatics, and dance performances at the Strauss Performing Arts Center. During its years of operation, the group also participates in the Omaha Ethnic Festival at the Civic Auditorium and hosts Mid-Autumn Moon Festival and Dragon Boat Festival gatherings.
1990 The Omaha Chinese Christian Church purchases its own building at 81st and Blondo streets. OMAHA HAS 553 CHINESE RESIDENTS.****
1990s-2000s Mainland Chinese in Omaha are believed to organize local community events, including Lunar New Year gatherings. (Individuals known to be involved did not respond to Omaha Magazine’s request for comment.)
2000 OMAHA HAS 1,155 CHINESE RESIDENTS.**** In 2000, UNMC begins a formal faculty exchange program with Shanghai University. It is the first time the Chinese government has “awarded and funded a faculty exchange program between a Chinese medical school and [a] U.S. medical school.” In subsequent years, UNMC’s exchange programs with Chinese medical institutions continue to develop. By the year 2018, UNMC’s Asia Pacific Rim Development Program will have established partnerships with more than a dozen Chinese medical schools.
2005 Creighton philosophy professor Jinmei Yuan begins annual student trips to China, supported by the Rev. John Schlegel (president of the university) and Soong Ching-Ling Foundation in China.
2007 Omaha-born filmmaker Alexander Payne is part of a group that buys King Fong Cafe from the Huey family that has managed the restaurant in the years following Gin Chin’s passing. Also in 2007, the Confucius Institute (which operates around the world teaching Chinese as a second language) opens at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; the institute will become a key sponsor for holiday celebrations with the UNL chapter of the Chinese Student and Scholar Association, Lincoln Chinese Cultural Association, the Asian Community Center in Lincoln, and the Omaha Chinese Cultural Association/Nebraska Chinese Association.
2008 In 2008, Creighton’s School of Pharmacy and Health Professions establishes a three-month Rehabilitation International Summer Program. By 2014, the university will establish the China Honors Interprofessional Program for medical students and health care professionals in China. Partner schools will include 10 universities across China (along with universities in five other countries).
MAY 2008 The Omaha Chinese Culture Association establishes in the wake of China’s tragic 2008 Sichuan earthquakes. In China, more than 69,000 are confirmed dead and 5 million people are displaced. Bellevue University’s director of global partnerships in Asia, Julie Verebely, was born in the area devastated by the quake. Verebely knew her home was affected, but she didn’t know how badly. She couldn’t contact any friends or family in the province. “She called me up and said, ‘We need to do something. It’s my hometown,’” recalls Linda Steele, who works with Verebely at Bellevue. With a core group of more than 30 Chinese-Americans and Chinese expats, they arrange several fundraisers that accumulate more than $30,000. During their fundraising efforts, Ping Ye (a systems analyst at HDR) suggests to fellow volunteers that they organize as a continuing Chinese association. Ye is the Omaha Chinese Culture Association’s first president, followed by Mae Keith, and then Steele. John Zhang is the association’s first chairman of the board, followed by Hong Zheng.
2009 The Omaha Chinese Christian Church moves to its current location at 4618 S. 139th St.
2010 OMAHA HAS 1,437 CHINESE RESIDENTS.****
FEB. 3, 2009 The first Lunar New Year Gala is hosted by the Omaha Chinese Cultural Association at Christ Community Church. Locations will change in later years: Millard North High School in 2010, Burke High School in 2011-2012, Westside High School in 2013, Westside Middle School in 2015-2017, and Burke again in 2018.
APRIL 2009 In April, an Omaha delegation visits Yantai (in Shandong province) at the invitation of the mayor of the northeastern Chinese city. In October, Yantai officials will visit Omaha to sign a letter of intent to become “sister cities.” In June 2010, Omaha’s Mayor Jim Suttle will visit Yantai, China, in a trip to establish Omaha and Yantai as “sister cities.”
OCT. 3, 2009 The Omaha Chinese Cultural Association hosts the first annual Mid-Autumn Chinese Cultural Festival at Zorinsky Lake to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival.
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JUNE 4, 2011 The Omaha Chinese Cultural Association hosts its first annual Dragon Boat Festival on a Missouri River cruise.
2012 Bellevue University establishes a partnership with Guangzhou College of Commerce in 2012. The first group of Chinese students will arrive in 2015. Also in 2012, the UNO College of Business Administration begins annual study trips to China.
AUGUST 2012 During a visit to China, Nebraska’s Gov. Dave Heineman announces the state will open a trade office in China.
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2013 The UNO College of Business Administration hosts a China Conference focused on US-China economic relations and business partnerships. The conference continues for a second year in 2014.
MARCH 18, 2013 Ceremonies in Nebraska and Shanghai are held to announce the opening of the Nebraska Center China in Shanghai. Upon taking office in 2015, Gov. Pete Ricketts continues to foster China-Nebraska trade relations with trade trips in 2015, 2016, and 2017. The Omaha Chamber also participates in overseas trips to China on an annual basis.
MAY 2014 An estimated 1,000 Chinese investors visit Omaha for the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting. In China, the “Oracle of Omaha” Warren Buffett is known as “the God of Stock Investing.” The number of Chinese visitors to Omaha during the shareholder meeting will continue to grow every year. An estimated 2,000-3,000 Chinese investors will visit Omaha for the shareholder meeting in 2016.
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// COVER //
2015 The Nebraska Chinese Association replaces the Omaha Chinese Cultural Association under the leadership of local Omaha businessman Hong Zheng (owner of the Asian Market) and its president Linda Steele (an adjunct professor Bellevue University).
APRIL 2016 Lion Dancers help the Nebraska Chinese Association celebrate the grand opening of the Nebraska Chinese Center in the site of a former church at 8206 Blondo St. The center offers language classes, cooking classes, a farmers’ market, tai chi exercise programs, and other cultural events.
2016 King Fong Cafe closes “temporarily.”
MAY 2017 The annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders’ meeting continues to draw more Chinese visitors every year. Buses take Chinese tour groups to Warren Buffett’s home in Dundee for photographs. In 2017, Linda Steele estimates that there are 3,000-4,000 Chinese visitors. A gala dinner hosted by the Nebraska Chinese Association introduces overseas investors and local businesses. Steele expects 5,000 Chinese visitors for the Berkshire meeting in 2018.
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JUNE 14, 2017 Forty boxes of beef arrive in China from Greater Omaha Packing Co. The Omaha-headquartered business has emerged as an industry leader in reopening U.S. beef exports to China. It is the first shipment of U.S. beef to China since 2003 (following a mad cow scare that halted imports).
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NOVEMBER 2017 The National Register of Historic Places recognizes the historic status of the On Leong Tong at 1518 Cass St.
2018 In the 2017/2018 academic year, Bellevue University has 258 overseas Chinese students; UNMC has 96 students from mainland China; UNO has 124 overseas Chinese students; Creighton has 36.
MARCH 3, 2018 The 10th anniversary of the Lunar New Year Gala hosted by the Nebraska Chinese Association/Omaha Chinese Cultural Association takes place at Burke High School. Of the approximately 200 volunteers organizing the gala, 100 are overseas Chinese students. The association’s members include close to 800 people.
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*Source: U.S. Census data provided by the Nebraska State Historical Society **Source: An Almanac of Nebraska: Nationality, Ethnic, and Racial Groups (published in 1975) ***Source: U.S. Census data provided by the Nebraska Library Commission ****Source: U.S. Census data provided by University of Nebraska-Omaha Center for Public Affairs Research
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WOUNDED WARRIORS FAMILY SUPPORT TO BUILD 24-BED RESIDENCE FOR COMBAT WOUNDED VETERANS
Wounded Warriors Family Support, an Omaha-
based national nonprofit founded by retired U.S. Marine Corps Col. John Folsom to support families of those wounded or killed in combat, has begun planning, a 24-bed residential home in rural Douglas County for combat-wounded veterans. The 18,000-square-foot Dunham House is named in honor of U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Jason L. Dunham, who died in April 2005 after he smothered a grenade with his body to protect fellow Marines in Husaybah, Iraq. “Our combat wounded residential community will be the home for combat wounded veterans who need assistance with daily living activities and have no family members to care for them,” said Col. John Folsom, USMCR (Ret.), founder and president of Wounded Warriors Family Support. “Their alternative would be to reside in an assisted living center and not in a care community with other veterans. Since our combat wounded residential community will be in Omaha, the families of our residence from all over the United States will be able to easily travel from anywhere in the continental United States to visit their loved
ones,” Folsom said. “The setting in the country allows for peace, quiet and tranquility.” Many of our combat wounded veterans with spinal cord and/or moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries require assistance or are completely dependent on caregivers. Most single soldiers are cared for by their parents. At some point, their parents will not be capable of caring of their sons or daughters because of their own age and health issues. Unless another family member steps up, that soldier will more than likely be housed in an assisted living center or nursing home. Wounded Warriors Family Support will build and operate a first class 24 bedroom facility that will be homelike in design and visually beautiful. To make this possible, the home will be built in the country to provide a peaceful, pastoral setting, yet close enough to Omaha for medical facilities and other support.Our plan is to have the facility open by Christmas of 2019. The organization has launched a website specifically for the project at dunhamhouse.org. Rated a four-star nonprofit by Charity Navigator and listed among Consumer Reports “Top Rated Veteran Charities,” Wounded Warriors Family
MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 70 / OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM
Support provides the following services, locally and nationally, free of charge to combat-wounded veterans and their families: • Caregiver Respite Services to ensure that family members who are thrust into caregiver roles are provided with the support they need to keep their families intact while keeping themselves healthy. • Family Programs that give wounded veterans a chance to heal and reconnect with their loved ones in a peaceful, stressfree environment, strengthening the bonds of their families and making lasting memories. • Veterans Training, in partnership with UAWFord, to give military veterans opportunities to train for and pursue careers in welding. • Mobility is Freedom, a program that provides grants to qualified combat-wounded veterans for the purchase of Ford vehicles adapted to suit their unique needs. More information about the organization is available at wwfs.org.
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â€œAll the money we generate goes into helping the memorymakers and their families,â€? -jerry Murtaugh
OMAHA MAGAZINE | GIVING PROFILE STORY BY LEO ADAM BIGA // PHOTOGRAPHY BY BILL SITZMANN // DESIGN BY MATT WIECZOREK
Giving a Helping Hand tO Nebraska Greats The nebraska greats foundation
MEMORY-MAKERS. That’s what former Husker gridiron great Jerry Murtaugh calls the ex-collegiate athletes whose exploits we recall with larger-than-life nostalgia. Mythic-like hero portrayals aside, athletes are only human. Their bodies betray them. Medical interventions and other emergencies drain resources. Not every old athlete can pay pressing bills or afford needed care. That’s where the Nebraska Greats Foundation that Murtaugh began five years ago comes in. The charitable organization assists memory-makers who lettered in a sport at any of Nebraska’s 15 universities or colleges. “All the money we generate goes into helping the memory-makers and their families,” Murtaugh says. Its genesis goes back to Murtaugh missing a chance to help ailing ex-Husker star Andra Franklin, who died in 2006. When he learned another former NU standout, Dave Humm, was hurting, he made it his mission to help. Murtaugh got Husker coaching legend Tom Osborne to endorse the effort and write the first check. “The foundation has been a source of financial aid to many former Huskers who are in need, but also, and maybe equally important, it has helped bind former players together in an effort to stay in touch and to serve each other,” Osborne says. “I sense a feeling of camaraderie and caring among our former players not present in many other athletic programs around the country.” The foundation has since expanded its reach to letter-winners from all Nebraska higher ed institutions. By the start of 2018, more than $270,000 raised by the foundation went to cover the needs of 12 recipients. Three recipients subsequently died from cancer. As needed, the foundation provides for the surviving spouse and children of memory-makers. The latest and youngest grantee is also the first female recipient—Brianna Perez. The former York College All-America softball player required surgery for a knee injury suffered playing ball. Between surgery, flying to California to see her ill mother, graduate school, and unforeseen expenses, Perez went into debt.
“She found out about us, we reviewed her application, and her bills were paid off,” Nebraska Greats Foundation Administrator Margie Smith says. “She cried and so did I.” It’s hard for proud ex-athletes to accept or ask for help, says all-time Husker hoops great Maurtice Ivy, who serves on the board. Yet they find themselves in vulnerable straits that can befall anyone. Giving back to those who gave so much, she says, “is a no-brainer.” The hard times that visit these greats are heartbreaking. Some end up in wheelchairs, others homeless. Some die and leave family behind. “I cry behind closed doors,” Murtaugh says. “One of the great ones we lost, a couple weeks before he passed away said, ‘All I’m asking is take care of my family.’ So, we’re doing our best. What I’m proud of is, we don’t leave them hanging. Our athlete, our brother, our sister has died, and we just don’t stop there—we clear up all the medical bills the family faces. We’re there for them.” “We become advocates, cheerleaders, and sounding boards for them and their families,” Smith says. “I am excited when I write checks to pay their bills, thrilled when they make a full recovery, and cry when they pass away. But we’re helping our memory-makers through their time of need. Isn’t this what life is all about?” Smith says the foundation pays forward what the athletes provided fans in terms of feelings and memories. “We all want to belong to something good,” she says. “That is why the state’s collegiate sports programs are so successful. We cheer our beloved athletes to do their best to make us feel good. We brag about the wins, cry over the losses. The outcome affects us because we feel a sense of belonging. These recipients gave their all for us. They served as role models. Now it’s our turn to take care of them.” Murtaugh is sure it’s an idea whose time has come. “Right now, I think we’re the only state that helps our former athletes,” he says. “Before I’m dead, I’m hoping every state picks up on this and helps their own because the NCAA isn’t going to help you after you’re done. We know that. And that’s what we’re here for—we need to help our own. And that’s what we’re doing.” MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 73 / BESTOFOMAHA.COM
Funds raised go directly to creditors, not recipients. He says two prominent athletic figures with ties to the University of Nebraska—Barry Alvarez, who played football at NU and coached Wisconsin, where he’s athletic director, and Craig Bohl, who played and coached at NU’s football program, led North Dakota State to three national titles, and now coaches Wyoming—wish to start similar foundations. Murtaugh and his board, comprised mostly of ex-athletes like himself, are actively getting the word out across the state and beyond to identify more potential recipients and raise funds to support them. He’s confident of the response. “We’re going to have the money to help all the former athletes in the state who need our help,” he says. “Athletes and fans are starting to really understand the impact they all make for these recipients. People have stepped up and donated a lot of money. A lot of people have done a lot of things for us. But we need more recipients. We have some money in the bank that needs to be used.” Because Nebraska collegiate fan bases extend statewide and nationally, Murtaugh travels to alumni and booster groups to present the foundation’s work. Everywhere he goes, he says, people get behind it. “Nebraskans are the greatest fans in the country and they back their athletes in all 15 colleges and universities,” he says. “It’s great to see. I’m proud to be part of this, I really am.” Foundation fundraisers unite the state around a shared passion. A golf classic in North Platte last year featured the three Husker Heisman Trophy winners—Johnny Rodgers, Mike Rozier, and Eric Crouch—for an event that raised $40,000. Another golf outing is planned for July in Kearney that will once more feature the Heisman trio. Murtaugh envisions future events across the state so fans can rub shoulders with living legends and help memory-makers with their needs. He sees it as one big “family” coming together “to help our own.” Visit nebraskagreatsfoundation.org for more information.
CALENDAR MARCH / A P R I L 2 0 1 8
March 1 (5:30-9 p.m.)
CELEBRITY CHEF 2018
Benefiting: Food Bank for the Heartland Location: Embassy Suites La Vista —foodbankheartland.org
March 8 (11:45 a.m.-1 p.m.)
AMERICAN RED CROSS HEROES IN THE HEARTLAND LUNCHEON Benefiting: American Red Cross Location: Hilton Omaha —redcross.org/neia
March 24 (4 p.m.)
April 8 (5:30-9:30 p.m.)
Benefiting: Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Midlands Location: UNO Milo Bail Student Center
Benefiting: Central High School Foundation Location: Omaha Design Center
March 24 (1-2:30 p.m. girl reception, 7-9:30 p.m. reception and silent auction)
Benefiting: Girl Scouts Spirit of Nebraska Location: UNO Mammel Hall —girlscoutsnebraska.org
March 24 (5:30 p.m.)
Benefiting: CUES Supported Schools Location: Embassy Suites La Vista —cuesschools.org
March 24 (6-9:30 p.m.)
Benefiting: Omaha Together One Community Location: KANEKO
ROCK THE NEST TRIVIA NIGHT
April 10 (10:30 a.m.-2 p.m.)
ASSISTANCE LEAGUE OF OMAHA STYLE SHOW Benefiting: Assistance League of Omaha Location: Champions Run —alomaha.org
April 11 (noon-1:30 p.m.)
2018 AUTHOR LUNCHEON, FEATURING DR. MICHELE BORBA Benefiting: Completely Kids Location: Hilton Omaha —completelykids.org
April 13 (6-9 p.m.)
CIRCLE OF DREAMS
Benefiting: St. Augustine Mission School Location: A View on State —staugustinemission.org
March 28 (11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.)
FUSION LUNCHEON 2018 FEATURING JEFF LEWIS March 2 (7-10:30 p.m.)
March 8 (6:30-9 p.m.)
Benefiting: Diabetes-related causes Location: il Palazzo
Benefiting: Assure Women’s Center Location: Embassy Suites La Vista
I-80 COSMOPOLITAN CLUB’S GALA: AN EVENING ON THE ITALIAN RIVIERA —business.facebook.com/I80cosmos
ASSURE BANQUET WITH FRANKLIN GRAHAM
Benefiting: Nebraska Medicine Guild scholarships Location: Mariott Downtown
April 13 (5-10 p.m.)
KICKS FOR A CURE ANNUAL DINNER Benefiting: Kicks for a Cure Location: Embassy Suites La Vista
March 3 (7 a.m.)
March 10 (5:30-11 p.m.)
Benefiting: Common Fund of the Heartland Location: Midtown Crossing
Benefiting: Holt International Location: Hotel RL
April 13-14 (times vary)
March 10 (6 p.m.)
Benefiting: DREAM (Developing Relationships through Education, Athletics, and Mentoring) Locations: various
HEAT THE STREETS RUN & WALK FOR WARMTH
March 3 (6-10 p.m.)
Benefiting: Catholic Charities Location: Marriott Capitol District —ccomaha.org
March 3 (noon-4 p.m.)
OMAHA BARSTOOL OPEN
Benefiting: United Cerebral Palsy of Nebraska Location: the Old Market —ucpnebraska.org
March 3 (6 p.m.)
HOLT INTERNATIONAL GALA: A BENEFIT FOR MONGOLIA
SILVER RIBBON EVENT: THE HEART AND ART OF CARING
Benefiting: CRCC (Children’s Respite Care Center) Location: Scoular Ballroom —crccomaha.org
March 17 (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
ANCIENT ORDER OF THE HIBERNIANS’ ST. PATRICK’S DAY LUNCHEON Benefiting: St. Vincent de Paul Society Location: Firefighters Union Hall —aohomaha.org
March 18 (4 p.m.)
Benefiting: Notre Dame Sisters Location: St. Robert Bellarmine Social Hall
March 4 (9-11:30 a.m.)
14TH ANNUAL WALK & ROLL FOR DISABILITIES Benefiting: Meyer Foundation for Disabilities Location: Oak View Mall —mfdisabilities.org
CELEBRATION OF SPIRIT DINNER
March 19, April 16 (6 p.m.)
BREATHE & BREW YOGA SERIES
Benefiting: American Lung Association Location: Scriptown Brewing Co. —lung.org
March 4 (noon-6 p.m.)
March 22 (11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.)
Benefiting: Ladies Ancient Order of the Hibernians Location: Firefighters Union Hall
Benefiting: Phoenix Academy Location: Hilton Omaha
HOOLEY! HOOLEY! HOOLEY!
BIG DREAM WEEKEND WITH BOWLING, TAILGATING, AND MORE
CRUISE AWAY TO HOLLYWOOD Benefiting: Stephen Center Location: Champions Run
SCHOLARSHIP LUNCHEON —phoenixacademyomaha.org
March 31 (5-10 p.m.)
MARCH MADNEZZ 2018
Benefiting: Boys and Girls Clubs of the Midlands Location: The Grass Wagon —bgcomaha.org
April 4-5 (8 a.m.-4 p.m.)
SPEAKING OF CHILDREN LUNCHEON AND CONFERENCE Benefiting: Project Harmony Location: Embassy Suites La Vista —projectharmony.com
April 6 (6:30-10 p.m.)
WINE, WOMEN & SHOES
Benefiting: Children’s Hospital & Medical Center Foundation Location: Omaha Design Center —winewomenandshoes.com/omaha
April 7-8 (noon-5 p.m.)
NARI REMODELED HOME TOUR Benefiting: Healing Embrace Locations: various —omahanari.org
April 7 (5:30-10 p.m.)
FOURTH ANNUAL PINK RIBBON AFFAIR Benefiting: Susan G. Komen Nebraska Location: Hilton Omaha —komennebraska.org
MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 74 / OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM
April 14 (9 a.m.-noon)
AUTISM PUZZLE WALK
Benefiting: Autism Center of Nebraska Location: Ralston Arena —autismnebraska.org/autism-walks
April 14 (11 a.m.-2 p.m.)
SEVENTH ANNUAL SPRING LUNCHEON Benefiting: Santa Monica House Location: DC Centre —santamonicahouse.org
April 14 (7-10:30 a.m.)
KEEP KIDS ALIVE DRIVE 25 LIVE FORWARD! RUN-WALK TO REMEMBER Benefiting: Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 Location: Skutt High School —kkad25.org
April 14 (4:30 p.m.-midnight)
CATHEDRAL COMEDY & CUISINE
Benefiting: St. Cecilia School Location: St. Cecilia Parish Center —stceciliacathedral.org
April 14 (5-9 p.m.)
VINNEBRASKA PUBLIC WINE TASTING AND GRAND AUCTION Benefiting: Partnership 4 Kids Location: Hotel RL —vinnebraska.com
April 14 (5:30 p.m.-9 p.m.)
FESTA DEL LEONE
Benefiting: Roncalli High School Location: Roncalli High School —roncallicatholic.org
Thanks Omaha for 30 Years!
BLUE JEANS BALL: 35 YEARS OF WISHES Benefiting: Make-A-Wish Nebraska Location: Hilton Omaha
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April 14 (6 p.m.)
April 14 (6 p.m.-midnight)
14TH ANNUAL BARRISTER’S BALL—“ESCAPES TO THE TROPICS” Benefiting: various legal projects Location: Embassy Suites La Vista —nebar.com/nlfevents
April 14 (times vary)
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KICKS FOR A CURE SOCCER EXHIBITION
Benefiting: Kicks for a Cure Location: Creighton Soccer Complex, UNO Caniglia Soccer Complex —kicksforacure.org
April 14 (6-9 p.m.)
FEATHER OUR NEST 2018
Benefiting: Fontenelle Forest Location: Omaha Mariott Downtown —fontenelleforest.org
April 15 (11 a.m.-4 p.m.)
PORK DINNER & POLKA FEST
Benefiting: Notre Dame Sisters Location: St. Philip Neri Activity Center —notredamesisters.org
A member of
April 17 (6-9:30 p.m.)
OMAHA BUSINESS HALL OF FAME GALA
Benefiting: Greater Omaha Chamber Location: Holland Performing Arts Center —omahachamber.org
April 18 (11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.)
They can’t hit what they can’t see.
AT EASE USA ANNUAL LUNCHEON
Benefiting: At Ease USA Location: CenturyLink Center Omaha —ateaseusa.org
April 19 (7-8:30 a.m.)
BPS FOUNDATION COMMUNITY BREAKFAST
Benefiting: Bellevue Public Schools Foundation Location: BPS Lied Activity Center —bellevuepublicschoolsfoundation.org
April 19 (6-9 p.m.)
A NIGHT OF INSPIRING HOPE
Benefiting: Fresh Hope Location: Embassy Suites Omaha —nightofinspiringhope.com
April 20 (7-10 p.m.)
RIVALZ—BLONDES VS. BRUNETTES Benefiting: Alzheimer’s Association Location: Omaha Sports Complex —act.alz.org
April 20 (5:30-8 p.m.)
13TH ANNUAL MEN OF HONOR “IGNITING OUR YOUTH” AWARDS DINNER Benefiting: 100 Black Men of Omaha Location: Hilton Omaha —100blackmenomaha.org
April 20, 21, 27, and 28 (times vary)
BOWL FOR KIDS’ SAKE
Benefiting: Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Midlands Location: Maplewood Lanes —bbbsomaha.org
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“Now there is no Indian center in Sioux City and none in Omaha, so we hope our new facility will increase our capacity to do more in the realm of job placement, Methodist has guided generations of families training, and there is even through the prevention, treatment and possible collaboration with management of heart disease, with a team recognized as one of the finest in the region. Metropolitan Community It’s a level of care that’s making the future of our community,College and the future ofin the works.” your family, as strong as possible. bestcare.org
The ONLY hospital in Omaha recognized for excellence in overall heart bypass surgery by Consumer Reports Hospital Ratings
MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 76 / OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM
©2017 Methodist Health System
OMAHA MAGAZINE | GIVING CALENDAR
April 21 (9-11 a.m.)
CLAUSSEN-LEAHY MAVERICK RUN Benefiting: UNO Athletics Location: Baxter Arena —omavs.com
April 21 (noon-3 p.m.)
WOMEN DEFINING HISTORY LUNCHEON AND RUNWAY SHOW Benefiting: Douglas County Historical Society Location: Institute of the Culinary Arts —douglascohistory.org
April 21 (5-8 p.m.)
Benefiting: Creighton Prep Location: Creighton Prep High School —creightonprep.creighton.edu
April 21 (5:30-9 p.m.)
BLACK TIE AND TAILS
Benefiting: Nebraska Humane Society Location: Omaha Marriott Downtown —nehumanesociety.org
April 22 (2-4 p.m.)
WALK FOR AWARENESS
Benefiting: Conceive Nebraska Location: Turner Park —conceivenebraska.org
April 23 (noon-1 p.m.)
BOY SCOUTS CITIZEN OF THE YEAR LUNCHEON, HONORING CHRIS MURPHY Benefiting: Boy Scouts of America Location: Scott Conference Center —mac-bsa.org
April 24 (6:30-9:30 p.m.)
CELEBRATING THE GOLDEN AGE OF HOLLYWOOD Benefiting: Omaha Community Foundation Location: Omaha Community Playhouse —omahaplayhouse.com
April 28 (9 a.m.)
MARCH FOR BABIES
Benefiting: March of Dimes Location: Lewis & Clark Landing —marchforbabies.org
April 28 (5-11 p.m.)
BLUE JEANS & DREAMS
Benefiting: Heartland Equine Therapeutic Riding Academy Location: HETRA Barn —hetra.org
April 28 (9 a.m.)
Savor the experience
THIRD ANNUAL BRUNCH 5K
Benefiting: Junior League of Omaha Location: Midtown Crossing, brunch at CRAVE —jlomaha.org
April 29 (noon registration, 1 p.m. start)
OMAHA AREA WALK
Benefiting: ALS in the Heartland Location: Baxter Arena —alsintheheartland.org
Event times and details may change. Check with venue or event organizer to confirm.
Voted Best of Omaha EIGHT Years in a Row 402.558.3202 cateringcreations.com MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 77 / BESTOFOMAHA.COM
PROFILE // STORY KEVIN SIMONSON // PHOTOGRAPHY BY BILL SITZMANN // DESIGN & ILLUSTRATION BY MATT WIECZOREK
Steve Grasz in president
Takes trump’s full the bench court press on america’s judiciary
MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 78 / OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM
Omaha attorney Steve Grasz sat watching TV in a conference room at the law firm of Husch Blackwell. Passionate about Husker basketball, he attends most of the home games and rarely misses a televised game. On this particular December day, he was joined by his wife and daughter.
It was around 3:30 p.m. Kind of early to be watching TV on a Tuesday afternoon. The bottom of the screen listed the score at 10 to 2. The law firm’s managing partner grabbed a seat next to Steve. Everyone was excited and a bit tense. Seventeen minutes later, the tide had turned—it was 24 to 31. A few more attorneys slipped into the back of the room and were pacing nervously. Watching a basketball game was usually more fun than this. Perhaps the mood would have been more jovial if there actually was a Husker game on that day. But the TV wasn’t turned to ESPN. Grasz and his group were watching live C-SPAN coverage of the U.S. Senate voting on whether to confirm his appointment to serve as a federal judge on the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. Twenty-two minutes into the confirmation session and this battle royal was all tied up: 44 “Yes” votes to confirm, 44 “No” votes to deny confirmation. (Sometimes C-SPAN can be just as exciting as ESPN….) A few months earlier, Nebraska Sens. Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse had recommended Grasz to President Donald Trump for this position. Trump promptly nominated the native Nebraskan and University of Nebraska College of Law graduate.
the American Bar Association deemed Grasz not qualified for the position. The ABA cited temperament issues...lack of open-mindedness and declared that the nominee’s bias...colored his ability to judge fairly.
“ “ “
The former Nebraska Chief Deputy Attorney General faced an uphill battle. This included a confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which the Huffington Post called “awkward” and “brutal.” At this point in the process, Grasz was receiving bipartisan support from the likes of the former Democratic governor and senator Ben Nelson and President Barack Obama’s Nebraska appointee for U.S. attorney, Deb Gilg. If you weren’t watching the live C-SPAN coverage (which you probably weren’t) you missed Sen. Fischer’s impassioned comments to the members of the Senate just prior to the roll call.
Judicial nominees to U.S. circuit courts typically encounter roadblocks from foes of all shapes and sizes—especially Trump nominees—and after intense scrutiny, the American Bar Association deemed Grasz “not qualified” for the position. The ABA cited “temperament issues... lack of open-mindedness” and declared that the nominee’s “bias...colored his ability to judge fairly.”
In conversation with Sen. Fischer, she tells Omaha Magazine, “These things become so partisan, and this is a case where we have a good candidate. He is a good solid man. Very humble.”
Sen. Sasse rejects the ABA assessment: “I’ve long known and respected Steve’s dedicated service to our state and to many nonprofit organizations working in our communities. As I worked with Steve throughout the judiciary process, my colleagues met a man with the characteristics you’d expect from your neighbor here in Nebraska.”
Sen. Fischer adds: “It was quite evident early on in the interview process that Steve’s intellect and temperament matched up very well with all of the recommendations we had received on him. The 8th Circuit Court examines the big constitutional questions and with his focus on the Constitution and his focus on the rule of law...he’s exactly the type of person we want to be on that court. I’m very pleased that he is going to be serving not just Nebraskans, but the American people.”
The final vote was cast by Sen. Daniel Scott Sullivan of Alaska at 3:59 p.m. Grasz was victorious by a score of 50 to 48. The vote was along party lines with Republican senators all voting “yay” and Democrat senators voting “nay.” (Sens. John McCain and Thad Cochran abstained from voting due to illnesses.)
// PROFILE //
So how did Judge Grasz celebrate after being granted a lifetime appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeals? Not by going to Disneyland… “We went out to dinner, and I love basketball, so we went to a high school basketball game,” he says. That night, in the parking lot of Concordia High School, just prior to tip-off, Steve received a congratulatory phone call from White House counsel and assistant to the president Don McGahn. Over the next few days, he received similar calls from numerous Washington insiders—including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. (And in case you’re wondering, the Concordia Mustangs whooped the Scotus Shamrocks by a score of 57 to 48.) “I have complete trust in Steve,” Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert tells Omaha Magazine. “I’ve known him for quite a long time. He served as my primary attorney for all of my political matters since I first ran for the legislature back in 2006. He’s always been very professional and very successful in advocating for me. He is very thorough, he is very fair, he is even-tempered and very open-minded. I know he will do a great job.” “My permanent office will be downtown,” Grasz explains about his new vocation. “The 8th Circuit Court takes up most of the fourth floor in the Hruska Federal Courthouse. There is a courtroom and additional offices to accommodate three circuit judges when they’re in Omaha. I will also be traveling throughout the year, and I’ll have offices in St. Louis and St. Paul.” Steve grew up in the Nebraska panhandle town of Chappell. Back then the town had a population of 1,280. As a youngster he was active in 4-H and showed steers and lambs. In high school he played basketball and ran track. He was a state officer for Future Farmers of America. His graduating class had a total of 33 students. Chappell now has a population 979.
“My dad was a farmer, and my mom lived on the farm for quite a while after my dad died. She’s very hard-working,” Grasz says. Sen. Sasse is quite familiar with Grasz’ upbringing: “As many Nebraskans do, he grew up walking beans and raising livestock on the family farm. Now, on the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, Steve gets the opportunity to continue to build on his career of public service and adherence to the rule of law that should make Nebraskans—across the state and the political aisle—proud.” Ironically, Steve’s hometown has produced a handful of notable personalities including Virginia D. Smith, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 16 years. Grasz was an intern, and after graduating from UNL, worked as a legislative assistant in Rep. Smith’s office. Dick Cabela, co-founder of outdoor outfitter Cabela’s, also called Chappell his home. “My mom was one of the very first people ever to work for Cabela’s—back when it was a two-person operation,” Steve recalls. “She would type envelopes for a penny apiece.” Steve’s mother now resides in Oklahoma, as do his brother and sister. “When we sold our family farm, I was able to keep the creek bottom and we’ve got about 53 acres and a cabin there that my great-grandfather built so we still go out there and enjoy the farm. I’ve got aunts and uncles that still live in the area.”
He is a man of the highest integrity. Steve is also one of the best constitutional lawyers in the state. We are fortunate to have his service on the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.” Who were Grasz’ major influences? He mentions his parents, family, a handful of teachers, and Attorney General Don Stenberg. He and his wife have four children who range in age from 19 to 26. “The youngest is a freshman at a liberal arts university in Tennessee, so my wife and I have been empty-nesters as of August.” Grasz served as Chief Deputy Attorney General and worked with Attorney General Stenberg for 11 years. Grasz then joined the Omaha office of Husch Blackwell in 2002. In 2013 he was named senior partner. As an attorney, Grasz has graced numerous Best Lawyers of America lists for more than a decade.
We met for an interview on a frigid Friday, a few days before his swearing-in ceremony. He greeted me in the lobby of Husch Blackwell. I was wearing a suit.
Throughout his professional career, Grasz has authored numerous articles and letters to newspaper opinion pages to expound upon his political views. When asked about the practicality of using Twitter to get his message out there, he explains that he “had a Twitter account, which is closed now. I think I tweeted a total of eight or nine times and they were all talking about Nebraska basketball.”
“I should have told you it was casual day, ” he says after giving me a quick look-over.
Gov. Pete Ricketts is optimistic: “I have always enjoyed working with Steve, even when we don’t agree.
A few hours after our interview, the Huskers won by a score of 85 to 68. Grasz was in the audience cheering for the victorious Nebraska team.
I have always enjoyed working with Steve, even when we don’t agree. He is a man of the highest integrity. Steve is also one of the best constitutional lawyers in the state. We are fortunate to have his service on the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.
-gov. pete ricketts
MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 80 / OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM
Steve had on a pair of jeans and a long-sleeve, button-down Husker shirt. The Huskers had a basketball game against Delaware State that night in Lincoln. Tipoff was at 7 p.m.
“It was quite evident early on in the interview process that Steve’s intellect and temperament matched up very well with all of the recommendations we had received on him. The 8th Circuit Court examines the big constitutional questions and with his focus on the Constitution and his focus on the rule of law...he’s exactly the type of person we want to be on that court.” Sen. Deb Fischer Steve Grasz
OMAHA’S BEST LAWYERS From The Best Lawyers in America 2018
OMAHA MAGAZINE IS proud to publish the
Omaha results of The Best Lawyers in America, widely regarded as the preeminent referral guide to the legal profession in the United States. What makes this list the “go-to” guide? Two reasons: one, lawyers are not required to pay a fee for a basic listing in the guide; two, inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America is based entirely on confidential peer review.
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METHODOLOGY FOR BEST LAWYERS® This list is excerpted from the 2018 edition of The Best Lawyers in America©, the pre-eminent referral guide to the legal profession in the United States. Published since 1983, Best Lawyers lists attorneys in 145 specialties, representing all 50 states, who have been chosen through an exhaustive survey in which thousands of the nation’s top lawyers confidentially evaluate their professional peers. The 2018 edition of Best Lawyers is based on more than 7.3 million evaluations of lawyers by other lawyers. The method used to compile Best Lawyers remains unchanged since the first edition was compiled more than 30 years ago. Lawyers are chosen for inclusion based solely on the vote of their peers. Listings cannot be bought, and no purchase is required to be included. In this regard, Best Lawyers remains the gold standard of reliability and integrity in lawyer ratings. The nomination pool for the 2018 edition consisted of all lawyers whose names appeared in the previous edition of Best Lawyers, lawyers who were nominated since the previous survey, and new nominees solicited from listed attorneys. In general, lawyers were asked to vote only on nominees in their own specialty in their own jurisdiction. Lawyers in closely related specialties were asked to vote across specialties, as were lawyers in smaller jurisdictions. Where specialties are national or international in nature, lawyers were asked to vote nationally as well as locally. Voting lawyers were also given an opportunity to offer more detailed comments on nominees. Each year, half of the voting pool receives fax or email ballots; the other half is polled by phone.
Copyright 2018 by Woodward/White Inc., Aiken, S.C. All rights reserved. This list, or parts thereof, must not be reproduced in any form without permission. No commercial use of this list may be made without permission of Woodward/White Inc. No fees may be charged, directly or indirectly, for the use of this list without permission. “The Best Lawyers in America” and “Best Lawyers” are registered trademarks of Woodward/White Inc.
MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 82 / OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM
Voting lawyers were provided this general guideline for determining if a nominee should be listed among “the best”: “If you had a close friend or relative who needed a real estate lawyer (for example), and you could not handle the case yourself, to whom would you refer them?” All votes and comments were solicited with a guarantee of confidentiality—a critical factor in the viability and validity of Best Lawyers’ surveys. To ensure the rigor of the selection process, lawyers were urged to use only their highest standards when voting, and to evaluate each nominee based only on his or her individual merits. The additional comments were used to make more accurate comparisons between voting patterns and weight votes accordingly. Best Lawyers uses various methodological tools to identify and correct for anomalies in both the nomination and voting process. Ultimately, of course, a lawyer’s inclusion is based on the subjective judgments of his or her fellow attorneys. While it is true that the lists may at times disproportionately reward visibility or popularity, the breadth of the survey, the candor of the respondents, and the sophistication of the polling methodology largely correct for any biases. For all these reasons, Best Lawyers lists continue to represent the most reliable, accurate and useful guide to the best lawyers in the United States available anywhere.
Slowiaczek Albers P.C., L.L.O. is pleased to once again be named a Tier 1 law firm for the Metropolitan Omaha area for the practice of family law in the 8th Edition of U.S. News - Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms”. Best Lawyers has named Virginia “2018 Lawyer of the Year” for family law in the Omaha Metro Area. John was named “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers in the Omaha Metro area in 2009 and 2016 for family law. John recently served as the President of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. The Academy is comprised of more than 1,650 of the nation’s top divorce and family law lawyers. Virginia was named Fellow of the Year in 2017 by the Academy. Both are members of the Nebraska State Bar Foundation and have received the highest rating (“AV”) by the MartindaleHubbell legal directory. Slowiaczek Albers concentrates on the delivery of divorce and family law services to Nebraska residents. Our team of lawyers includes Hannah C. Sommers and Dennis G. Whelan. Jeff Lieben is our Of Counsel attorney and he advises the firm on tax, estate and employee benefits matters.
A Divorce & Family Law Firm 100 Scoular Building | 2027 Dodge Street | Omaha, NE 68102 | 402-930-1000
ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION Baird Holm D. Nick Caporale Woodmen Tower 1700 Farnam St., Suite 1500 Omaha, NE 68102-2068 402-344-0500
Woodke & Gibbons David M. Woodke Historic Inns Of Court 619 N. 90th St. Omaha, NE 68114 402-391-6000
Kutak Rock H. Dale Dixon III Joyce A. Dixon Bryan G. Handlos Baird Holm Jeffrey T. Wegner Lawrence E. Kritenbrink The Omaha Building Steven C. Turner 1650 Farnam St. John S. Zeilinger Omaha, NE 68102-2186 Woodmen Tower AT402-346-6000 LAW 1700ATTORNEYS Farnam St.,
BANKING AND FINANCE LAW
Gross & Welch Michael J. Whaley 1500 Omaha Tower 2120 S. 72nd St. Omaha, NE 68124-2342 402-392-1500
Jerrold L. Strasheim CROKER, HUCK, KASHER, DEWITT, Jerrold L. Strasheim 3610 Dodge St., ANDERSON & GONDERINGER, L.L.C. Suite 212 Kutak Rock
Omaha, NE 68131-3218 John P. Passarelli 402-346-9330 The Omaha Building Suite 1500 1650 Farnam St. McGrath North Mullin Omaha, NE 68102-2068 Congratulations to our attorneys &selected for inclusion Koley Jessen Omaha, NE 68102-2186 Kratz 402-344-0500 Donald L. Swanson 402-346-6000 J. Bothe in the 2016 Best LawyersRobert in America: One Pacific Place William F. Hargens 1125 S. 103rd St., McGrath North Mullin James G. Powers Suite 800 & Kratz David H. Roe Omaha, NE 68124 AT LAW Mark F.ATTORNEYS Enenbach First National Tower 402-390-9500 David H. Roe Cline Williams Wright 1601 Dodge St., Roger W. Wells Johnson & Oldfather Suite 3700 Congratulations to our attorneys selected for inclusion Kutak Rock First National Tower James M. Bausch Omaha, NE 68102 in the 2016 Best Lawyers in America: Jeffrey T. Wegner 1601 Dodge St., Sterling Ridge 402-341-3070 The Omaha Building Suite 3700 12910 Pierce St., Farnam St. Robert Huck Richard Anderson Robert Gonderinger Martin1650 Pelster Omaha, NE 68102 Suite 200 Woods & Aitken Land Use & Zoning, Banking & Finance, Banking & Finance Bankruptcy & Creditor Omaha, NE 68102-2186 402-341-3070 Omaha, NE 68144 Frank J. Mihulka Debtor Rights / Insolvency Real Estate Real Estate – Litigation 402-346-6000 402-397-1700 10250 Regency Circle,& Reorganization Suite 525 McGill, Gotsdiner, John C. Brownrigg Omaha, NE 68114-3754 APPELLATE PRACTICE Workman & Lepp We are pleased to announce the Firm was selected for 402-898-7400 the 2016 Best Law Firms publication Mediation & Arbitration Richard D. Myers for Banking & Finance, Land Use & Zoning, Litigation – Real Estate, Real Estate Law, Services Fraser Stryker Bankruptcy, Croker, CreditorHuck, DebtorKasher, Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law. First National John C. Brownrigg Patrick S. Cooper Robert Huck Richard Anderson Robert Gonderinger Martin Pelster Bank Building DeWitt, Anderson & 673 N. 59th LandSt. Use & Zoning, Banking & Finance, Banking & Finance Bankruptcy & Creditor Energy Plaza BANKRUPTCY AND 11404 W. Dodge Road, Gonderinger Estate EstateSt., – Litigation Rights / Insolvency Omaha, NE Real 68132-2013 409Real S. 17th Suite 500 2120 South 72nd Street, SuiteDebtor 1200 •CREDITOR Omaha, NE DEBTOR 68124 Suite 500 & Reorganization Richard L. Anderson 402-614-0467 Phone: (402) 391-6777 • Fax: (402) 390-9221 • www.crokerlaw.com Omaha, NE 68102-2663 Omaha, NE 68154-2584 RIGHTS / INSOLVENCY Robert M. Gonderinger 402-341-6000 402-492-9200 2120 S. 72nd St., AND REORGANIZATION Kutak Rock We are pleased to announce the Firm was selectedSuite for the 2016 Best Law Firms publication 1200 Michael G. Mullin LAW for Banking &Husch Finance,Blackwell Land Use & Zoning, Litigation – Real Estate, Real Estate Law, McGrath North Mullin Omaha, NE 68124 The Omaha Building Bankruptcy, Steven Grasz Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law. & Kratz 402-391-6777 1650 Farnam St. 13330 California St., Baird Holm Robert J. Bothe Omaha, NE 68102-2186 Suite 200 Steven C. Turner James J. Niemeier 2120 South 72nd Street, Suite 1200 • Omaha, NE 68124 Fraser Stryker 402-346-6000 Omaha, NE 68154 T. Randall Wright Phone: (402) 391-6777 • Fax: (402) 390-9221 • www.crokerlaw.com James G. Powers Thomas F. Flaherty 402-964-5000 Woodmen Tower Douglas E. Quinn EnergyAT Plaza ATTORNEYS LAW McGrath North Mullin 1700 Farnam St., First National Tower 409 S. 17th St., Suite 500 & Kratz Suite 1500 1601 Dodge St., Omaha, NE 68102-2663 J. Terry Macnamara Omaha, NE 68102-2068 AVIATION LAW to our attorneys Congratulations selected for inclusion Suite 3700 402-341-6000 First National Tower 402-344-0500 Omaha, NE 68102 in the 2016 Best Lawyers in America: 1601 Dodge St., McGrath North Mullin 402-341-3070 Koley Jessen Suite 3700 & Kratz Thomas F. Ackley Omaha, NE 68102 Terrence D. O’Hare Telpner Peterson Max J. Burbach 402-341-3070 James D. Wegner Law Firm Marlon M. Lofgren First National Tower Charles L. Smith One Pacific Place Miller Lathrop 1601 Dodge St., 25 Main Place, Suite 200 1125 S. 103rd St., Matthew G. Miller Suite 3700 P.O. Box 248 Suite 800 9290 W. Dodge Road, Omaha, NE 68102 Council Bluffs, IA 51503 Omaha, NE 68124 Suite 100 402-341-3070 712-325-9000 402-390-9500 Omaha, NE 68114 Croker, Huck, Kasher, Robert Huck Richard Anderson Robert Gonderinger Martin Pelster 402-558-4900Land Use & Zoning,O’ConnorBanking DeWitt, Anderson & Finance, Banking & Finance Bankruptcy & Creditor Law Office & Gonderinger Real Estate Robert E. Real Estate – Litigation Debtor Rights / Insolvency O’Connor, Jr. & Reorganization Martin P. Pelster P.O. Box 451116 2120 S. 72nd St., Omaha, NE 68145 Suite 1200 402-330-5906 We are pleased to announce the Firm was selected for the 2016 Best Law Firms publication Omaha, NE 68124 for Banking & Finance, Land Use & Zoning, Litigation – Real Estate, Real Estate Law, 402-391-6777 Bankruptcy, Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law. Cassem, Tierney, Adams, Gotch & Douglas Michael F. Kinney 9290 W. Dodge Road, Suite 302 Omaha, NE 68114 402-390-0300
CROKER, HUCK, KASHER, DEWITT, ANDERSON & GONDERINGER, L.L.C.
CROKER, HUCK, KASHER, DEWITT, ANDERSON & GONDERINGER, L.L.C.
2120 South 72nd Street, Suite 1200 • Omaha, NE 68124 Phone: (402) 391-6777 • Fax: • www.crokerlaw.com MARCH // (402) APRIL 390-9221 • 2018 / 84 / OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM
Vacanti Shattuck, Attorneys congratulates Christopher A. Vacanti for being included in the 2018 edition of The Best Lawyers in America© for the practice area of Family Law. The Best Lawyers in America© is the oldest and most respected peer-reviewed publication in the legal profession. Christopher A. Vacanti and the lawyers at Vacanti Shattuck have significant experience guiding their clients through difficult transitions in their divorce, child custody, and other family law matters. Vacanti Shattuck prides itself on providing steady counsel, responsive service, and powerful advocacy.
Vacanti Shattuck, Attorneys | Lawyers Dedicated to Helping Families in Transition.
vsfamilylaw.com | 2051 and 2057 Harney Street | Omaha, NE | 402.345.7600 JANUARY // FEBRUARY • 2018 / 85 / BESTOFOMAHA.COM
BET-THE-COMPANY LITIGATION Baird Holm William G. Dittrick Thomas E. Johnson Woodmen Tower 1700 Farnam St., Suite 1500 Omaha, NE 68102-2068 402-344-0500 Cassem, Tierney, Adams, Gotch & Douglas John R. Douglas Charles F. Gotch Michael F. Kinney 9290 W. Dodge Road, Suite 302 Omaha, NE 68114 402-390-0300 Cline Williams Wright Johnson & Oldfather James M. Bausch Sterling Ridge 12910 Pierce St., Suite 200 Omaha, NE 68144 402-397-1700 Erickson | Sederstrom Thomas J. Culhane Regency Westpointe 10330 Regency Parkway Drive, Suite 100 Omaha, NE 68114-3761 402-397-2200 Fraser Stryker Joseph K. Meusey Energy Plaza 409 S. 17th St., Suite 500 Omaha, NE 68102-2663 402-341-6000 Kutak Rock John P. Passarelli The Omaha Building 1650 Farnam St. Omaha, NE 68102-2186 402-346-6000 Lamson Dugan and Murray William M. Lamson, Jr. 10306 Regency Parkway Drive Omaha, NE 68114-3743 402-397-7300
McGrath North Mullin & Kratz James P. Fitzgerald William F. Hargens First National Tower 1601 Dodge St., Suite 3700 Omaha, NE 68102 402-341-3070
BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS (INCLUDING LLCS AND PARTNERSHIPS) McGrath North Mullin & Kratz David L. Hefflinger Nicholas K. Niemann Daniel C. Pape Roger W. Wells Thomas M. Worthington First National Tower 1601 Dodge St., Suite 3700 Omaha, NE 68102 402-341-3070 Willson & Pechacek Frank W. Pechacek, Jr. 421 W. Broadway, Suite 200 P.O. Box 2029 Council Bluffs, IA 51503 712-322-6000
CLOSELY HELD COMPANIES AND FAMILY BUSINESSES LAW Fitzgerald, Schorr, Barmettler & Brennan David M. Hohman Regency One 10050 Regency Circle, Suite 200 Omaha, NE 68114 402-342-1000 Koley Jessen Eric B. Oxley One Pacific Place 1125 S. 103rd St., Suite 800 Omaha, NE 68124 402-390-9500
McGrath North Mullin & Kratz Jonathan L. Grob David L. Hefflinger Nicholas K. Niemann Daniel C. Pape Jeffrey J. Pirruccello James D. Wegner First National Tower 1601 Dodge St., Suite 3700 Omaha, NE 68102 402-341-3070
COMMERCIAL FINANCE LAW McGrath North Mullin & Kratz Robert J. Bothe First National Tower 1601 Dodge St., Suite 3700 Omaha, NE 68102 402-341-3070
COMMERCIAL LITIGATION Baird Holm Jill Robb Ackerman Kirk S. Blecha Steven D. Davidson William G. Dittrick Thomas E. Johnson Gerald P. Laughlin Woodmen Tower 1700 Farnam St., Suite 1500 Omaha, NE 68102-2068 402-344-0500 Cassem, Tierney, Adams, Gotch & Douglas John R. Douglas Charles F. Gotch Michael F. Kinney 9290 W. Dodge Road, Suite 302 Omaha, NE 68114 402-390-0300
Cline Williams Wright Johnson & Oldfather James M. Bausch Trenten P. Bausch Richard P. Jeffries Sterling Ridge 12910 Pierce St., Suite 200 Omaha, NE 68144 402-397-1700 Domina Law Group David A. Domina 2425 S. 144th St. Omaha, NE 68144-3267 402-858-9212 Erickson | Sederstrom Thomas J. Culhane Regency Westpointe 10330 Regency Parkway Drive, Suite 100 Omaha, NE 68114-3761 402-397-2200 Fitzgerald, Schorr, Barmettler & Brennan Gerald L. Friedrichsen Regency One 10050 Regency Circle, Suite 200 Omaha, NE 68114 402-342-1000 Fraser Stryker Michael F. Coyle Joseph E. Jones Wayne J. Mark Joseph K. Meusey Energy Plaza 409 S. 17th St., Suite 500 Omaha, NE 68102-2663 402-341-6000 Houghton Bradford Whitted David S. Houghton Robert W. Mullin 6457 Frances St., Suite 100 Omaha, NE 68106-2278 402-344-4000
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Kutak Rock Thomas H. Dahlk Michael S. Degan Patrick B. Griffin Bartholomew L. McLeay Robert M. Slovek The Omaha Building 1650 Farnam St. Omaha, NE 68102-2186 402-346-6000 Lamson Dugan and Murray Brian J. Brislen William M. Lamson, Jr. Mark E. Novotny Cathy Trent-Vilim Patrick G. Vipond 10306 Regency Parkway Drive Omaha, NE 68114-3743 402-397-7300 McGill, Gotsdiner, Workman & Lepp Robert L. Lepp First National Bank Building 11404 W. Dodge Road, Suite 500 Omaha, NE 68154-2584 402-492-9200 McGrath North Mullin & Kratz Robert J. Bothe Patrick E. Brookhouser, Jr. Mark F. Enenbach James P. Fitzgerald James J. Frost William F. Hargens Thomas C. McGowan Robert D. Mullin, Jr. James J. Niemeier J. Scott Paul Patrick D. Pepper James G. Powers First National Tower 1601 Dodge St., Suite 3700 Omaha, NE 68102 402-341-3070 Pansing Hogan Ernst & Bachman David D. Ernst Edward D. Hotz 10250 Regency Circle, Suite 300 Omaha, NE 68114 402-397-5500
Woods & Aitken Bruce A. Smith 10250 Regency Circle, Suite 525 Omaha, NE 68114-3754 402-898-7400
COMMERCIAL TRANSACTIONS / UCC LAW Gross & Welch Ronald L. Eggers 1500 Omaha Tower 2120 S. 72nd St. Omaha, NE 68124-2342 402-392-1500 McGrath North Mullin & Kratz Robert J. Bothe Douglas E. Quinn First National Tower 1601 Dodge St., Suite 3700 Omaha, NE 68102 402-341-3070 Willson & Pechacek Frank W. Pechacek, Jr. 421 W. Broadway, Suite 200 P.O. Box 2029 Council Bluffs, IA 51503 712-322-6000
CONSTRUCTION LAW Baird Holm P. Scott Dye Lawrence E. Kritenbrink Woodmen Tower 1700 Farnam St., Suite 1500 Omaha, NE 68102-2068 402-344-0500 Cassem, Tierney, Adams, Gotch & Douglas Charles F. Gotch 9290 W. Dodge Road, Suite 302 Omaha, NE 68114 402-390-0300 Erickson | Sederstrom Thomas J. Culhane Regency Westpointe 10330 Regency Parkway Drive, Suite 100 Omaha, NE 68114-3761 402-397-2200
Fraser Stryker Joseph E. Jones Wayne J. Mark Russell A. Westerhold Energy Plaza 409 S. 17th St., Suite 500 Omaha, NE 68102-2663 402-341-6000
Kutak Rock Jeremy T. Fitzpatrick The Omaha Building 1650 Farnam St. Omaha, NE 68102-2186 402-346-6000
Abrahams Kaslow & Cassman R. Craig Fry John W. Herdzina Howard J. Kaslow Thomas J. Malicki 8712 W. Dodge Road, Suite 300 Omaha, NE 68114-3419 402-392-1250
McGrath North Mullin & Kratz Ronald L. Comes Lee H. Hamann James G. Powers First National Tower 1601 Dodge St., Suite 3700 Omaha, NE 68102 402-341-3070
Baird Holm Dennis J. Fogland Richard E. Putnam Michael C. Schilken John S. Zeilinger Woodmen Tower 1700 Farnam St., Suite 1500 Omaha, NE 68102-2068 402-344-0500
Woods & Aitken Todd W. Weidemann 10250 Regency Circle, Suite 525 Omaha, NE 68114-3754 402-898-7400
Cline Williams Wright Johnson & Oldfather Rochelle A. Mullen Michael C. Pallesen Sterling Ridge 12910 Pierce St., Suite 200 Omaha, NE 68144 402-397-1700
CORPORATE GOVERNANCE AND COMPLIANCE LAW Baird Holm Dennis J. Fogland Woodmen Tower 1700 Farnam St., Suite 1500 Omaha, NE 68102-2068 402-344-0500 McGrath North Mullin & Kratz Guy Lawson First National Tower 1601 Dodge St., Suite 3700 Omaha, NE 68102 402-341-3070
Erftmier Law Donald L. Erftmier, Jr. 11808 W. Center Road, Suite 100 Omaha, NE 68144-4434 402-504-1600 Erickson | Sederstrom William T. Foley Virgil K. Johnson Regency Westpointe 10330 Regency Parkway Drive, Suite 100 Omaha, NE 68114-3761 402-397-2200
Fitzgerald, Schorr, Barmettler & Brennan Bruce D. Vosburg Regency One 10050 Regency Circle, Suite 200 Omaha, NE 68114 402-342-1000
McGill, Gotsdiner, Workman & Lepp Gary M. Gotsdiner Keith A. Green R. Thomas Workman First National Bank Building 11404 W. Dodge Road, Suite 500 Omaha, NE 68154-2584 402-492-9200
Gross & Welch James P. Waldron 1500 Omaha Tower 2120 S. 72nd St. Omaha, NE 68124-2342 402-392-1500
McGrath North Mullin & Kratz David L. Hefflinger Thomas C. McGowan Daniel C. Pape Jeffrey S. Penne Jeffrey J. Pirruccello James D. Wegner Roger W. Wells Thomas M. Worthington First National Tower 1601 Dodge St., Suite 3700 Omaha, NE 68102 402-341-3070
Husch Blackwell David E. Gardels Todd A. Richardson 13330 California St., Suite 200 Omaha, NE 68154 402-964-5000
Willson & Pechacek Frank W. Pechacek, Jr. 421 W. Broadway, Suite 200 P.O. Box 2029 Council Bluffs, IA 51503 712-322-6000
Koley Jessen Teresa A. Beaufait Michael M. Hupp Marlon M. Lofgren M. Shaun McGaughey One Pacific Place 1125 S. 103rd St., Suite 800 Omaha, NE 68124 402-390-9500
Woods & Aitken Michael D. Matejka Frank J. Mihulka 10250 Regency Circle, Suite 525 Omaha, NE 68114-3754 402-898-7400
Fraser Stryker Mark L. Brasee Thomas F. Flaherty Robert L. Freeman Travis S. Tyler Energy Plaza 409 S. 17th St., Suite 500 Omaha, NE 68102-2663 402-341-6000
Kutak Rock Michael L. Curry Joyce A. Dixon The Omaha Building 1650 Farnam St. Omaha, NE 68102-2186 402-346-6000 Lamson Dugan and Murray Robert J. Murray 10306 Regency Parkway Drive Omaha, NE 68114-3743 402-397-7300
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CRIMINAL DEFENSE: GENERAL PRACTICE Alan G. Stoler Alan G. Stoler 1823 Harney St., Suite 1004 Omaha, NE 68102 402-346-1733 Dornan, Troia, Howard, Breitkreutz & Conway Stuart J. Dornan 1403 Farnam St., Suite 232 Omaha, NE 68102 402-884-7044
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J. William Gallup J. William Gallup The Douglas Building 209 S. 19th St., Suite 525 Omaha, NE 68102 402-341-3400
Schaefer Shapiro James E. Schaefer 1001 Farnam St., Third Floor Omaha, NE 68102-1827 402-341-0700
Fitzgerald, Schorr, Barmettler & Brennan Robert T. Cannella Regency One 10050 Regency Circle, Suite 200 Omaha, NE 68114 402-342-1000
CRIMINAL DEFENSE: WHITE-COLLAR Alan G. Stoler Alan G. Stoler 1823 Harney St., Suite 1004 Omaha, NE 68102 402-346-1733 J. William Gallup J. William Gallup The Douglas Building 209 S. 19th St., Suite 525 Omaha, NE 68102 402-341-3400 Kutak Rock Thomas J. Kenny The Omaha Building 1650 Farnam St. Omaha, NE 68102-2186 402-346-6000 McGrath North Mullin & Kratz Patrick E. Brookhouser, Jr. First National Tower 1601 Dodge St., Suite 3700 Omaha, NE 68102 402-341-3070
DUI/DWI DEFENSE Schaefer Shapiro James E. Schaefer 1001 Farnam St., Third Floor Omaha, NE 68102-1827 402-341-0700
EEKLegal Elizabeth Eynon-Kokrda 5405 Nicholas St. Omaha, NE 68132 402-670-6276
ELDER LAW Badura & Wintz Margaret A. Badura Daniel J. Wintz The Wear Building 7602 Pacific St., Suite 300-A Omaha, NE 68114 402-398-3040 McGill, Gotsdiner, Workman & Lepp Robert L. Lepp First National Bank Building 11404 W. Dodge Road, Suite 500 Omaha, NE 68154-2584 402-492-9200
EMPLOYEE BENEFITS (ERISA) LAW Badura & Wintz Daniel J. Wintz The Wear Building 7602 Pacific St., Suite 300-A Omaha, NE 68114 402-398-3040 Baird Holm Gary N. Clatterbuck Steven D. Davidson Gary W. Radil Woodmen Tower 1700 Farnam St., Suite 1500 Omaha, NE 68102-2068 402-344-0500
Fitzgerald, Schorr, Barmettler & Brennan Thomas G. McKeon Regency One 10050 Regency Circle, Suite 200 Omaha, NE 68114 402-342-1000 Fraser Stryker Timothy J. Thalken Energy Plaza 409 S. 17th St., Suite 500 Omaha, NE 68102-2663 402-341-6000 Jackson Lewis Randal M. Limbeck 10050 Regency Circle, Suite 400 Omaha, NE 68114 402-391-1991 Kutak Rock Brian Bartels Tory M. Bishop John E. Schembari The Omaha Building 1650 Farnam St. Omaha, NE 68102-2186 402-346-6000 McGrath North Mullin & Kratz Joan M. Cannon Aaron A. Clark Peter C. Langdon First National Tower 1601 Dodge St., Suite 3700 Omaha, NE 68102 402-341-3070 Slowiaczek | Albers T. Geoffrey Lieben Scoular Building 2027 Dodge St., Suite 100 Omaha, NE 68102 402-930-1000
ENERGY LAW Abrahams Kaslow & Cassman Randall C. Hanson 8712 W. Dodge Road, Suite 300 Omaha, NE 68114-3419 402-392-1250
ENVIRONMENTAL LAW Baird Holm John P. Heil Woodmen Tower 1700 Farnam St., Suite 1500 Omaha, NE 68102-2068 402-344-0500 Fraser Stryker Stephen M. Bruckner Energy Plaza 409 S. 17th St., Suite 500 Omaha, NE 68102-2663 402-341-6000 Koley Jessen Michael J. Linder John M. Lingelbach One Pacific Place 1125 S. 103rd St., Suite 800 Omaha, NE 68124 402-390-9500 McGill, Gotsdiner, Workman & Lepp Nancy A. Roberts First National Bank Building 11404 W. Dodge Road, Suite 500 Omaha, NE 68154-2584 402-492-9200 McGrath North Mullin & Kratz John A. Andreasen Steven P. Case Mark F. Enenbach William F. Hargens Thomas C. McGowan First National Tower 1601 Dodge St., Suite 3700 Omaha, NE 68102 402-341-3070 Mostek Law Michael S. Mostek 1111 N. 13th St., Suite 305 Omaha, NE 68102 402-218-1711
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ETHICS AND PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY LAW McGrath North Mullin & Kratz J. Scott Paul First National Tower 1601 Dodge St., Suite 3700 Omaha, NE 68102 402-341-3070
FAMILY LAW Lustgarten & Roberts Patrick A. Campagna Michael B. Lustgarten Donald A. Roberts Central Park PlazaN. Tower 222 S. 15th St., Suite 601 Omaha, NE 68102 402-346-1920 Salvo, Deren, Schenck, Gross, Swain & Argotsinger J.C. Salvo 711 Court St. P.O. Box 509 Harlan, IA 51537-0509 712-755-3141
Slowiaczek | Albers Virginia A. Albers John S. Slowiaczek Scoular Building 2027 Dodge St., Suite 100 Omaha, NE 68102 402-930-1000
Vacanti Shattuck Christopher A. Vacanti 2051 Harney St. Omaha, NE 68102 402-345-7600
FIRST AMENDMENT LAW Koley Jessen Michael C. Cox One Pacific Place 1125 S. 103rd St., Suite 800 Omaha, NE 68124 402-390-9500
FRANCHISE LAW Abrahams Kaslow & Cassman John W. Herdzina 8712 W. Dodge Road, Suite 300 Omaha, NE 68114-3419 402-392-1250 Baird Holm Michael L. Sullivan Woodmen Tower 1700 Farnam St., Suite 1500 Omaha, NE 68102-2068 402-344-0500 Cline Williams Wright Johnson & Oldfather Gary R. Batenhorst Trenten P. Bausch Sterling Ridge 12910 Pierce St., Suite 200 Omaha, NE 68144 402-397-1700 Kutak Rock John P. Passarelli The Omaha Building 1650 Farnam St. Omaha, NE 68102-2186 402-346-6000
McGrath North Mullin & Kratz Michael T. Eversden First National Tower 1601 Dodge St., Suite 3700 Omaha, NE 68102 402-341-3070
GOVERNMENT RELATIONS PRACTICE Baird Holm David J. Kramer Woodmen Tower 1700 Farnam St., Suite 1500 Omaha, NE 68102-2068 402-344-0500
HEALTH CARE LAW Baird Holm Vickie B. Ahlers Alex M. Clarke John R. Holdenried Julie A. Knutson Barbara E. Person Woodmen Tower 1700 Farnam St., Suite 1500 Omaha, NE 68102-2068 402-344-0500 Ellick, Jones, Buelt, Blazek & Longo Amy L. Longo 9290 W. Dodge Road, Suite 303 Omaha, NE 68114 402-390-0390 Erickson | Sederstrom Charles V. Sederstrom Regency Westpointe 10330 Regency Parkway Drive, Suite 100 Omaha, NE 68114-3761 402-397-2200 Fraser Stryker James L. Quinlan Energy Plaza 409 S. 17th St., Suite 500 Omaha, NE 68102-2663 402-341-6000
Koley Jessen Karen M. Shuler One Pacific Place 1125 S. 103rd St., Suite 800 Omaha, NE 68124 402-390-9500 Kutak Rock Robert L. Cohen The Omaha Building 1650 Farnam St. Omaha, NE 68102-2186 402-346-6000 Pansing Hogan Ernst & Bachman Thomas R. Pansing, Jr. 10250 Regency Circle, Suite 300 Omaha, NE 68114 402-397-5500 Patricia A. Zieg Law Offices Patricia A. Zieg 1327 S. 35th Ave. Omaha, NE 68105-1958 402-740-9904
McGrath North Mullin & Kratz A. Stevenson Bogue First National Tower 1601 Dodge St., Suite 3700 Omaha, NE 68102 402-341-3070
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY LAW Baird Holm James E. O’Connor Woodmen Tower 1700 Farnam St., Suite 1500 Omaha, NE 68102-2068 402-344-0500 Kutak Rock Michael K. Bydalek The Omaha Building 1650 Farnam St. Omaha, NE 68102-2186 402-346-6000
INSURANCE LAW IMMIGRATION LAW Baird Holm Amy L. ErlbacherAnderson Scott S. Moore Woodmen Tower 1700 Farnam St., Suite 1500 Omaha, NE 68102-2068 402-344-0500 Fitzgerald, Schorr, Barmettler & Brennan Dustin J. Kessler Regency One 10050 Regency Circle, Suite 200 Omaha, NE 68114 402-342-1000 Jackson Lewis Amy L. Peck 10050 Regency Circle, Suite 200, Suite 400 Omaha, NE 68114 402-391-1991
Baird Holm Steven D. Davidson Woodmen Tower 1700 Farnam St., Suite 1500 Omaha, NE 68102-2068 402-344-0500 Fitzgerald, Schorr, Barmettler & Brennan Mark J. Daly Regency One 10050 Regency Circle, Suite 200 Omaha, NE 68114 402-342-1000 Fraser Stryker Patrick S. Cooper Mark C. Laughlin David C. Mullin Rex A. Rezac Energy Plaza 409 S. 17th St., Suite 500 Omaha, NE 68102-2663 402-341-6000
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Gross & Welch Thomas A. Grennan John A. Svoboda 1500 Omaha Tower 2120 S. 72nd St. Omaha, NE 68124-2342 402-392-1500 Kutak Rock Michael G. Mullin The Omaha Building 1650 Farnam St. Omaha, NE 68102-2186 402-346-6000 Lamson Dugan and Murray Daniel P. Chesire Patrick G. Vipond 10306 Regency Parkway Drive Omaha, NE 68114-3743 402-397-7300 McGrath North Mullin & Kratz William J. Birkel Robert D. Mullin, Jr. Terrence D. O’Hare J. Scott Paul Patrick D. Pepper First National Tower 1601 Dodge St., Suite 3700 Omaha, NE 68102 402-341-3070 Pansing Hogan Ernst & Bachman Edward D. Hotz 10250 Regency Circle, Suite 300 Omaha, NE 68114 402-397-5500 Stuart Tinley Law Firm Robert M. Livingston 310 W. Kanesville Blvd., Second Floor Council Bluffs, IA 51501 712-322-4033 Willson & Pechacek Frank W. Pechacek, Jr. 421 W. Broadway, Suite 200 P.O. Box 2029 Council Bluffs, IA 51503 712-322-6000 Woodke & Gibbons Michael T. Gibbons Historic Inns Of Court 619 N. 90th St. Omaha, NE 68114 402-391-6000
Congratulations to our att in the 2016 Best L INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW
INTERNATIONAL TRADE AND FINANCE LAW
Baird Holm Jill Robb Ackerman James E. O’Connor Woodmen Tower 1700 Farnam St., Suite 1500 Omaha, NE 68102-2068 402-344-0500
Husch Blackwell David E. Gardels 13330 California St., Suite 200 Omaha, NE 68154 402-964-5000
Cline Williams Wright Johnson & Oldfather James M. Bausch Sterling Ridge 12910 Pierce St., Suite 200 Omaha, NE 68144 402-397-1700 Fitzgerald, Schorr, Barmettler & Brennan Bruce D. Vosburg Regency One 10050 Regency Circle, Suite 200 Omaha, NE 68114 402-342-1000 Kutak Rock John P. Passarelli Patrick C. Stephenson James M. Sulentic The Omaha Building 1650 Farnam St. Omaha, NE 68102-2186 402-346-6000 McGrath North Mullin & Kratz William F. Hargens Denise C. Mazour First National Tower 1601 Dodge St., Suite 3700 Omaha, NE 68102 402-341-3070 Thomte Patent Law Office Dennis L. Thomte 2120 S. 72nd St., Suite 1111 Omaha, NE 68124 402-392-2280
Jackson Lewis Joseph S. Dreesen Christopher E. Hoyme Randal M. Limbeck Timothy D. Loudon Chad P. Richter 10050 Regency Circle, Suite 400 Omaha, NE 68114 402-391-1991
LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT LAW Baird Holm Kirk S. Blecha Heidi A. Guttau-Fox Christopher R. Hedican Mark E. McQueen Scott P. Moore Scott S. Moore R.J. Stevenson Woodmen Tower 1700 Farnam St., Suite 1500 Omaha, NE 68102-2068 402-344-0500 Byam & Hoarty Thomas F. Hoarty, Jr. American National Building, Suite 317 8990 W. Dodge Road Omaha, NE 68114-3383 402-397-0303 Cline Williams Wright Johnson & Oldfather John C. Hewitt Tara A. Stingley Sterling Ridge 12910 Pierce St., Suite 200 Omaha, NE 68144 402-397-1700 Fitzgerald, Schorr, Barmettler & Brennan Robert T. Cannella Regency One 10050 Regency Circle, Suite 200 Omaha, NE 68114 402-342-1000 Fraser Stryker Patrick J. Barrett Energy Plaza, 409 S. 17th St., Suite 500 Omaha, NE 68102-2663 402-341-6000
Koley Jessen Margaret C. Hershiser One Pacific Place 1125 S. 103rd St., Suite 800 Omaha, NE 68124 402-390-9500 McGill, Gotsdiner, Workman & Lepp Mary Hewitt First National Bank Building 11404 W. Dodge Road, Suite 500 Omaha, NE 68154-2584 402-492-9200
McGrath North Mullin & Kratz A. Stevenson Bogue Aaron A. Clark Dean G. Kratz Roger J. Miller First National Tower 1601 Dodge St., Suite 3700 Omaha, NE 68102 402-341-3070
Croker, Huck, Kasher, Robert Huck Richard Anderson DeWitt, Anderson & Land Use & Zoning, Banking & Finance, Gonderinger Real Estate Real Estate – Litigation Robert J. Huck 2120 S. 72nd St., Suite 1200 Omaha, WeNE are68124 pleased to announce the Firm was s for Banking & Finance, Land Use & Zon 402-391-6777
Bankruptcy, Creditor Debtor Righ
LAND USE & ZONING LAW Baird Holm David C. Levy Scott P. Moore Woodmen Tower 1700 Farnam St., Suite 1500 Omaha, NE 68102-2068 402-344-0500
McGrath North Mullin & Kratz 2120 South 72nd Street, S Robert G. Dailey Phone: (402) 391-6777 • Fax: (4 Lee H. Hamann Steven D. Johnson James G. Powers 1864 S. 155th Circle Omaha, NE 68144 402-315-1880
CROKER, HUCK, KASHER, DEWITT, ANDERSON & GONDERINGER, L.L.C. ATTORNEYS AT LAW Congratulations to our attorneys selected for inclusion in the 2018 Best Lawyers in America©:
Robert Huck Land Use & Zoning Real Estate
Richard Anderson Banking & Finance Law Litigation - Real Estate Real Estate Law
Robert Gonderinger Banking & Finance
Martin Pelster Bankruptcy & Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency & Reorganization
We are pleased to announce the Firm was selected for the 2018 U.S. News - Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” publication as a Tier 1 firm for the Metropolitan Omaha area for Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law and Real Estate, and a Tier 2 firm for the Metropolitan Omaha area for Banking and Finance Law, Land Use & Zoning Law and Litigation - Real Estate. 2120 South 72nd Street, Suite 1200 • Omaha, NE 68124 Phone: (402) 391-6777 • Fax: (402) 390-9221 • www.crokerlaw.com
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LEGAL MALPRACTICE LAW
MASS TORT LITIGATION / CLASS ACTIONS
Cassem, Tierney, Adams, Gotch & Douglas John R. Douglas 9290 W. Dodge Road, Suite 302 Omaha, NE 68114 402-390-0300
Fraser Stryker Mark C. Laughlin Energy Plaza 409 S. 17th St., Suite 500 Omaha, NE 68102-2663 402-341-6000
Fraser Stryker Joseph K. Meusey Energy Plaza 409 S. 17th St., Suite 500 Omaha, NE 68102-2663 402-341-6000 Lamson Dugan and Murray William R. Settles 10306 Regency Parkway Drive Omaha, NE 68114-3743 402-397-7300
LITIGATION REGULATORY ENFORCEMENT (SEC, TELECOM, ENERGY) Kutak Rock Thomas H. Dahlk The Omaha Building 1650 Farnam St. Omaha, NE 68102-2186 402-346-6000 Lamson Dugan and Murray William M. Lamson, Jr. 10306 Regency Parkway Drive Omaha, NE 68114-3743 402-397-7300 McGrath North Mullin & Kratz Mark F. Enenbach First National Tower 1601 Dodge St., Suite 3700 Omaha, NE 68102 402-341-3070
McGrath North Mullin & Kratz Patrick E. Brookhouser, Jr. William F. Hargens First National Tower 1601 Dodge St., Suite 3700 Omaha, NE 68102 402-341-3070
MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAW Cassem, Tierney, Adams, Gotch & Douglas John R. Douglas Charles F. Gotch Michael F. Kinney Brien M. Welch 9290 W. Dodge Road, Suite 302 Omaha, NE 68114 402-390-0300 Lamson Dugan and Murray William M. Lamson, Jr. Mark E. Novotny William R. Settles Patrick G. Vipond 10306 Regency Parkway Drive Omaha, NE 68114-3743 402-397-7300 Pansing Hogan Ernst & Bachman David D. Ernst 10250 Regency Circle, Suite 300 Omaha, NE 68114 402-397-5500
MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS LAW Baird Holm Dennis J. Fogland John S. Zeilinger Woodmen Tower 1700 Farnam St., Suite 1500 Omaha, NE 68102-2068 402-344-0500 Fitzgerald, Schorr, Barmettler & Brennan Bruce D. Vosburg Regency One 10050 Regency Circle, Suite 200 Omaha, NE 68114 402-342-1000 Fraser Stryker Robert L. Freeman Energy Plaza 409 S. 17th St., Suite 500 Omaha, NE 68102-2663 402-341-6000 Husch Blackwell Todd A. Richardson 13330 California St., Suite 200 Omaha, NE 68154 402-964-5000
McGrath North Mullin & Kratz William F. Hargens David L. Hefflinger Keith P. Larsen Guy Lawson Roger W. Wells Thomas M. Worthington First National Tower 1601 Dodge St., Suite 3700 Omaha, NE 68102 402-341-3070
MUNICIPAL LAW Abrahams Kaslow & Cassman Timothy M. Kenny 8712 W. Dodge Road, Suite 300 Omaha, NE 68114-3419 402-392-1250 Fitzgerald, Schorr, Barmettler & Brennan Thomas G. McKeon Regency One 10050 Regency Circle, Suite 200 Omaha, NE 68114 402-342-1000
Koley Jessen Teresa A. Beaufait Michael M. Hupp M. Shaun McGaughey One Pacific Place 1125 S. 103rd St., Suite 800 Omaha, NE 68124 402-390-9500
NATIVE AMERICAN LAW
Kutak Rock Michael L. Curry Thomas H. Dahlk The Omaha Building 1650 Farnam St. Omaha, NE 68102-2186 402-346-6000
NON-PROFIT / CHARITIES LAW
McGill, Gotsdiner, Workman & Lepp Gary M. Gotsdiner Keith A. Green First National Bank Building 11404 W. Dodge Road, Suite 500 Omaha, NE 68154-2584 402-492-9200
Patricia A. Zieg Law Offices Patricia A. Zieg 1327 S. 35th Ave. Omaha, NE 68105-1958 402-740-9904
Baird Holm Gary W. Radil Woodmen Tower 1700 Farnam St., Suite 1500 Omaha, NE 68102-2068 402-344-0500
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Fitzgerald, Schorr, Barmettler & Brennan Nick R. Taylor Regency One 10050 Regency Circle, Suite 200 Omaha, NE 68114 402-342-1000 Koley Jessen Karen M. Shuler One Pacific Place 1125 S. 103rd St., Suite 800 Omaha, NE 68124 402-390-9500 Kutak Rock Howard Fredrick Hahn David A. Jacobson The Omaha Building 1650 Farnam St. Omaha, NE 68102-2186 402-346-6000 McGrath North Mullin & Kratz David L. Hefflinger Jeffrey J. Pirruccello James D. Wegner First National Tower 1601 Dodge St., Suite 3700 Omaha, NE 68102 402-341-3070
PERSONAL INJURY LITIGATION Cassem, Tierney, Adams, Gotch & Douglas Charles F. Gotch Michael F. Kinney Ronald F. Krause Brien M. Welch 9290 W. Dodge Road, Suite 302 Omaha, NE 68114 402-390-0300 Erickson | Sederstrom Jerald L. Rauterkus Regency Westpointe 10330 Regency Parkway Drive, Suite 100 Omaha, NE 68114-3761 402-397-2200
Fitzgerald, Schorr, Barmettler & Brennan Mark J. Daly Regency One 10050 Regency Circle, Suite 200 Omaha, NE 68114 402-342-1000 Fraser Stryker Michael F. Coyle Joseph K. Meusey David C. Mullin Energy Plaza 409 S. 17th St., Suite 500 Omaha, NE 68102-2663 402-341-6000 Gross & Welch Thomas A. Grennan John A. Svoboda 1500 Omaha Tower 2120 S. 72nd St. Omaha, NE 68124-2342 402-392-1500 Houghton Bradford Whitted Robert W. Mullin 6457 Frances St., Suite 100 Omaha, NE 68106-2278 402-344-4000 Kutak Rock Michael G. Mullin The Omaha Building 1650 Farnam St. Omaha, NE 68102-2186 402-346-6000 Lamson Dugan and Murray Daniel P. Chesire William M. Lamson, Jr. David J. Schmitt Kyle Wallor 10306 Regency Parkway Drive Omaha, NE 68114-3743 402-397-7300 McGrath North Mullin & Kratz Robert D. Mullin, Jr. John F. Thomas First National Tower 1601 Dodge St., Suite 3700 Omaha, NE 68102 402-341-3070
O’Connor Law Office Robert E. O’Connor, Jr. P.O. Box 451116 Omaha, NE 68145 402-330-5906 Salvo, Deren, Schenck, Gross, Swain & Argotsinger J.C. Salvo 711 Court St. P.O. Box 509 Harlan IA, 51537-0509 712-755-3141 Sibbernsen, Strigenz, & Sibbernsen E. Terry Sibbernsen 1111 N. 102nd Court, Suite 330 Omaha, NE 68114 402-913-3039 Stuart Tinley Law Firm Kristopher K. Madsen 310 W. Kanesville Blvd., Second Floor Council Bluffs, IA 51501 712-322-4033
PRIVACY AND DATA SECURITY LAW
Fitzgerald, Schorr, Barmettler & Brennan Gerald L. Friedrichsen Regency One 10050 Regency Circle, Suite 200 Omaha, NE 68114 402-342-1000 Fraser Stryker Rex A. Rezac Energy Plaza, Suite 500 409 S. 17th St., Suite 500 Omaha, NE 68102-2663 402-341-6000 Lamson Dugan and Murray Daniel P. Chesire 10306 Regency Parkway Drive Omaha, NE 68114-3743 402-397-7300
McGrath North Mullin & Kratz Robert D. Mullin, Jr. First National Tower 1601 Dodge St., Suite 3700 Omaha, NE 68102 402-341-3070
PROFESSIONAL MALPRACTICE LAW Fraser Stryker Mark C. Laughlin Energy Plaza, Suite 500 409 S. 17th St., Suite 500 Omaha, NE 68102-2663 402-341-6000 Lamson Dugan and Murray William R. Settles Patrick G. Vipond 10306 Regency Parkway Drive Omaha, NE 68114-3743 402-397-7300
Gross & Welch Ronald L. Eggers 1500 Omaha Tower 2120 S. 72nd St. Omaha, NE 68124-2342 402-392-1500 McGrath North Mullin & Kratz Thomas J. Kelley First National Tower 1601 Dodge St., Suite 3700 Omaha, NE 68102 402-341-3070
PRODUCT LIABILITY LITIGATION Cassem, Tierney, Adams, Gotch & Douglas Charles F. Gotch Michael F. Kinney 9290 W. Dodge Road, Suite 302 Omaha, NE 68114 402-390-0300
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McGrath North Mullin & Kratz William F. Hargens J. Scott Paul First National Tower 1601 Dodge St., Suite 3700 Omaha, NE 68102 402-341-3070 Sibbernsen, Strigenz & Sibbernsen Mandy L. Strigenz 1111 N. 102nd Court, Suite 330 Omaha, NE 68114 402-913-3039
PUBLIC FINANCE LAW Baird Holm Charles J. Addy Richard J. Pedersen Woodmen Tower 1700 Farnam St., Suite 1500 Omaha, NE 68102-2068 402-344-0500
Congratulations to our attorneys selected for inclusion CROKER, in the 2016 Best LawyersHUCK, in America:KASHER, DEWITT, Kutak Rock Patricia Schuett Peterson The Omaha Building 1650 Farnam St. Omaha, NE 68102-2186 402-346-6000 Robert Huck Land Use & Zoning, RAILROAD RealLAW Estate
ANDERSON & GONDERINGER, L.L.C. SPORTS LAW ATTORNEYS AT LAW Congratulations our attorneys selected inclusion Koleyto Jessen Walentinefor O’Toole in the 2016F.Best in America: Thomas AckleyLawyers Michael F. Kivett Max J. Burbach
Richard Anderson Banking & Finance, Real Estate – Litigation
11240 Davenport St.
OneGonderinger Pacific Place P.O.Pelster Box 540125 Robert Martin Banking & Creditor 1125 & S.Finance 103rd St., Bankruptcy Omaha, NE 68154-0125 Debtor Rights / Insolvency Suite 800 402-330-6300 & Reorganization
Fraser Stryker Robert L. Freeman Energy Plaza 409 S. 17th St., Suite 500 Omaha, NE 68102-2663 402-341-6000
Omaha, NE 68124 Lamson Dugan 402-390-9500 Woods & Aitken and Murray Baird Holm Michael D. Matejka We are pleased to announce the Firm was selected for the 2016 Best Law Firms publication David J. Schmitt Gary W. Radil Kutak RockEstate, Real Estate Law, Frank J. Mihulka for Banking & Finance, Land Use & Zoning, Litigation – Real 10306 Regency Woodmen Tower Joyce Dixon Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and A. Reorganization Law. 10250 Regency Circle, Huck, Kasher, Parkway Drive Bankruptcy, Croker, Robert Huck Richard Anderson Robert Gonderinger Martin1700 Pelster Farnam St., The Omaha Building Banking Suite 525 Land Use & Zoning, Banking & Finance, & Finance BankruptcySuite & Creditor DeWitt, Anderson Omaha, NE 68114-3743 1500 1650 Farnam St. Omaha, NE 68114-3754 Real Estate Real Estate – Litigation Debtor RightsOmaha, / Insolvency Gonderinger 402-397-7300 2120&South 72nd Street, Suite 1200 • Omaha, NE 68124 NE 68102-2068 & Reorganization Omaha, NE 68102-2186 402-898-7400 Phone: (402) 391-6777 • Fax: (402) 390-9221 • www.crokerlaw.com Richard L. Anderson 402-344-0500 402-346-6000 Robert J. Huck 2120 S. 72nd St., Gross & Welch REAL ESTATE LAW We are pleased to announce the Firm was Mullin selected for the 2016 Best Law Firms publication McGrath North SECURITIES / CAPITAL Suite 1200for Banking & Finance, Land Use & Zoning, Litigation – Real Estate, Real Estate Law,William J. Lindsay, Jr. & Kratz Omaha, NE 68124 Bankruptcy, Creditor Debtor Rights/InsolvencyMARKETS and Reorganization Law. LAW 1500 Omaha Tower Baird Holm Ronald L. Comes 402-391-6777 2120 S. 72nd St. Jon E. Blumenthal Robert G. Dailey Baird Holm Omaha, NE 68124-2342 Steven D. Davidson 2120 South Street, Suite 1200 • Omaha, NE 68124 Lee H.72nd Hamann Dvorak & Donovan Dennis J. Fogland 402-392-1500 P. Scott Dye Phone: (402)David 391-6777 • Fax: (402) 390-9221 • www.crokerlaw.com R. Madden Woodmen Tower Lawrence E. Kritenbrink Law Group First National Tower John M. Prososki 1700 Farnam St., Koley Jessen Scott P. Moore 1601 Dodge St., 13625 California St., Suite 1500 Bryan E. Slone Jacqueline A. Pueppke Suite 3700 Suite 110 Omaha, NE 68102-2068 Kurt F. Tjaden Woodmen Tower Omaha, NE 68102 Omaha, NE 68154 402-344-0500 One Pacific Place 1700 Farnam St., 402-341-3070 402-934-4770 1125 S. 103rd St., Suite 1500 Cline Williams Wright Suite 800 Omaha, NE 68102-2068 Pansing Hogan Ernst Fraser Stryker Johnson & Oldfather Omaha, NE 68124 402-344-0500 & Bachman Mark L. Brasee James M. Bausch 402-390-9500 John Q. Bachman Robert W. Rieke Sterling Ridge Cline Williams Wright James D. Buser Energy Plaza 12910 Pierce St., Kutak Rock Johnson & Oldfather Dennis P. Hogan III 409 S. 17th St., Suite 500 Suite 200 Howard Fredrick Hahn James M. Bausch 10250 Regency Circle, Omaha, NE 68102-2663 Omaha, NE 68144 The Omaha Building Rochelle A. Mullen Suite 300 402-341-6000 402-397-1700 1650 Farnam St. Sterling Ridge Omaha, NE 68114 Omaha, NE 68102-2186 12910 Pierce St., 402-397-5500 Fullenkamp, Doyle Kutak Rock 402-346-6000 Suite 200 & Jobeun Thomas H. Dahlk Omaha, NE 68144 Smith Peterson John H. Fullenkamp Patrick B. Griffin Lamson Dugan and 402-397-1700 Law Firm Larry A. Jobeun The Omaha Building Murray Steven H. Krohn 11440 W. Center Road, 1650 Farnam St. Robert J. Murray 133 W. Broadway Suite C Omaha, NE 68102-2186 10306 Regency P.O. Box 249 Omaha, NE 68144-4482 402-346-6000 Parkway Drive Council Bluffs, IA 51503 402-334-0700 Omaha, NE 68114-3743 712-328-1833 McGrath North Mullin 402-397-7300 Gross & Welch & Kratz Smith Slusky Law James P. Waldron Patrick E. Brookhouser, Jr. McGrath North Mullin Jerry M. Slusky 1500 Omaha Tower James P. Fitzgerald & Kratz H. Daniel Smith 2120 S. 72nd St. William F. Hargens Jonathan L. Grob 8712 W. Dodge Road, Omaha, NE 68124-2342 David L. Hefflinger David L. Hefflinger Suite 400 402-392-1500 Guy Lawson Thomas J. Kelley Omaha, NE 68114 First National Tower Nicholas K. Niemann 402-392-0101 Houghton Bradford 1601 Dodge St., Daniel C. Pape Whitted Suite 3700 Jeffrey J. Pirruccello Steven D. Johnson Warren R. Whitted, Jr. Omaha, NE 68102 James D. Wegner Steven D. Johnson 6457 Frances St., 402-341-3070 First National Tower 1864 S. 155th Circle Suite 100 1601 Dodge St., Omaha, NE 68144 Omaha, NE 68106-2278 Suite 3700 402-315-1880 402-344-4000 Omaha, NE 68102 402-341-3070
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Pansing Hogan Ernst & Bachman Thomas R. Pansing, Jr. 10250 Regency Circle, Suite 300 Omaha, NE 68114 402-397-5500 Slowiaczek | Albers T. Geoffrey Lieben Scoular Building 2027 Dodge St., Suite 100 Omaha, NE 68102 402-930-1000 Smith Slusky Law Howard N. Kaplan 8712 W. Dodge Road, Suite 400 Omaha, NE 68114 402-392-0101
TECHNOLOGY LAW Koley Jessen Roberta L. Christensen One Pacific Place 1125 S. 103rd St., Suite 800 Omaha, NE 68124 402-390-9500 Kutak Rock Michael K. Bydalek The Omaha Building 1650 Farnam St. Omaha, NE 68102-2186 402-346-6000
TRANSPORTATION LAW O’Connor Law Office Robert E. O’Connor, Jr. P.O. Box 451116 Omaha, NE 68145 402-330-5906
Badura & Wintz Margaret A. Badura Daniel J. Wintz The Wear Building 7602 Pacific St., Suite 300-A Omaha, NE 68114 402-398-3040 Baird Holm Ronald C. Jensen Sharon R. Kresha Gary W. Radil Michael C. Schilken Michael L. Sullivan Woodmen Tower 1700 Farnam St., Suite 1500 Omaha, NE 68102-2068 402-344-0500 Dvorak & Donovan Law Group David M. Dvorak 13625 California St., Suite 110 Omaha, NE 68154 402-934-4770
Fitzgerald, Schorr, Barmettler & Brennan Nick R. Taylor Regency One 10050 Regency Circle, Suite 200 Omaha, NE 68114 402-342-1000 Gross & Welch William J. Lindsay, Jr. 1500 Omaha Tower 2120 S. 72nd St. Omaha, NE 68124-2342 402-392-1500
Elder Law of Omaha Adam J. Wintz 3032 87th St. Omaha, NE 68124 402-614-6400 Ellick, Jones, Buelt, Blazek & Longo Michael D. Jones 9290 W. Dodge Road, Suite 303 Omaha, NE 68114 402-390-0390 Endacott Peetz and Timmer Susan J. Spahn 8990 W. Dodge Road, Suite 217 Omaha, NE 68114 402-999-8820
TRUSTS AND ESTATES Abrahams Kaslow & Cassman Howard J. Kaslow Thomas J. Malicki 8712 W. Dodge Road, Suite 300 Omaha, NE 68114-3419 402-392-1250
Erickson | Sederstrom David J. Nielsen Regency Westpointe 10330 Regency Parkway Drive, Suite 100 Omaha, NE 68114-3761 402-397-2200
Erftmier Law Donald L. Erftmier, Jr. 11808 W. Center Road, Suite 100 Omaha, NE 68144-4434 402-504-1600
Koley Jessen Brandon D. Hamm James A. Tews Kurt F. Tjaden Alexander J. Wolf One Pacific Place 1125 S. 103rd St., Suite 800 Omaha, NE 68124 402-390-9500 McGill, Gotsdiner, Workman & Lepp Mary Hewitt First National Bank Building 11404 W. Dodge Road, Suite 500 Omaha, NE 68154-2584 402-492-9200 McGrath North Mullin & Kratz Jonathan L. Grob David L. Hefflinger Nicholas K. Niemann Daniel C. Pape Jeffrey J. Pirruccello James D. Wegner First National Tower 1601 Dodge St., Suite 3700 Omaha, NE 68102 402-341-3070
Pansing Hogan Ernst & Bachman Thomas R. Pansing, Jr. 10250 Regency Circle, Suite 300 Omaha, NE 68114 402-397-5500 Slowiaczek | Albers T. Geoffrey Lieben Scoular Building 2027 Dodge St., Suite 100 Omaha, NE 68102 402-930-1000 Vandenack Weaver Mary E. Vandenack 17007 Marcy St., Suite Three Omaha, NE 68118-3122 402-504-1300 Willson & Pechacek Frank W. Pechacek, Jr. 421 W. Broadway, Suite 200 P.O. Box 2029 Council Bluffs IA, 51503 712-322-6000
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION LAW Cassem, Tierney, Adams, Gotch & Douglas Dennis R. Riekenberg 9290 W. Dodge Road, Suite 302 Omaha, NE 68114 402-390-0300 Dowd, Howard & Corrigan Steven H. Howard 1411 Harney St., Suite 100 Omaha, NE 68102 402-913-9713
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Gross & Welch John W. Iliff 1500 Omaha Tower 2120 S. 72nd St. Omaha, NE 68124-2342 402-392-1500 McGrath North Mullin & Kratz William J. Birkel John F. Thomas First National Tower 1601 Dodge St., Suite 3700 Omaha, NE 68102 402-341-3070 Peters Law Firm Jacob J. Peters 233 Pearl St. P.O. Box 1078 Council Bluffs, IA 51503 712-328-3157
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60PLUS | OPENER
s always, 60Plus includes many good reads.
A personal favorite of mine in this edition is the story on polka in Omaha. Many in Omaha will remember “Big Joe” Siedlik and his Big Joe Polka Show, which started on the radio and transitioned to TV. Music like polka never goes out of style. My husband and I used to love to polka dance; in fact, we met because I took dance classes from him. He held large ballroom classes in Bell’s Hall in Papillion. I paid for the first three classes out of 12. Eventually, I taught dance with him—we taught a giant class at Offutt Air Force Base and smaller classes in private homes. We taught polka, rock and swing, foxtrot, waltz, tango, and cha-cha. We spent many evenings with friends dancing at The Peony Park Ballroom and The Music Box. I still run into people who were in our classes. It was great exercise—I should get back to dancing. Also in this issue, we feature artist Alicia Sancho Scherich, who lives in Bellevue and was once a pen pal of Mother Teresa. She created a mural titled “World Peace,” which was on display at Creighton Lied Art Gallery in 2017. Then there’s geologist Allan Jeanneret and his wife, artist Tammy, who have turned their hobby into a business. Meanwhile, Dr. Nancy Waltman and Dr. Laura Bilek share their ongoing research of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. Bone health is more important than many realize. Finally, in this edition’s Active Living article, we have the story of a group fighting Parkinson’s with rock music and boxing at Life Care Center in Elkhorn. Rock Steady Boxing is a national program utilizing the kind of fitness regimen boxers go through—helping their balance and walking.
Fighting parkinson's Disease Gwen and Ray Lemke, Peony Park 1955 MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 97 / BESTOFOMAHA.COM
60PLUS | ACTIVE LIVING STORY BY CAROL CRISSEY NIGRELLI // PHOTOGRAPHY BY BILL SITZMANN // DESIGN BY DEREK JOY
George Moon MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 98 / OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM
60PLUS | ACTIVE LIVING
Parkinsons Boxing Helps Patients Fight the Disease
MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 99 / BESTOFOMAHA.COM
60PLUS | ACTIVE LIVING
Paul Jackson MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 100 / OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM
60PLUS | ACTIVE LIVING
pulsating from the rehabilitation wing at Life Care Center of Elkhorn doesn’t signal “party time” for physical therapists ending their shift; it signals the start of another Rock Steady Boxing session for people who’ve been knocked down—but not out—by a cruel, insidious, relentless, and incurable foe: Parkinson’s disease. HE UP-TEMPO MUSIC
Gary Johnson, diagnosed with the degenerative movement disorder about 12 years ago when he first got tremors, usually arrives early for an afternoon boxing workout. His wife drives him twice a week from their home in Fort Calhoun to the nursing and rehab facility, where Johnson greets other outpatients who share his struggles. “I can barely talk,” Johnson says in a whisper. “[Parkinson’s] paralyzes your voice box. I’ve had DBS [deep brain stimulation], which helps with my shaking, but it hasn’t helped my balance. That’s why I come here to boxing.” Seven men, all past 60 and exhibiting a range of Parkinson’s symptoms from mild to severe,
“Boxers have to have speed and great balance, with the ability to move quickly on their feet. Parkinson’s patients struggle with that. Their movements get progressively slower,” Prince says. “Boxers have to be agile and flexible. Parkinson’s patients have trouble with rigidity and lack of flexibility. There are a lot of parallels.” To get their limbs moving and muscles working, trainer Abbie Harvey pushes the group through a series of precise arm and leg stretches, forward and sideways lunges, steps to the front and back, deep knee bends, shoulder pushes off the mats, and jumping jacks. She then gives the order to start punching, which the boxers perform with surprising ferocity. Their ever-supportive wives, sitting together as a group watching the workout, smile at the sudden burst of power. Boxers yell out the number of punches or reps to help keep their voices strong. The music adds some fun and socialization to what amounts to a grueling workout.
“Exercise actually promotes stimulation of the neurochemicals, including serotonin and dopamine, that affect mood and emotions. The mood benefits from exercise are very significant.” Perhaps that’s why Paul Jackson and his fellow boxers don’t dwell on the lousy hand dealt to them. They’re not angry; they don’t wallow in self-pity or curse their fate. “What you can do is take what you’ve got, like exercise and boxing, take the tools you have and try to make the most of them,” says Jackson, who displays only a slight hitch to his gait. “We’re hoping they find a cure, but I know it won’t be in my lifetime.” For the over 500 Nebraskans diagnosed with Parkinson’s each year (most are seniors), a cure can’t come fast enough. “We’re in the Parkinson’s belt along with Iowa, North Dakota, and Minnesota,” explains Pavelka, highlighting what researchers suspect: pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers may somehow play a role in contracting the disease.
“I can barely talk,” Johnson says in a whisper. “[Parkinson’s] paralyzes your voice box. I’ve had DBS [deep brain stimulation], which helps with my shaking, but it hasn’t helped my balance. That’s why I come here to boxing.” lace up their boxing gloves and take a position on the gym floor around a makeshift boxing ring—a low platform topped with thick brown mats. But instead of hitting each other, the boxers practice their jabs, uppercuts, and right hooks on freestanding punching bags (including a mannequin-like “body opponent bag” affectionately known by its acronym, BOB). Coupled with a rigorous calisthenics and aerobic workout led by a Parkinson’s-trained fitness instructor, the hour-long boxing session leaves the boxers sweaty but invigorated. “This is completely non-contact,” explains Cheri Prince, director of rehabilitation services at Life Care of Elkhorn. “Rock Steady Boxing is a national program that started in Indianapolis and Life Care became a Rock Steady affiliate two years ago. It utilizes the kind of fitness regimen boxers go through.” Why boxing, of all things, the brutal sport of Muhammad Ali (who also fought Parkinson’s)?
The benefits of the boxing should not be underestimated. Gary Johnson, who used to work for the National Resource Conservation Service, says his walking and balance are much better. George Moon, a framing carpenter from North Omaha whose symptoms include the inability to stand up straight, has also experienced progress. “I noticed improvement in my writing, which was getting smaller. That’s one thing that goes. Since I started boxing here two years ago, my writing is back to normal,” Moon says. Current research backs up their claims. While drugs manage some symptoms of Parkinson’s, only exercise has proven to actually slow its progression. Proponents of exercise point to another crucial benefit, too. “Attitude is like 90 percent of the battle and depression is prevalent,” says Julie Pavelka, a nurse practitioner who works directly with Parkinson’s patients at Nebraska Medicine. MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 101 / BESTOFOMAHA.COM
For people living with Parkinson’s in the Omaha area who wish to focus on their quality of life and forge new friendships, a little boxing ring may be just what the doctor ordered.
Life Care Center of Elkhorn offers Rock Steady Boxing to outpatients every Monday at 4 p.m., and Wednesdays at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Sessions cost $10 each, no reservations required. Visit lifecarecenterofelkhorn.com for more information.
Hard Rock Hunting 60PLUS | CURIOSITY
STORY BY SANDRA MARTIN // PHOTOGRAPHY BY BILL SITZMANN // DESIGN BY DEREK JOY
Geologist Allan Jeanneret’s Hobby
MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 102 / OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM
60PLUS | CURIOSITY
Allan Jeanneret, “Most people think geology is just the study of rocks, but it’s actually a study of the whole Earth and its structures.” CCORDING TO GEOLOGIST
Jeanneret’s love and passion—some might say obsession—for rocks and anything rockrelated began in 4-H Club, in his hometown of Brock, Nebraska. “They had a program on rocks and minerals led by a local school teacher. Later, when I was 15, he led field trips for Peru State College, and was able to drag me along.” That was when Jeanneret’s interest crystallized. After earning a degree in geology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, he spent the next three years working oil fields—mostly in Texas and Louisiana—before beginning his now 34-year career working for Nebraska Public Power District at Cooper Nuclear Station in Brownville, Nebraska.
His years of hunting have resulted in a vast and varied collection, including agates, petrified wood, fossils (with skulls and dinosaur vertebrae), and a lot of Native American artifacts such as hatchets and arrowheads, some dating from 5,000-10,000 years ago. What is his favorite find? Woolly mammoth teeth. Mammoths are an extinct type of elephant (and Nebraska’s state fossil). His rarest discovery? A thunder egg formed from volcanic rock, found when he was 12. What won’t he sell? “Anything that brings up a special memory for me of how I found it.” Asked what makes his life-long hobby still fascinating after all these years? “You never know what you’re going to find,” he says. “When you cut into a rock, you’re the first person to ever see what’s inside. That’s pretty amazing!”
“It’s great to be able to turn your hobby into a business,” he says, “and bring in income doing what you love and what you’d be doing anyway.” Today, Jeanneret is not only an avid rock “hounder” and collector (his license plate reads “Rock Hound”), but also a dealer. He and artist wife Tammy have a gem and mineral business, buying and selling their finds at various venues. Tammy also creates and sells rock paintings and designer jewelry.
Visit the Nebraska Mineral and Gem Club website at nerockgem.org for more information.
“It’s great to be able to turn your hobby into a business,” he says, “and bring in income doing what you love and what you’d be doing anyway.” Both are also active in the Nebraska Mineral and Gem Club, which supports six gem shows a year as well as rock swaps, demonstrations, and other events. “Rock hunting is alive and well in Nebraska,” Jeanneret proudly boasts. “The club now has 75 members.” But of all his rock-related activities, Jeanneret most enjoys his rock hounding digs with two fellow geologists. The trio, who have hunted together for 10 years (usually in southeastern Nebraska) look mostly for Lake Superior agates (a type of quartz) that came down in the glacial till. “We all have different areas of expertise, which help us know where to look. We walk a lot of rivers and creeks, and drive an all-terrain vehicle with boat props so we can float in the water.” And if they aren’t finding any rocks? “We’ll fish or hunt for mushrooms, so we usually come home with something.” MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 103 / BESTOFOMAHA.COM
Remember the Big Joe Polka Show?! Omaha’s Polka Legacy, Digitized
HE JIMMY B ORCHESTRA , Barefoot
Becky & The Ivanhoe Dutchmen, and The Sauerkrauts—these bands witnessed the heyday of polka in Omaha. The musical groups were just some of the acts featured on the Big Joe Polka Show, which aired on dozens of radio stations nationwide for more than two decades. Hosted by Omaha native Joseph “Big Joe” Siedlik, the weekly program showcased performances by some of the region’s best-known and beloved polka bands and orchestras. For many in the heartland, including immigrants who longed for the music and traditions of the old country, the hour-long show was a staple of their Sunday afternoon family time. Thousands tuned in to enjoy the happy, rhythmic sounds of polka, which Siedlik called “happy music for happy people.” At its height, the program aired on more than 30 stations, including a few in California and New York.
He was quite a promoter, doing radio station promos and fundraising. He put on the first polka festival at Peony Park. Back then, it was a lucrative business and Joe was passionate about it. —Ed Svoboda In 2000, the Big Joe Polka Show made its television debut on the newly launched RFD-TV cable network, which devotes its programming to agribusiness, equine and rural issues, and traditional entertainment. The dance and variety program garnered strong ratings among RFD-TV’s audience— estimated on its website at 40 million-plus available households—and ran through December 2010. Today, thanks to digitization, fans of the toetapping, cheerful music genre can watch airings of Big Joe Polka Classics on RFD-TV.
Joe Siedlik’s son, Mike, agrees. “He wasn’t a musician himself, but he was a great promoter of all kinds of polka music,” he says from his sign shop in Columbus, Nebraska. “He could play the drums a bit, and a cymbal, more or less for a party atmosphere,” he joked. “But he really appreciated the talent those musicians had and was always promoting them.”
Like Big Joe, Svoboda grew up in South Omaha. “It was a great place to be raised. The area was full of Czech families and businesses. We lived about a half block from Sokol Hall.” Polka music was a fixture in family life and community in South O, says Svoboda, whose own family emigrated to the U.S. from Bohemia.
Mike says his dad, who grew up around polka music in his ethnic South Omaha neighborhood, began recording polka performances on reel-to-reel. “I’d tag along with him going station to station, pitching his show. He’d buy airtime, with the condition he’d sell the advertising himself. He became well known throughout the state, and was even asked by the governor to put on a polka dance for the Nebraska centennial celebration,” he says proudly.
Svoboda began playing polka music professionally at age 15, and later took over accordion-playing duties for his musician father in the Red Raven Orchestra at age 18. A Red Raven performance at the Starlite Ballroom in Wahoo, Nebraska, aired on the Big Joe Polka Show years ago.
Big Joe went on to become a regular emcee for polka dances at ethnic festivals and fundraising events throughout the region, as well as founding Polka Days at Ag Park in Columbus, where he and his wife settled to raise their family. He also founded Polka Cassettes of Nebraska (a mail-order music business) and published Polka World (a bimonthly newspaper) for over a decade. “At 13, I was helping distribute papers and putting labels on eight-tracks. Dad would hire us high school kids to get the job done… He could get the troops fired up to do anything,” Mike remembers. He is happy to know his father is still entertaining after all these years: “It makes people smile to watch his show and see their relatives, or even themselves and their friends, dancing away, enjoying the music…saying ‘I can’t move like that anymore!’” Ed “Sonny” Svoboda, coordinator for the Sokol Omaha Polka Hall of Fame, also credits Big Joe for his major contribution to polka: “He was quite a promoter, doing radio station promos and fundraising. He put on the first polka festival at Peony Park. Back then, it was a lucrative business and Joe was passionate about it.”
Many people believe there was no bigger champion for polka music than “Big Joe,” who passed away in 2015 at age 80.
“Joe was a good friend,” he says. “I only have good things to say about him.” Though Big Joe has not yet been inducted into the Hall of Fame, Svoboda adds, “I expect that will happen, as we have a category for nominees that are [deceased]. Though not a musician, he was a real ambassador for polka music.” The six-piece Red Raven Orchestra continues to perform, playing annual events including Omaha Oktoberfests, Taste of Omaha, and Fort Omaha Car Club. Occasionally, they still play Starlite Ballroom. Svoboda still plays accordion and books all the group’s engagements. “Mostly, though, we do a lot of assisted living facilities. The folks light up like Christmas trees when they hear the music,” he says. “We don’t make a lot of money, but we like to give back.” He says it makes him sad to see so few young people today taking an interest in polka music. “I think [those in the industry are] doing a better job in places like Wisconsin and Minnesota and places back East,” where polka dances and festivals have bigger youth turnout. “We need to do a better job of promoting here among the younger generation. Families today are just so focused on their kids’ activities. Cultural things are just getting lost.” Maybe introducing young kids to polka through Big Joe Polka Classics is a start.
Check rfdtv.com/schedule for program dates and times to view digitized footage of the Big Joe Polka Show. MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 104 / OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM
60PLUS | NOSTALGIA STORY BY LINDA PERSIGEHL // PHOTOGRAPHY BY BILL SITZMANN // DESIGN & ILLUSTRATION BY DEREK JOY
Joseph “Big Joe” Siedlik MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 105 / BESTOFOMAHA.COM
60PLUS | PASSION STORY BY SEAN ROBINSON // PHOTOGRAPHY BY BILL SITZMANN // DESIGN BY DEREK JOY
artist, there exists a muse. And for Alicia Sancho Scherich, her muse happens to be a former pen pal—Mother Teresa. Yes, that Mother Teresa, Nobel Peace Prize winner and humanitarian extraordinaire. EHIND EVERY GOOD
The two connected only once, but the memory still brings tears to Sancho Scherich’s eyes as she recalls it nearly three decades later. After completing a large canvas painting of the icon, she wanted to make reproductions and wrote to ask Mother Teresa if she’d like all sales donated to her charity. Being the saint that she is, Mother Teresa wrote back, suggesting Sancho Scherich keep her goodwill within her local community instead. But Sancho Scherich had an even better, bigger, and bolder idea.
“ALTHOUGH MY WORK
MAY LOOK DIFFERENT,
ALICIA SANCHO SCHERICH
PAINTING THE POWER OF PEACE
I ALWAYS TRY TO
GET STRAIGHT TO
THE HEART OF THE
IT’S A PORTRAIT OR
A SYMBOLIC PIECE.”
- ALICIA SANCHO SCHERICH
Using this first 4-by-6 foot canvas painting as the epicenter of something much more grandiose, Sancho Scherich began painting, researching, and painting some more. Twelve years later, 17 more linen canvases made stunning with strokes of oil paint, and her magnum opus was complete—a mural titled “World Peace” that went on display in Creighton’s Lied Art Gallery last year. “I wanted to create something that captured the nature of man, with each canvas depicting either a different positive or negative aspect,” Sancho Scherich says. “I consider this my greatest and most thought-provoking achievement.” And that’s really saying something for an 84-year-old artist who’s been working for the better part of the last century. Throughout her illustrious career, Sancho Scherich’s style has transitioned from traditional realism to abstract expressionism, but all of her work stands out for its near perfection. Even with hundreds of paintings, murals, and prints under her belt, each piece manages to combine obsessive research with uncanny imagination to embody all the things that make humanity, well, human. MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 106 / OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM
60PLUS | PASSION
MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 107 / BESTOFOMAHA.COM
60PLUS | PASSION
“Although my work may look different, I always try to get straight to the heart of the matter, whether it’s a portrait or a symbolic piece,” Sancho Scherich says. “And when something comes to my head, I just love working and working on it until it’s perfect.” With her lineage, though, creative perfectionism runs through Sancho Scherich’s very DNA. Her grandfather was a violinist in the court orchestra of King Alfonso XIII of Spain, and her grandmother was an accomplished artist, as was her father. So much so that he received wide acclaim and was awarded bronze, silver, and gold medals from the Spanish National Exposition of Fine Arts (the equivalence of such an honor in the United States would be being named Artist Laureate by the federal government).
“THERE ARE MANY CULTURAL DIFFERENCES IN SPANISH AND AMERICAN ART,” SANCHO SCHERICH SAYS. “HERE, THE FIRST THING MANY CONSIDER
IS HOW MUCH MONEY
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THEY CAN GET OUT OF A PAINTING. IN EUROPE, PRICE IS SECONDARY, SO THE WORK IS MORE AUTHENTIC AND PASSIONATE.” While Sancho Scherich has called the sprawling suburbs of Bellevue, Nebraska, home since 1960, she still looks to lessons from her father in the sunny vistas of Madrid as the catalyst for her later accomplishments. In fact, with her father’s guidance, her artistic career began with handcrafting royal dolls as a teenager and working towards a degree in fashion design and toy making. By age 26, this Spanish señorita was United States-bound after falling for and marrying an American airman who was being transferred from a post in Spain to Offutt Air Force Base.
“There are many cultural differences in Spanish and American art,” Sancho Scherich says. “Here, the first thing many consider is how much money they can get out of a painting. In Europe, price is secondary, so the work is more authentic and passionate.” These Spanish values stay with Sancho Scherich today. Most of her paintings are given as gifts or adorn the walls of her home (adjacent to Fontenelle Forest). But even the most passionate of painters needs to make some pennies. From St. Joseph Hospital to College of St. Mary to the Woodmen of the World Society, she has been commissioned to paint portraits for present and past leadership in notable organizations. Additionally, she creates work for local philanthropies that are given to help raise funds at charity auctions.
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Like Spanish wine, things seem to only get sweeter with age for Sancho Scherich. In late 2017, she nabbed two nominations from the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards for her showing of “World Peace” at Creighton earlier in the year. And if she has any say, that’s just the beginning of this piece’s journey. She hopes to market it to be shown in galleries across the Midwest, the nation, and eventually the world, all with the end goal of it finally being installed in the United Nations General Assembly. “Her passion for this project is simply unmatched,” says Steve Scherich, her son. “Even me, after years of looking at these canvases, I’ll find things I hadn’t ever seen before. This really needs to be shared with others.” At barely 5 feet tall, this petite painter packs a big heart and doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. Even after suffering a stroke two years ago and losing her husband, she says nothing will stop her from hunting down that next big idea. “Art is something inside you that you need to express always,” Sancho Scherich says. “I can’t stop doing this and go to the Riviera anytime soon. I just need to find something to inspire me to create again.”
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Saint Cecilia Cathedral’s Sunderland Gallery is hosting an exhibition of Alicia Sancho Scherich’s father’s work, A Lifetime of Painting by Mariano Sancho, through April 1. Visit cathedralartsproject.org for more information.
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60PLUS | HEALTH STORY BY JESSICA WADE // PHOTOGRAPHY BY BILL SITZMANN // DESIGN BY DEREK JOY
From left: a normal bone vs. an osteoporotic bone. When bones break, the problem is usually found in the inner bone. Osteoporosis causes the inner bone to become porous and spongy (resembling honeycomb).
Breaking the Silence of Osteoporosis Ongoing UNMC Study Seeks to Prevent Bone Loss in Post-Menopausal Women
and undertreated, osteoporosis is a bone disease that often leads to severe and debilitating bone fractures. Roughly 35 million Americans are at risk of developing osteoporosis, and many who are living with the condition are unaware that they have it or that there are steps they could have taken to prevent it. Dr. Nancy Waltman and Dr. Laura Bilek are working to develop preventative measures while educating women on the risks of this prevalent and deadly condition. NDERDIAGNOSED
Waltman, a professor in the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing, and Bilek, a physical therapist and an associate professor, are the lead investigators of a study titled “Bone-Loading Exercises Versus Risedronate on Bone Health in Post-Menopausal Women.” The study is part of a $3.2 million National Institutes of Health grant. Waltman says that educating women about osteoporosis is an important step in treating it. MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 110 / OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM
“It’s exciting when I meet women and talk about bones,” Waltman says. “[Osteoporosis] is very much a silent disease. People don’t talk about it, but they should be.” Bilek and Waltman have screened thousands of women since 2015, and have recruited 220 of the 300 women needed for the study. Bilek says that their ultimate goal is preventing bone loss in post-menopausal women.
“The most rapid bone loss occurs between the ages of 50 and 60; that’s who we seek out for the study,” Bilek says. Bilek says that once a woman is chosen to participate in the study, they are put into one of three groups: the control group, which takes calcium and vitamin D; a second group that combines calcium, vitamin D, and exercise; or a third group that uses calcium, vitamin D, exercise, and the intake of bisphosphonates. Bilek and Waltman say that ensuring the study was accessible to Spanish-speakers was important because the belief that osteoporosis mainly impacts Caucasian women is both common and false. “A lot of Latina women don’t think they can have it [osteoporosis], but many Latina women don’t get enough calcium in their diet, putting them at greater risk,” Waltman says. “For our exercise program, we’ve partnered with the Kroc Center and have translators available.” Another damaging rumor Bilek and Waltman are hoping to disprove is the “danger” of osteoporosis medications. “The side effects reported in the media scared women away from taking the drugs,” Waltman says. “20-25 percent of women aren’t taking the medications they’re prescribed. It’s disappointing. Medication is very important in preventing fractures.” Severe side effects have been reported from osteoporosis medications, but are incredibly rare, and Bilek and Waltman stress how dangerous osteoporosis can be if left untreated. “About one in five people with hip fractures die within a year,” Bilek says. “I’m very passionate about this disease because maybe we can prevent that from happening.” They will have to wait for the end of the study before they can draw any conclusions, but Bilek says that (in general) they know that exercise is good.
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“The question becomes how do we implement effective exercise for their bones?” Bilek says. “Over long term, how can they keep exercising when they have other priorities?” No matter the results, Bilek and Waltman say that the study can benefit the women who choose to participate. It offers education, free medical tests such as a DXA scan (which measures bone density), and a role in breaking the silence that seems to surround osteoporosis.
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For more information on the study or to inquire about participation, call 402-559-6584 or email email@example.com. MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 111 / BESTOFOMAHA.COM
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OBVIOUSLY OMAHA // STORY BY GREG JERRETT // PHOTOGRAPHY BY DOUG MEIGS, KAITEI IMAGE PROVIDED
Local Speak-Easies Harken to Olden Days
AS HARD AS it is to believe now, a small group of extremists once managed to take over
the United States government. Their goal was simple: make everyone stop drinking liquor. Prohibition lasted from 1920 to 1933, and during that time, no American who really wanted a drink went without one. For example, Benson resident Katherine Warner was arrested in 1922 while storing large amounts of homemade gin and whiskey for local consumption, as well as counterfeit labels. In many cases, people just paid a little more—and made a lot of criminals wealthy. One of the more memorable ways to have a night out was to go to a technically illegal nightclub known as a speak-easy. Omaha had a few “speaks,” most notably the third floor of King Fong’s, but the romanticized ideal was barely necessary. Ask any Omaha bellboy or cabbie where to get booze, and they would set you right in short order. Today, speak-easies make for a nice theme. But the legal context is vastly different. (Joslyn Castle even has a sold-out speakeasy series running from January through April on the third Thursday of every month.) Here are a few bars and clubs fitting a loose contemporary definition of “speak-easies.” 01. WICKED RABBIT 1508 Harney St. 402-933-8331 Facebook: @thewickedrabbit Frequently referred to as one of Omaha's hidden gems, Wicked Rabbit is the archetypical, modern speak-easy and was dubbed “Omaha’s intimate speak-easy” by the Omaha Visitors Center. They serve creative, delicious Prohibition-era cocktails with a speak-easy feel and a semi-secret entrance. Just go through the Looking Glass Cigars & Spirits, tell the clerk the secret passphrase, and you're in. Check out their Facebook page for details because they have no website. 02. OSTERIA SEGRETO 3910 Farnam St., Suite B osteriasegreto.com Osteria Segreto means “secret tavern” and that’s a great description for a bar “hidden” beneath Blackstone Social where one can ask for directions to the basement entrance. Be sure to also ask what the secret knock is. The Osteria Segreto website is notably lacking information. Good luck making a reservation as no telephone number is listed. It's romantically lit, as discreetly located as any Blackstone District business can be, and it positively oozes quality. 03. THE MINESHAFT 1715 Leavenworth St. 402-449-8703 Facebook: @omahaminingcompany If you don’t know the Mineshaft, you are not alone. The Mineshaft is located in the basement of The Omaha Mining Co. behind a locked door. It is the bar’s sanctum sanctorum and not for everyday use. The Mineshaft is a special events/ party room today, but in the past, when alcohol was not the only thing served on the down-low, places like this allowed
gay men a room of their own and a quick escape out the back when raided. The Mineshaft has an air of mystique. It resembles nothing so much as a '60s-era rumpus room decorated with homoerotic art perfect for gear night, club meetings, socials, or just hanging with the fellas.
04. KAITEI 6109 Maple St. 402-558-2482 Facebook: @kaiteibenson There is charm in discovering something off the beaten path. Located in the basement of Ika Ramen in Benson is an izakaya called Kaitei. An izakaya is a small, casual, signage-averse, Japanesestyle pub. It is entirely possible to eat at Ika and never realize there is a bar in the basement behind a nondescript door in the dining room. Kaitei is always in flux and embraces the risqué, according to owner Alex Diimig. Diimig says he is not fond of the term “speak-easy,” but he does like the semi-secrecy and sense of adventure Kaitei evokes. It's not off limits, just not advertised. It is far enough off the road most taken to add a sense of mystery to your evening. Weird people welcome.
05. DOWN UNDER LOUNGE 3530 Leavenworth St. 402-933-3927 thedownunderomaha.com Down Under Lounge recently moved from its location near 38th and Leavenworth streets. Its basement speak-easy is equipped with a grand piano and a door to nowhere. It also brings a bit of history in the form of half the bar from the old location. Yes, it was cut in half from the old Down Under Lounge, and now resides in its new underground home. This speak-softly lounge is currently open for special occasions, shows, and their DU fondue parties. MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 113 / BESTOFOMAHA.COM
SPORTS // STORY BY ANNE WALSH // PHOTOGRAPHY BY JAMI SCULL // DESIGN BY MATT WIECZOREK
THE HORSES ARE BACK! 2018 INTERNATIONAL OMAHA THE INTERNATIONAL OMAHA indoor jump-
ing and dressage competition continues its ascent in the horse sports world, drawing the fastest horses and riders to Omaha from qualifying contests in Chicago, Kansas City, St. Louis, and Denver. The InIt2WinIt Speed Jumping Series is the brainchild of Lisa Roskens, chairman of the Omaha Equestrian Foundation. Similar to speed competitions held in California during the early ’90s, she says, it features challenging turns and offers riders more options for successfully navigating the course in the fastest possible time. Following recent qualifying rounds in the four major cities, the InIt2WinIt series culminates with 30 riders vying in a nationally televised, $100,000 championship at the 2018 International Omaha, April 12-15 at the CenturyLink Center. The innovative event fits perfectly with the Omaha Equestrian Foundation’s mission to expand the sport-horse industry throughout the Midwest, with Omaha anchoring international-caliber equestrian competitions that provide educational and economic development opportunities. “Omaha is a natural location to help grow the equestrian industry. It’s in the heart of the Midwest’s agricultural infrastructure, is easy to get to and is surrounded by pastureland,” Roskens says. “As traditional agriculture becomes more mechanized, expanding the equestrian industry and the jobs it provides can help augment it.” InIt2WinIt is joined by another first-time event: the Dressage Team Challenge. Dressage (rhymes with “massage”) is the ballet of equine competitions, with horse and rider moving as one through intricate movements and patterns.
InIt2WinIt and the Dressage Team Challenge are innovative additions that will build International Omaha’s fan base in the Midwest and beyond, says Mike West, the Omaha Equestrian Foundation’s chief executive officer. They precede the regional competition’s mainstay and finale: the $130,000 Grand Prix, a breathtaking jumping event entering its sixth year. “We thought of these concepts, then we went out and got the interest,” West says. “We are creating a fan experience you don’t get anywhere else in the Midwest.” When most people attend a sporting event, he explains, it’s part of a larger happening that includes tailgating or other pre- and post-game activities. West says International Omaha mirrors how the sport is presented in larger European and U.S. coastal cities. Highlights include the Boutique Shopping Village with more than 100 vendors and the Tailgate Lounge, where fans can eat and drink—while watching horses and riders warm up— then party to live music after the event. International Omaha also is offering free daytime competitions in the CenturyLink Center’s arena for up-and-coming amateur and junior riders; a free Horse Discovery Zone with interactive and educational displays; and clinics hosted by Olympic gold medalist Hubertus Schmidt (dressage) and legendary rider, trainer, and clinician George Morris (jumping). “These equestrian events are exciting, fun, beautiful, and easily appreciated,” West says. “We’re building something really special.” Visit internationalomaha.com for more information.
The unique event brings a team approach to dressage. It features eight groups of three riders who qualified at high-level U.S. horse shows, primarily in the East, to win the chance to compete in the $45,000 final. Top-level, professional riders partner with junior, young amateurs and para riders across the age spectrum.
MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 114 / OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM
OMAHA’S PIVOTAL PLACE IN THE LIFE AND CAREER OF A TOP RIDER AS HIS LAST name implies, Christian
Heineking is truly king of the horse jumping ring. He’s won four out of five International Omaha Grand Prix jumping events, and he competed in the 2017 FEI World Cup (the world-class championship event held for the first time in Omaha). Far from his birthplace in East Germany, Heineking says Omaha has played a unique and seemingly unlikely role in his life—both professionally and personally. Heineking, 38, grew up around horses owned by his grandfather. As a teenager, he entered the Redefin Federal Stud of Mecklenburg as a riding school student and went on to earn a master certification at the German Riding Academy at Warendorf, completing years of course work in breeding, young horses, and operations, with extensively tested riding ability. Graduating at the top of his class in 2008, he turned pro and headed to the United States on a two-year visa to experience American show jumping. He met Erin Davis, also an accomplished show jumper, and the two began dating. That’s when Omaha entered their lives. Davis is friends with Karen Cudmore, an Omaha Equestrian Foundation board member, who eagerly touted the inaugural 2012 International Omaha to the pair. They have returned each year since, with International Omaha competitions paralleling significant milestones in their lives: dating, engagement, marriage, pregnancy, and the birth of baby Ella. Heineking’s fast-paced life includes many victories in national and international competitions, all while operating October Hill Farm and Heineking Show Stables near his family’s residence close to Fort Worth, Texas. Still, Omaha holds a special place in his heart.
Christian Heineking MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 115 / BESTOFOMAHA.COM
“International Omaha is well managed and more compact—you have to be ready to compete,” Heineking says. “The people in Omaha are always friendly, and we really like it. It feels like home to me.”
W E S T
A F R I C A N
W E S T
O M A H A
DINING | FEATURE // STORY BY KARA SCHWEISS // PHOTOGRAPHY BY BILL SITZMANN // DESIGN BY MATT WIECZOREK
C HA I MA
I NTRO D U C ES
CHAIMA DAN-MEROGO MARADI often gets asked for the story of why she left Africa for the United States 15 years ago, but her answer is usually just three words.
“I followed love,” she says, referring to her move following the man of her dreams. And her now-husband, Boubakar Souleman, followed love in turn when, in 2012, he helped his wife realize her dream of opening her namesake restaurant—Chaima African Cuisine. (Chaima is pronounced “shy-ma.”)
TOG O LES E
C U I S I N E
“The very first-ever thing I created was crepes,” she recalls. Her efforts were so successful that her crepes became a family tradition for Eid, a principal Muslim festival. At an age when most children can barely make toast, Maradi began experimenting with food, recreating fare she’d sampled elsewhere, trying out recipes from magazines, and even concocting new dishes. “I just liked to get into my own corner and duplicate what I’d seen,” she says. As a young newlywed in the U.S., she turned to cooking to help her acclimate to American culture.
“He knew how much I loved cooking, how passionate I am, how much I talk about it,” Maradi says. “He wanted me to be happy. He said, ‘I don’t quite understand it, but I’ll jump on board with you.’” Restaurant ownership is a huge commitment, Maradi says, with six-day workweeks and days that begin with morning prep and run through lunch and dinner service ending at 9 or 10 p.m. In addition to operating the restaurant near 108th and Q streets, last year Maradi bought a food truck, which appears at festivals and events throughout the city. Meanwhile, they are raising a family that includes two busy teenagers, a 6-year-old, and a 4-year-old. “Sometimes I’m in here from time A to time Z. It’s a long day,” Maradi says. “It’s a lot of work.”
“When my husband was at work, I watched television. Food Network—that was my friend!” she says. “Emeril, he was the star of the show at that time. So that’s what I would do, watch Food Network, try to understand what they mean ” F O O D A LWAY S S TA R T S by everything because some of the vegetable names and things were A C O N V E R S AT I O N A N D completely different.” BRI NGS A GROU P OF P E O P L E T O A TA B L E . PEOPLE PUSHING, AND T RY I N G T O B R I D G E T H E GA P B ETW E E N F E LLOW
A M E R I C A N S A N D M YS E L F, T H AT WA S M Y R E C I P E O F S TA R T I N G A R E S TA U R A N T I N OMAHA.“
- C HAI MA DAN - M E ROGO MARAD I
But it’s work she fully embraces because it makes the business she loves thrive. “It’s an everyday life, and it’s a normal American life. When I read or listen about successful entrepreneurs, I’m like, ‘There’s nothing I’m doing wrong here. I should be proud of myself,’” she says. “This is what it takes…I have to keep pushing.” Maradi still remembers her earliest days in the kitchen as a 9-year-old in her native Togo.
Sometimes the food wouldn’t turn out the way she wanted, but Maradi would try again, and she had far more hits than misses. “I would cook and then dish it, portion it into plates, and look for people who were actually willing to taste it,” she says. It took little persuasion for her husband’s friends and colleagues to become tastetesters, and word traveled quickly. “Everybody loved her food—everybody,” Souleman says.
It wasn’t long before people began suggesting that Maradi open her own restaurant. She “wasn’t ready” at first, but Maradi says her confidence and customer service skills increased through employment as a grocery store cashier and later in a nursing home, which also helped sharpen her English. Eventually she leased space in a commercial kitchen, which ultimately led to the launch of Chaima at the repeated urging of friends and acquaintances.
Left: Atieke Boisson Braise (tilapia with onion, tomato, and bell pepper) with sides of cassava couscous and fried plantains MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 117 / BESTOFOMAHA.COM
// DINING | FEATURE //
“I heard it so many times: ‘I love your food and you’re so good at what you’re doing.’ At some point I said, ‘Maybe I should,’” Maradi says. Chaima has supported fundraisers for the Muslim Student Association at the University of Nebraska-Omaha and Maradi, who’s proud to call herself a feminist, has also supported organizations like Congokazi, which advocates for Congolese women, and Global Partners in Hope, which assists impoverished communities around the world. She says her restaurant is another means of sharing culture and fostering understanding. “Food always starts a conversation and brings a group of people to a table,” she explains. “People pushing, and trying to bridge the gap between fellow Americans and myself, that was my recipe of starting a restaurant in Omaha.” Maradi’s business instincts are as good as her cooking. Chaima is the only West African restaurant in the area, so Maradi’s menu features photos of each dish and descriptions of ingredients to help Midwesterners ease into a new cuisine. “I figured out that you eat ‘with your eyes’ first. So if it looks good, it’s going to appeal to you, you’re going to take the chance to read what it is,” she says. Maradi shops at two African groceries in the city and a fruteria in South Omaha, but also purchases supplies at warehouse stores “like anybody else.” Many ingredients will be familiar to Americans, Maradi says, like chicken, beef kebabs, cabbage, tomato, tilapia, noodles, and rice. She even offers French fries and chicken wings on an appetizer menu. Entrée names are a combination of French—the official language of Togo—and “Mina,” a language predominant in southeastern Togo. Dishes with Togo origins are most prevalent, but the Chaima menu also features cuisine from Ghana, Nigeria, Benin, and Ivory Coast.
“Once you make it in here, we want you to stay,” Maradi says, so she has placed Midwestern-friendly dishes on the first page of the menu. “That’s what I tell people; if you want to be in the ‘OK zone,’ you can’t go wrong with anything in the top four here,” she says. A noodle dish called Spaghetti Creole, Riz au Gras and Poulet (chicken and rice), and Amadan (fried plantains, noodles, veggies, and meat) are among the dishes leading the listings. Riz Creole, which overtook Riz au Gras as Chaima’s top seller soon after its introduction, appears at the very top. But diners won’t find it on the menu of any other West African restaurant anywhere, because it’s a one-of-a-kind dish invented by Maradi. “I like playing with flavors,” she says. Maradi has made concessions to the American palate and cultural expectations, for example, using lamb in dishes that would usually call for goat, or presenting her hot sauce and fried tomato sauce on the side. But she enjoys answering questions from curious guests and is happy to make recommendations. Diners who want to try something new can look further into the menu for novel ingredients like African yams—“more like potatoes than American yams”—or fufu, a starchy staple made in part from cassava, a root vegetable. Chaima continues to evolve, and Maradi is always working on new offerings, like gyros and a plantain-based veggie burger. For fellow Muslim families, she’s developing versions of American fare like hamburgers and chicken nuggets that comply with Islamic dietary rules. Maradi has also begun bottling and distributing her popular pineapple citrus drink. “We never gave up regardless of how hard things were getting; we kept pushing and pushing. Customers, friends that believe in us, and all of those good reviews on Yelp mentioning how good the food is kept me going,” Maradi says. “To see someone try my food and go, ‘Oh. My. God,’ that’s rewarding for me right there. It just makes me happy.” To learn more, visit Chaima African Cuisine on Facebook at @chaimaafricancuisine.
Chaima Dan-merogo Maradi, owner of Chaima African Cuisine
Peanut butter-lamb stew with a side of fufu
MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 119 / BESTOFOMAHA.COM
CHASE THOMSEN OMAHA MAGAZINE | DINING // PROFILE
A FORMER DUNDEE-AREA eyesore is now one of the hottest places in Omaha to scarf down eggs and waffles.
For years, a decaying, vacant service station sat near the roundabout that connects Seward, Happy Hollow, and 50th streets. But this past summer, the building began to undergo a metamorphosis. The exterior got a slick, black lacquer-like paint job. The 5-foot hole inside the building was filled in. And for a final touch, a hot pink neon sign boldly displayed four letters: SCBC. Today, visitors to the Saddle Creek Breakfast Club can expect at least two things: a sweet or savory breakfast in the $10 range, and about a one-hour wait. The breakfast-themed restaurant is the vision of executive chef Chase Thomsen and his wife, Niki. The restaurant serves up high-end takes on standard greasy spoon fare: biscuits and gravy, chicken-fried pork, as well as sweet offerings such as banana pancakes or a waffle that’s topped with candied macadamia nuts. They also have a vegan menu, which, like their primary menu, is seasonally adjusted. Chase’s restaurant experience came at an early age. His godfather, Malcolm Thompson, was the former owner of Taxi’s Grille and Bar. Chase took his first job at age 15 at the now-closed Yo Yo Grille, which was located around 120th and Pacific streets. Then he went to the University of Nebraska-Kearney to study graphic design, but dropped out to work full time as a chef. In 2007, he worked at Taxi’s. In 2009, he was in charge of that restaurant’s back-end kitchen. He later went to work at Plank, then, after returning to Taxi’s for a brief time, he worked at The Market House. While at The Market House, Chase worked with executive chef and fellow Millard North alum Matt Moser, who now co-owns Stirnella. “Chase is an extremely talented and hard worker,” Moser says. “I can see why he’s getting the press and reviews he is getting.” Both chefs’ culinary careers took a radical shift on Jan. 9, 2016, when an early afternoon explosion ripped through M’s Pub. Chase had a dinner shift at The Market House, which was adjacent to the beloved Omaha institution. On that frigid afternoon following the fire, he thought they’d be closed for dinner at most. “We were still thinking that he may have to work the next day,” his wife Niki says. “Obviously, by the next morning, there was another story.”
Sitting at one of the tables at SCBC, Chase ran his fingers down one of the strings in his dark-blue hoodie and recalled the first thing he thought after hearing The Market House was damaged beyond repair. “I have to find a job,” he says with a laugh. He took a job as a food consultant at a senior living community to pay the bills. During that time, his son, Lennon, was born. Throughout 2016, Chase and Niki began to come up with the concept of a breakfast-themed restaurant. Niki knew contractor Jeff Hubby, who ended up turning the old service station into what is now an eating hot spot on the northeastern edge of Dundee. The entire construction process took less than five months, Chase says. Niki worked on the interior theme. Some of the inspiration for the design came from stuff she saw on Pinterest. When she heard the tile work for one of the walls would cost more than $20,000, she went to tile stores to get the white, black, and grey diamond-style design she wanted. “Every decision we made was honestly dictated by budget,” Niki says. Doing a breakfast-themed restaurant serves two needs for Chase. First, it gives him the opportunity to focus on his favorite meal. Second, it provides the opportunity to be at home in the evening for his family. With half a year into operation, he’s still trying to fulfill that second need. For the first few months after its October opening, he found himself getting home after midnight, even though service stops at 2 p.m. “Our son is 1 now. I’m thinking, ‘Get this place open, become a morning person, and be able to have evenings at home,’” Chase says. “We’re not quite there yet.” Saddle Creek Breakfast Club is located at 1540 N. Saddle Creek. Visit @scbcomaha on Facebook for more information.
MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 120 / OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM
CHEF AT THE SADDLE CREEK BREAKFAST CLUB
STORY BY SEAN MCCARTHY // PHOTOGRAPHY BY BILL SITZMANN DESIGN BY MATT WIECZOREK
French toast with Grand Marnier, whipped chevre, and preserves (topped with fruit, nuts, and powdered sugar)
DINING | REVIEW // STORY BY NIZ PROSKOCIL // PHOTOGRAPHY BY BILL SITZMANN // DESIGN BY MATT WIECZOREK
Sswartz bbee w wiitthh yyoou u
Swartz serves ’s Delicate s Jewish culinasren & Bagels (and mo y class re).
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Western omelet (with onions, green peppers, brisket, and tomatoes), with a side of hashbrowns and toast MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 123 / BESTOFOMAHA.COM
// DINING | REVIEW //
FTER BEING OFFERED a third helping of matzo ball soup, Marilyn Monroe once famously quipped, “Isn’t there any other part of the matzo you can eat?” While the classic Jewish soup may not be everyone’s thing, when it’s done right—like it is at Swartz’s Delicatessen & Bagels in Omaha—it’s hard to turn down. I’d happily eat a bowl of the restaurant’s matzo ball soup any day. Swartz’s house-made matzo balls (round, bread-like dumplings) have just the right texture: not too dense, not too soft. The broth is just as good. It gets its deep, savory flavor from a whole chicken boiled with carrots, onions, and celery. The mixture is strained, leaving a clear, aromatic broth that’s light yet flavorful. It’s that extra effort, along with quality ingredients and time-honored recipes, that makes the dish a menu highlight. Swartz’s Delicatessen owner Shervin Ansari calls the soup “Jewish penicillin” for its ability to cure whatever ails you. Since opening in fall 2016, the restaurant has become a popular spot to savor not only
soup—in addition to matzo ball, there’s chicken noodle and chicken with rice—but other Jewish deli staples such as pastrami on rye, bagels with cream cheese and lox, potato latkes, knishes, and more. Ansari grew up in Maryland, graduated from Washington University in St. Louis, and later owned a deli on the East Coast. He moved to Omaha and spent 15 years working as an executive at Kiewit Corp. After noticing a lack of traditional Jewish deli fare in the city, he opened his own place in Countryside Village at 87th and Pacific streets. Business is strong, and the restaurant is already slated to expand. Ansari plans to open two additional locations in Dundee and Aksarben Village by late 2018/ early 2019. In true Jewish deli fashion, the menu includes heaping sandwiches stuffed with corned beef, pastrami, and other meats prepared in-house. Most are offered in three sizes: JV (small), regular, and piled high. Highlights include corned beef on rye that, when ordered Reubenized, comes grilled
Avocado burger with side of coleslaw and pickles
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with tangy kraut, melted Swiss, and a slathering of sauce. Also good is the pastrami sandwich with chopped liver: a generous stack of lean, thinly sliced pastrami and a rich, smooth spread made with beef and chicken liver. The deli uses fresh bread from Rotella's bakery in Omaha (except the light rye, which is imported from back East). Bagels are shipped from New York and then baked in-house. Deli salads, including egg, tuna, chicken, and whitefish, are made fresh each day. Meat sourced from Nebraska and Iowa farms is cured, smoked, and cooked inhouse. “There’s no preservatives, no nitrates,” Ansari says. “It really makes a big difference.” Prices are higher than a typical sandwich shop, but portions are generous, and the food is made in small batches using fresh ingredients, Ansari says. Guests order and pay at the counter, and there are a few stools with a view of the kitchen. The dining area is stylish and inviting, with black-and-white flooring, globe light fixtures, subway tile, spacious booths, and tables with Frenchstyle bistro chairs.
Like many Jewish delis, Swartz’s isn’t fully kosher but does offer some kosher items. Customers can order kosher sandwiches, which the staff prepare using designated cutting boards and separate knives. The kitchen knows its way around Jewish comfort food classics such as potato latkes and sweet noodle kugel. And there are modern touches, too, including more healthful options, brunch specialties, and online ordering. Option A
The deli case up front is loaded with brisket, lox (cured salmon), potato and spinach knishes, assorted salads, and other specialties. But save room for dessert. A big slice of carrot cake—ultra-moist layers full of warm spices, nuts, and cream cheese frosting—is the perfect sweet finish.
Left Chest 100% Options 7-31-13
Visit swartzsdeli.com for more information.
STOP IN FOR HAPPY HOUR SPECIALS
SWARTZ’S DELICATESSEN & BAGELS 8718 PACIFIC ST. | 402.905.2792 FOOD SERVICE Option B AMBIANCE PRICE OVERALL
“Just a Wink from the Link” 501 N. 13th St. | 402.346.9116 Option C www.themattomaha.com
$$ 5 STARS POSSIBLE
WINE THERAPY THURSDAYS
$10 BOTTLES OF WINE ALL DAY LONG
• Food & Drink Specials Daily • 38 Big Screen TV’s • Great Food & Customer Service 18 0 th & P a c i f i c / 2 0 2 nd & M a p l e Thegoodlifeomaha.com
SWARTZ’S DELICATESSEN OWNER SHERVIN ANSARI CALLS MATZO BALL SOUP “JEWISH PENICILLIN” FOR ITS ABILITY TO CURE WHATEVER AILS YOU.
SUNDAY BRUNCH 10AM-2PM
BLOODIES & BOTTOMLESS MIMOSAS /beyondgolf for more information
120th & Giles | beyondgolfomaha.com
AMERICAN BEYOND GOLF BAR & KITCHEN - $
402.916.4PAR 12040 McDermott Plaza Stop in to Beyond Golf Bar & Kitchen for a craft cocktail or local brew. Our kitchen features fresh innovative food made from scratch daily. We offer gourmet salads, smoked brisket, and flatbreads on your choice of bread or lavosh. Specials are served daily including Sunday brunch. Visit beyondgolfomaha.com to view our menu or for information on our party room. beyondgolfomaha.com
DJ’S DUGOUT - $
636 N. 114th St. (402.498.8855) 1003 Capitol Ave. (402.763.9974) 10308 S. 23rd St. (402.292.9096) 2102 S. 67th St. (402.933.3533) 180th & Q St. (402.292.9096) Hwy 75 & Oak Hill Rd. (402.298.4166) Catch all of the action at six Omaha-area locations. Featuring burgers, sandwiches, wraps, salads, appetizers, and an impressive drink menu along with HD TVs and projectors. Home to Blazin’ Pianos, Omaha’s only dueling piano concept. djsdugout.com
- Sponsored Content -
7814 Dodge St. (402.399.8300) 1101 Harney St. in the Old Market (402.614.9333) Jams is an Omaha restaurant legacy. An American Grill that offers a melting pot of different styles and varieties of food dishes made with high-quality ingredients that pair well with award-winning wines or creative cocktails. jamseats.com
Get Get aaGet Little Little a Little Saucy. Saucy. Saucy.
LE PEEP - $
177th & Center St. (402.934.9914) 156th & W. Dodge Rd. (402.408.1728) 120th & Blondo St. (402.991.8222) Le Peep puts a wholesome perspective on your favorite neighborhood breakfast and lunch spot. Fresh. Simple. Elegant. Inviting. We put the emphasis on people, both patrons and staff. We focus on providing each of our guests the fresh food and friendly service that they have come to expect. Open daily 6:30am-2pm. lepeepomaha.com
LO-LO’S CHICKEN & WAFFLES - $
402.991.9400 7051 Ames Ave. What came first: the chicken or the waffle? Lo-Lo’s Chicken and Waffles has the juiciest, most flavorful fried chicken and the fluffiest, melt-in- your-mouth waffles, which has created an underground soul food revolution–one that’s slowly spreading downright deliciousness across the country. loloschickenandwaffles.com
SPEZIA SPECIALTIES SPEZIA SPECIALTIES
FRESH SEAFOOD BEEF FRESH SEAFOOD••ANGUS ANGUS BEEF
INNOVATIVE PASTA • • RISOTTO INNOVATIVE PASTA RISOTTO FRESH SEAFOOD . ANGUS . INNOVATIVE PASTA . RISOTTO GNOCCHI • FRESH SALMON DAILY. GNOCCHI FRESH SALMON DAILY GNOCCHI • FRESH SALMON DAILY
SATURDAY LUNCH SATURDAY [11am–4 pm] LUNCH [11am-4pm]
SATURDAY LUNCH [11am–4 pm]
1/2 Price Cocktails COCKTAIL HOUR Daily 4-6 pm
OFF ANY TICKET OVER $25 NOCASH CASH VALUE. VALUE.EXPIRES EXPIRES12/31/2011 4/30/18 NO
MONDAY – SATURDAY Brunch 11-2 4 – 6 Sunday PM COCKTAIL HOUR ALL COCK TAILS, GL ASS WINE Bottomless Mimosas and MONDAY – SATURDAY AND BEERS ARE HALF PRICE
4 – 6 PM ALL COCK TAILS, GL ASS WINE Catering Private Party Rooms Walk-Ins Welcome CALL FOR 12/31/2011 RESERVATIONS • 402-391-2950 NO CASH VALUE. EXPIRES AND BEERS ARE HALF PRICE
OFF ANY TICKET OVER $25
MY PIE - $$
402.763.4900 2085 N. 120th St. Got six people with six different tastes in pizza, including red sauce vs. garlic sauce? My Pie creates custom pizzas from the sauce up, so everyone can eat what they want. Their housemade pies come in every variety from Pear-fect (pear and Gorgonzola) to Very Vegan (vegan cheese and vegetables). Craving a New York ‘Roni? My Pie has that, too. pizzayourway.com
STELLA’S - $
402.291.6088 106 S. Galvin Rd., Bellevue Since 1936, we’ve been making our Stella’s world-famous hamburgers the same way. The family secrets have been handed down to each owner, ensuring that your burger is the same as the one you fell in love with the first time you ever tried Stella’s. And if it’s your first time, we know you’ll be back! Mon.–Sat. 11am–9pm., Sun. closed. stellasbarandgrill.com
3125 South 72nd Street
CENTRAL LOCATION • 3125 SOUTH 72ND STREET • EASY ACCESS OFF I-80 • 72ND STREET EXIT
(Easy access off I-80, take 72nd Street Exit)
CALL FOR RESERVATIONS 402-391-2950 402.391.2950 Call today to•make your reservation CENTRAL LOCATION • 3125 SOUTH 72ND STREET • EASY ACCESS OFF I-80 • 72ND STREET EXIT
MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 126 / OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM
DINING GUIDE LEGEND
$=$1-10 • $$=$10-20 • $$$=$20-30 • $$$$=$30+
The Art OF BAKING
FAMILY OWNED AND OPERATED SINCE 1921
MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 127 / BESTOFOMAHA.COM
Located “JUST A WINK FROM THE LINK” your pre-game headquarters for lunch, dinner or your next event! STIRNELLA - $$$
402.932.0444 3814 Farnam St., Omaha, NE 68131 Stirnella is a refined gastro-pub in the historic Blackstone District, located on 38th & Farnam. Featuring local produce, proteins, beer and spirits. The menu is influenced by local ingredients with dishes from all over the world. The bar program features beer, all local beers on tap, craft cocktails, and wine. stirnella.com
UPSTREAM BREWING COMPANY - $$
402.344.0200 514 S. 11th St. Upstream features an extensive menu of new American pub fare including appetizers, thin-crust pizzas, superb steaks featuring Omaha Steaks, fresh fish, pasta, salads, sandwiches, and a great children’s menu. Fresh, handcrafted beer and root beer on tap. Extensive wine list. Call ahead for group reservations or to be placed on our waiting list. Visit our classic, upscale poolroom located on the second level. upstreambrewing.com
ICE CREAM TED AND WALLY’S - $
501 N. 13th St / 402.346.9116 / theMattOmaha.com /theoldmattresfactoryomaha
402.341.5827 1120 Jackson St. Come experience the true taste of homemade ice cream in the Old Market. Since 1986, we’ve created gourmet ice cream flavors in small batches using rock salt and ice. We offer your favorites plus unique flavors like margarita, green tea, Guinness, and French toast. Special orders available. tedandwallys.com
Thanks for Voting Us
LA CASA PIZZARIA - $$
402.556.6464 45th & Leavenworth St. La Casa Pizzaria has been serving Omaha its legendary Neapolitanstyle pizza and pasta for 60 years now. We offer dine in, carryout, party facilities, catering, and now pizza shipments to the 48 contiguous states. Open Tues.- Sat. at 11am and Sun. at 4:30pm. lacasapizzaria.net
#1 BREAKFAST 10 YEARS in a Row!
LO SOLE MIO RISTORANTE ITALIANO - $$ Thank You, Thank You,
For Continually Voting For Us!
Serving Lunch & Dinner Mon-Sat 3001 S. 32nd Ave / Omaha, NE 402.345.5656
402.345.5656 3001 S. 32nd Ave. Located in the middle of a neighborhood, surrounded by charming homes. Everyone is greeted with homemade bread, a bowl of fresh tomatoes and basil, a bowl of oven-roasted garlic cloves, special-seasoned olive oil, and at night, a jug of Chianti! The menu includes a large variety of pasta, chicken, veal, seafood, and even a delicious New York steak. Traditional dishes such as lasagna, tortellini, and eggplant parmigiana are also available. Lunch also offers panini, salads, and one of the best pizzas in town. Patio seating, full bar, and a great wine list complete the atmosphere. No reservations, except for private rooms. losolemio.com
177th & Center • 934-9914 156th & Dodge • 408-1728 120th & Blondo • 991-8222 Drive-Thru Open (Center St. Only) Open Daily 6:30am-2:00pm Serving Breakfast & Lunch All Day!
DINING GUIDE LEGEND
7051 Ames Ave. 68104 | 402.991.9400 MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 128 / OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM
$=$1-10 • $$=$10-20 • $$$=$20-30 • $$$$=$30+
Omaha’s Premier Indoor Golf Facility, Bar + Kitchen SERVING DAILY SPECIALS INCLUDING: • Moscow Mule Monday • Tuesday Smoked Chicken Wings • Taco & Margarita Wednesday • Therapy Thursday Featuring $10 Bottles Of Select Wines
• Happy Hour Specials $1 Off All Beers And $3 Well Cocktails
402.916.4PAR(4727) beyondgolfomaha.com DIRECTLY OFF OF I-80 EXIT 442 12040 McDermot t Plaza LaVista, NE 68128
catering Lisa’s Radial Cafe 817 N 40th St, Omaha, NE 68131
pitch best of omaha
5021 UNDERWOOD AVE. 402-590-2625
17808 BURKE ST. 402-289-4096
Authentic German Restaurant
The Original Whiskey Steak
Locally Owned Since 1976
Homemade German Goulash with Spaetzle
Voted Best of Omaha 6 years in a row
Homemade bakery items include strudel, donuts & cakes 10 mins from Downtown Omaha 5180 Leavenworth 402.553.6774
2121 S. 73rd St.
MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 129 / BESTOFOMAHA.COM
PASTA AMORE - $$
402.391.2585 11027 Prairie Brook Rd. Pastas are made fresh daily, including tortellini, fettuccine, and capellini. Daily specials and menu items include a variety of fresh seafood and regional Italian dishes, such as linguini amore and calamari steak, penne Florentine, gnocchi, spaghetti puttanesca, and ossobuco. Filet mignon is also offered for those who appreciate nationally renowned Nebraska beef. To complement your dining experience, the restaurant offers a full bar and extensive wine list. Be sure to leave room for homemade desserts, like the tiramisu and cannoli. Lunch: 11am-2pm Dinner: 4:30pm Reservations recommended. pastaamore.com
PITCH - $$
402. 590.2625 5021 Underwood Ave. OpenTable Diners' Choice 2014 HotSpot Restaurants in America. Keeping up with the traditional way the first pizzas in Italy were made, our pizzas are cooked in a coal-fired oven. The menu also features seafood, handcut steak, housemade pastas, and a burger full of flavor! Our goal is to provide you with local, housemade, and imported ingredients. We offer a happy hour menu through the week. Our bar provides an array of in-house concoctions as well as your traditional libation. Our wine selection is well-thought and most impressive. You will enjoy Pitch! Mon. 3pm-10pm Tue.-Thu. 11am-10pm, Fri.-Sat. 11am-11pm, Sun. 3-10pm. pitchpizzeria.com
SPEZIA - $$$
Also, the filet is amazing!!
lunch Tues-Fri: 11AM-2PM Dinner Tues-Sat: 4:30PM-Close
(and don’t forget the cannolis!!!!)
Rockbrook Village (108th & Center) 402.391.2585 www.pastaamore.com
Meals to order prepared by Chef And owner Lillo Fascianella from Sicily. Specializing in seafood and pasta dishes.
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402.391.2950 3125 S. 72nd St. Choose Spezia for lunch or dinner, where you'll find a casual elegance that's perfect for business guests, get-togethers, or any special occasion. Exceptional food, wine, and service, with a delectable menu: fresh seafood, Certified Angus steaks, innovative pasta, risotto, gnocchi, cioppino, lamb, entrée salads, Mediterranean chicken, flatbreads, and fresh salmon daily. Enjoy a full bar, Italian and California wines, Anniversary/Lovers' Booth (call to reserve), private dining rooms, and wood-fired grill. Open Mon.-Sun. Cocktail hour: 4-6pm, when all cocktails, glass wine, and beers are half price. Evening reservations recommended. speziarestaurant.com
MEXICAN FERNANDO’S - $
7555 Pacific St. (402.339.8006) 380 N. 114th St. (402.330.5707) Featuring Sonoran-style cooking made fresh daily. Catering and party rooms also available. Mon.-Thu., 11am-10pm; Fri.-Sat., 11am-11pm; Sun., 4-9pm. fernandosomaha.com
JULIO’S - $
402.330.2110 2820 S. 123rd Ct. Local owned since 1977, Julio’s prides themselves on serving the finest Tex-Mex cuisine and offering top-notch customer service. Their loyal customers are the reason they have been around for nearly 40 years. They have an extensive menu that has both classic and innovative dishes—giving everyone the opportunity to find something they love. Salivating for Southwestern fare? They have tacos, tostadas, a dozen different enchiladas, and classic fajitas. And of course— NACHOS! julios.com
BIG GREEN Q is now serving Farm to Table Street Food in the Benson location.
1120 Jackson St. • 402.341.5827
DINING GUIDE LEGEND
6023 Maple St. • 402.551.4420
11 years in a row!
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$=$1-10 • $$=$10-20 • $$$=$20-30 • $$$$=$30+
6 OMAHA AREA LOCATIONS DOWNTOWN | 10th & Capitol | 402-763-9974 AKSARBEN VILLAGE | 67th & Center | 402-933-3533 MIRACLE HILLS | 114th & Dodge | 402-498-8855
MILLARD | 180th & Q | 402-933-8844 BELLEVUE | 23rd & Cornhusker | 402-292-9096 PLATTSMOUTH | Hwy 75 & Oak Hill | 402-298-4166
380 N 114th St 402.330.5707 7555 Pacific St 402.339.8006
1/11/18 2:35 PM
Bringing Italy to Omaha Since 1919
Take a Taste of Italy Home Today! Tues-Thurs: 8:30am-8pm Friday: 8:30am-8:30pm Saturday: 7:30am-8pm Sunday: 7:30am-6pm
Family Owned Since 1983 Family Owned Since 1983 Catering ~ Party Room Available CATERING / PARTY ROOM AVAILABLE Homemade, Fresh Food ~ Always HOMEMADE, FRESH FOOD, ALWAYS.
402.345.3438 621 Pacific St, Omaha NE orsibakery.com
3821 Center St. 402/346-1528
3821 Center St / 402.346.1528 GreekIslandsOmaha.com GreekIslandsOmaha.com MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 131 / BESTOFOMAHA.COM
LA MESA - $$
158th & W. Maple Rd. 156th & Q Sts.(402.763.2555) 110th St. & W. Maple Rd.(402.496.1101) Ft. Crook Rd. & Hwy 370 in Bellevue (402.733.8754) 84th St. & Tara Plaza in Papillion (402.593.0983) Lake Manawa Exit in Council Bluffs (712.256.2762) Enjoy awesome enchiladas, fabulous fajitas, seafood specialties, mouthwatering margaritas, and more at La Mesa! Come see why La Mesa has been voted Omaha’s No. 1 Mexican restaurant 13 years in a row! Sun.-Thu. 11am-10pm, Fri. & Sat. 11am-10:30pm. lamesaomaha.com
OJ'S CAFE - $$
402.451.3266 9201 N. 30th St. Next to the Mormon Bridge Family-owned for 41 years. All homemade food, including our signature enchilada dish, homemade salsa, and some of Omaha's best margaritas! Tue.-Fri. 11am-2pm, Sat. 2pm-9pm, Closed Sun.-Mon. ojscafe.com
MARGARITA'S MEXICAN RESTAURANT - $
402.393.7515 4915 S. 72nd St. Margarita's is a business with more than seven years in the food world. We offer authentic Mexican food where you can enjoy a nice moment with your family. margaritasmenu.com
ROMEO'S MEXICAN FOOD AND PIZZA - $
90th and Blondo (402.391.8870) 146th and W. Center Road (402.330.4160) 96th and L Streets (402.331.5656) Galvin and Avery Rds. - Bellevue (402.292.2028) 29th and Farnam Streets (402.346.1110) Romeo's is your friendly, family Mexican Food & Pizza restaurant! We take real pride in serving our guests generous portions of the freshest, most flavorful dishes made with the finest ingredients available. Zesty seasonings and the freshest ingredients combine to ensure the ultimate in flavor. Our savory taco meat is prepared every morning at each location. Make sure to try our chimichangas, they're the best in town! romeosomaha.com
SEAFOOD CHARLIE’S ON THE LAKE - $$
9201 N 30th (next to the Mormon Bridge) Omaha, NE
402.451.3266 / 11-2 reopen 4-9 Tues-Fri Winter hours: 11-2 lunch / Tues-Sat 4-8 / CLOSED Sun & Mon
402.894.9411 4150 S. 144th St. Charlie’s is the only fresh-fish-daily seafood restaurant in Omaha. Features a relaxed yet contemporary atmosphere that is fun for all ages. Besides fresh seafood, Charlie’s is the home of the James Bond-style martini (shaken, not stirred) in over 20 varieties in addition to over 60 wines. Mon.-Thu., 11am-10pm; Fri. 11am-11pm Sat., 4:30pm-11pm. charliesonthelake.net
SHUCKS FISH HOUSE & OYSTER BAR - $$
402.827.4376 1218 S 119th St. Award-winning, locally owned and operated. Very casual with good food that is reasonably priced. Featuring Po’ Boys, Poke Bowls, Fried Clam Strips, Shrimp and Calamari (thinnest breading in town). Plus Crab Cakes, house-made soups like Clam Chowda and Gumbo, and a wide selection of Salads and daily FRESH FISH specials. Mon.-Thu., 11am-9pm; Fri.-Sat 11am-10pm Sun., 12pm-8pm. shucksfishhouse.com
DINING GUIDE LEGEND
$=$1-10 • $$=$10-20 • $$$=$20-30 • $$$$=$30+ MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 132 / OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM
OMAHA’S ORIGINAL STEAKHOUSE
West Omaha's only champagne
▶ 7 days a week◀ Happy Hour M-F / Brunch SAT/SUN
• Proudly serving visitor & locals for 90 years. • Featured on CNN.com Best Meat Cities in America • Serving hand cut steaks, aged on premise and slow roasted prime rib with pride.
Best Of Omaha 12 Years Running
402.731.4774 www.johnnyscafe.com 27th & ‘L’ St., Kennedy Frwy, ‘L’ St. Exit 8 Minutes from Downtown Omaha.
WHERE GOOD FOOD AND GOOD SERVICE NEVER GO OUT OF STYLE.
Thanks to our customers for voting us the “Best Burger in Omaha” Stella’s Bar and Grill
“Serving World Famous Hamburgers since 1936” 106 Galvin Rd • Bellevue, NE • 402-291-6088 • Open Monday-Saturday, 11:00 am - 9:00 pm
Welcome to the family!
LOCALLY OWNED AND OPERATED 16920 Wright Plz, #118 / Omaha, NE 68130 (On the corner of 168th and West Center)
402.884.8966 MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 133 / BESTOFOMAHA.COM
STEAKS • CHOPS • SEAFOOD ITALIAN SPECIALTIES
7 private party rooms Seating up to 400 Lots of parking
CRESCENT MOON ALE HOUSE - $
1620 S. 10th Street
402.345.1708 3578 Farnam St. Founded in 1996, we’ve grown into Beer Corner USA with the additions of The Huber Haus German Beer Hall, Max and Joe’s Belgian Beer Tavern, and Beertopia, Omaha’s Ultimate Beer Store. With more than 60 beers on tap and Omaha’s best Reuben sandwich, we are a midtown beer lover’s destination. Hours: Mon.-Sat., 11am-2am. Kitchen hours: Mon.-Wed., 11am-1pm; Thu.-Sat. 11am-midnight. Closed Sun. beercornerusa.com
GERDA’S GERMAN RESTAURANT & BAKERY - $
i gl D unch &
402.991.9994 4702 S. 108th St. | Omaha, Nebraska @TiredTexanBBQ
GREEK ISLANDS - $
402.346.1528 3821 Center St. Greek cuisine with specials every day at reasonable prices. Well known for our gyro sandwiches and salads. We cater and can accommodate a party for 65 guests. Carry out and delivery available. Mon.-Thu., 11am-9pm; Fri.-Sat., 11am-10pm; Sun., 11am-7pm. greekislandsomaha.com
J.COCO - $$$
red i t
Q UE BE
AHA BAR M O
402.553.6774 5180 Leavenworth St. Omaha’s only authentic German restaurant, a little piece of Germany in the metro. Gerda herself makes homemade spaetzle, schnitzels, and rouladen. Fresh-made soups, red cabbage, sauerkraut, and dumplings are a few other treats. Stay for a dessert of Black Forest cake or grab fresh bakery for breakfast on your way out. Check hours at gerdasgermanrestaurant.com
402.884.2626 5203 Leavenworth St. The building that once housed a beloved neighborhood grocery has a new future. Built as a grocery back in 1925, it is now home to J. Coco. Our seasonal menus, rooted in tradition, showcase our natural ingredients. Local, organic, and sustainable when available. We feature craft bar tending, housemade desserts, and pastas. We celebrate the traditional with a modern twist. Lunch (Mon.-Fri. 11am-2pm). Dinner (Mon.-Sat. 5pm-close). jcocoomaha.com
LIBRARY PUB - $
402.571.6262 5142 N. 90th St. Omaha’s pre-eminent whisky pub! This bar boasts the Midwest’s largest whisky collection, spanning the globe and also features 40 rotating beers on tap. Their selection can satisfy any palate. They also offer private whisky tastings. thelibrarypubomaha.com.
O’CONNOR’S IRISH PUB - $
402.934.9790 1217 Howard St. Comfortable, relaxing atmosphere. Great before and after games. We offer pub style food—burgers, Reubens, daily specials, and homemade soups—as well as all the traditional Irish favorite libations: Guinness, Harp, and Irish whiskey. Grill hours: Mon.-Thu., 11am-10pm; Fri.-Sat., 11am-10pm. oconnorsomaha.com
Try Omaha’s Favorite Reuben! Omaha’s largest selection of craft beers.
3578 Farnam St • 402-345-1708 www.beercornerusa.com
O’Connor’s Irish Pub 1217 Howard St. • Omaha, NE 68102 402-934-9790 • oconnorsomaha.com MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 134 / OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM
DINING GUIDE LEGEND
$=$1-10 • $$=$10-20 • $$$=$20-30 • $$$$=$30+
With Free Glass of House Wine HAPPY HOUR M-F / SUNDAY BRUNCH
STEAKHOUSES CASCIO'S - $$
402.345.8313 1620 S. 10th St. Cascio's is Omaha's No. 1 steakhouse. We have been serving Omaha for 69 years. We feature steaks, chops, seafood, and Italian specialties. We have seven private party rooms, seating for up to 400 people, and plenty of parking. casciossteakhouse.com
THE DROVER RESTAURANT & LOUNGE - $$$
402.391.7440 2121 S. 73rd St. Famous for the original Whiskey Steak. Truly a one-of-a-kind Midwestern experience. Excellent food, wine, service, and value. Rare...and very well done. Lunch: Mon.–Fri. 11am– 2pm Cocktail Hour: 3-6pm. Dinner: nightly at 5pm. Reservations accepted. droverrestaurant.com
JERICO’S RESTAURANT - $$
402.496.0222 11732 W. Dodge Rd. Welcome to a local Omaha steakhouse consistently voted Best of Omaha for best prime rib. Since it opened in 1978, Jerico’s has been serving the finest hand-cut steaks, choice chicken, and fresh seafood in town. Known for it’s classic décor and old school manners, Jerico’s is not to be missed if you are looking for a true Nebraska steak experience. Private party room available and reservations are accepted. jericosomaha.com
JOHNNY'S CAFÉ - $$$
402.731.4774 4702 S. 27th St. Years of quality dining and hospitality make Johnny's Café a restaurant to remember. We serve only the finest beef the Midwest has to offer. Aged steaks and prime rib are the specialties, with homemade bread and pies to complete a meal. An excellent wine list adds to the enjoyment at one of Omaha's original restaurants. Hours: Mon.-Sat., 11am-2pm and 5pm-9:30pm. johnnyscafe.com
LOCALLY OWNED AND OPERATED 16920 Wright Plz, #118 / Omaha, NE 68130 A t t h e c o r n e r o f 1 6 8 t h a nd W e s t C e n t e r S T
2nd Annual OMA Tourism Awards
SAVE THE MAY
DATE 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM BEARDMORE EVENT CENTER 3730 RAYNOR PARKWAY, BELLEVUE NEBRASKA
STEAK & GRAPES - $
402.884.8966 16920 Wright Plaza #118 Steak & Grapes is obsessed with really, really good grapes, creative gourmet comfort food, and a funky, fun atmosphere to share them. We search all over the world to find you great wines. Many wines come from our relationships with smaller undiscovered vineyards, which offer a great value to our guests. Wine is supposed to be fun! We pour BIG and will open any bottle for our guests to try by the glass. When you taste a new varietal at Steak & Grapes, let us know how it changed your concept of what wine is supposed to be. Our gourmet comfort food is made fresh, using eco-friendly and local ingredients. As for the fun, we instigate it, but count on you to see it to fruition (literally through the fruit!) Mon.-Thu. 10am-10pm, Fri.-Sat. 10am-11pm, and Sun. 10am-9pm. (Join us for Sunday brunch!) steakandgrapesomaha.com
The OMA Tourism Awards will celebrate front line employees who go above and beyond to make the Omaha metro area a great tourism destination. Start thinking about someone you would like to nominate, and save the date to join us in congratulating the winners. Look for more details coming soon. BROUGHT TO YOU BY THESE PARTNER DESTINATIONS
DINING GUIDE LEGEND
$=$1-10 • $$=$10-20 • $$$=$20-30 • $$$$=$30+ MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 135 / BESTOFOMAHA.COM
plore, Come ex discover & unwind. The NEW Raptor Woodland Refuge at Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue
Sarpy County awaits with a wonderful mix of fun things to see and do this fall. Tour a museum or gallery. Spend a day at a family fun center. From great hotels, brewpubs and wineries to malls, specialty shops and theatres, Sarpy County is the perfect destination for your next getaway. To request the Official Sarpy County Visitor’s Guide or for a complete schedule of area events, call or visit us online today!
E ’S GUID
Y T N U O C Y SARP ICIA THE OFF
ISITOR L 2017 V
PIL LIO TA | PA | L A VIS | GR ET NA BE LL EV UE
GF N | SP RIN
FU T T IEL D | OF
402-332-5771 • GOSARPY.COM
B E L L E V U E | G R E T N A | L A V I S TA | PA P I L L I O N | S P R I N G F I E L D | O F F U T T A F B | O M A H A M E T R O
Through March 10 at Lied Lodge & Conference Center, 611 Arbor Ave., Nebraska City. Guests will learn how maple syrup is made and be able to sample sap straight from the tree as well as other popular syrups. The event will end with a campfire and fun tree crafts. Reservations should be made on the website prior to the event. 402-873-8717. —liedlodge.org
WINGS OVER THE PLATTE Through April 8 at Stuhr
Museum of the Prairie Pioneer, 3133 W. Hwy 34, Grand Island. Tour the only art exhibit dedicated to life on the prairie. The exhibit will feature artwork from Sally Jurgensmier. 308-385-5316. —stuhrmuseum.org
RODEO GRAND ISLAND
March 1-3 at Fonner Park, 700 E. Stolley Park Road, Grand Island. This Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association event features team roping, barrel racing, and Xtreme Bull Riding (Saturday). 308-382-4515. —heartlandeventscenter.com
GENE COON: FROM BEATRICE, NEBRASKA, TO STAR TREK AND BEYOND March 2-3 at Gage
March 9-11 at Lied Center for live music, giveaways, and food. 402-729-3000. Performing Arts, 301 N. 12th St., Lincoln. —fairburychamber.org This musical features songs from awardwinning artist Cyndi Lauper. The production LET IT BE March 20 at Lied Center for celebrates the joys of friendship and the Performing Arts, 301 N. 12th St., Lincoln. power of perspective. 402-472-4747. Relive some of the Beatles most March —liedcenter.org iconic moments in this international Broadway production. 402-472-4747. ST. PATRICK’S DAY CELEBRATION. March —liedcenter.org 14-17 in downtown O’Neill. Celebrate “The World's Largest Shamrock” with 7,000 friends AUDUBON’S NEBRASKA CRANE FESTIVAL in O’Neill. Festivities begin Wednesday with the March 22-25. Multiple locations, Kearney. Join Irish Walk of Fame and the painting of the town's the festivities as thousands of Sandhill cranes beloved shamrock. Other activities include “Getting migrate through Nebraska. Speakers include the Horse Green,” a free concert, music in pubs, Richard Beilfuss, president and CEO of the Irish dancers, and a Saturday parade. 402-336-2355. International Crane Foundation. 308-468-5282. —oneillchamber.com —ne.audubon.org
THE IRISH TENORS
March 16 at Lied Center for Performing Arts, 301 N. 12th St., Lincoln. This trio has played at Carnegie and Radio City Music halls, and now they are coming to the Lied Center. The Irish Tenors will perform classic Irish tunes with a live orchestra. 402-472-4747. —liedcenter.org
THE GRAND COMIC CON
ROY AND ROSEMARY
March 16 at Merryman Performing Arts Center, 225 W. 22nd St., Kearney. Roy and Rosemary have traveled the world playing the violin and piano, respectively. 308-627-2717. —kearneyconcerts.org
March 24 at Pinnacle Bank Arena, 400 Pinnacle Arena Drive, Lincoln. Guests will hear Lorde perform songs from her new album, Melodrama. 402-904-4444. —pinnaclebankarena.com
5k Walk/Run/Crawl March 17 at Chuckles Bar, 513 4th St., Fairbury. Come dressed up in leprechaun gear and sip on green adult beverages during the race. Stay for the post-race celebration and enjoy
County Museum, 101 N. Second St., Beatrice. Honor the career and life of TV writer and Nebraska native Gene Coon (with featured speaker, author David Gerrold). 402-228-1679. —gagecountymuseum.info
March 6 at Pinnacle 400 Pinnacle Arena Drive, can hear P!nk perform songs album, Beautiful Trauma. —pinnaclebankarena.com
March 23-24 at The Grand Theatre, 316 W. Third St., Grand Island. The opening ceremony for this event will be held at the historic Grand Theatre, with the majority of activities occurring at the Liederkranz Ballroom, located at 401 W. First St. in downtown Grand Island. 308-381-2667. —grandmovietheatre.com
March 31 at Heartland Events Center, 700 E. Stolley Park Road, Grand Island. Catch the ’80s band known for their timeless anthems and sing-along shows. 308-382-4515. —heartlandeventscenter.com
THE FIVB is hosting the inaugural event of the newly created Volleyball Nations League at Lincoln’s Bob Devaney Sports Center May 15-17, 2018. USA Volleyball takes on Italy, Poland, and Turkey in a round-robin tournament with two matches each day. Come cheer on Team USA. Tickets are available at huskers.com/usavolleyball.
Bank Arena, Lincoln. Fans from her new 402-904-4444.
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OMAHA MAGAZINE | EXPLORE
HUBBARD STREET DANCE CHICAGO April 3 at
Lied Center for Performing Arts, 301 N. 12th St., Lincoln. Hubbard Street Dance Chicago performances are infused with unparalleled creativity and innovation. The performance will feature dance inspired by jazz, modern, ballet, and theatrical styles. 402-472-4747. —liedcenter.org
BOLD . ELEGANT . ALLURING
Professional Jewelry Design, Creation and Repair 402.935.4367 . 3412 South 144 St. Omaha NE 68144
SHE KILLS MONSTERS
April 5-8 and 12-15 at Nebraska Wesleyan University’s Miller Theater, 2710 N. 48th St., Lincoln. After the death of her sister, Agnes must learn how to embrace her inner geek and warrior as she seeks refuge in Dungeons and Dragons. 402-465-2384. —nebrwesleyan.edu/theatre-tickets
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OMAHA MAGAZINE | EXPLORE!
EASTER WEEKEND March 26-27 at Arbor Day Farm,
2611 Arbor Ave., Nebraska City. Arbor Day Farm offers an Easter getaway that is sure to become a tradition for many families. The Easter Family Fun Package includes a stay at the Lied Lodge, a trip up the 50-foot tall tree house, and an Easter egg hunt. 402-873-8717. —arbordayfarm.org
IOWA DEER CLASSIC
March 2-4 at Iowa Events Center, 703 Third St., Des Moines. Hunters from far and wide are welcome to join the Iowa Deer Classic. This event features hunting seminars, exhibitors, archery tips, and much more. 319-232-0218. —iowadeerclassic.com
MONSTER JAM TRIPLE THREAT SERIES April 13-14
I-80 Exit 225, Amana. This three-day food fest includes cooking education, hands-on instruction, samplings, and special menu items and dinners at Amana Colonies food businesses. 319-622-7622. —amanacolonies.com
FESTIVAL OF CHEESE
ADAMS & COOLEY RAT PACK JAZZ
April 20-21 at Lied Center for Performing Arts, 301 N. 12th St., Lincoln. Coming from Broadway, five of the world’s leading illusionists perform together in this exciting and suspenseful production. 402-472-4747. —liedcenter.org
MOTORCYCLE SHOW & SWAP MEET
April 21-22 at AG Park, 822 15th St., Columbus. Ride for a good cause. The Star City Bikers Against Child Abuse will be on hand collecting donations. 605-545-3602. —columbusnebraskabikeshow.com
April 26 at Pinnacle Bank Arena, 400 Pinnacle Arena Drive, Lincoln. Enjoy Brad Paisley perform his new album as a part of his “Weekend Warrior Tour.” The concert will feature country music guests Dustin Lynch, Chase Bryant, and Lindsay Ell. 402-904-4444. —pinnaclebankarena.com
ARBOR DAY CELEBRATION
April 27-29 at Arbor Day Farm, 2611 Arbor Ave., Nebraska City. Celebrate this holiday where it all began at Arbor Day Farm. All across this 260-acre campus, opportunities abound to play, learn, taste, and shop, all in celebration of trees. 402-873-8717. —arbordayfarm.org
IOWA GRIDIRON GLORY: PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME EXHIBIT Through June at Putnam Museum, 1717 W. 12th St., Davenport. The largest traveling exhibition in the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s history, the 6,000-square-foot exhibit features hundreds of artifacts—many exhibited for the first time—from the Hall of Fame's collection, including a 500-square-foot area dedicated to the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers. 563-324-1933. —putnam.org
April 17-22 at Des Moines Civic Center, 221 Walnut St., Des Moines. Guests will see the classic story of Les Miserables performed with the musical’s most popular songs. The production will feature a new set inspired by Victor Hugo’s paintings. 515-246-2300. —desmoinesperformingarts.org
TAKE A BITE April 20-22 at the Amana Colonies,
at Pinnacle Bank Arena, 400 Pinnacle Arena Drive, Lincoln. Enjoy the thrill of watching monster truck drivers run over the dirt track at the arena and compete to win first prize. Meet the drivers and see the trucks up close on Saturday at the Pit Party. The Pit Party and main event require separate admission. 402-904-4444. —pinnaclebankarena.com April 15 at Wood River High School Theater 13800 W. Wood River Road, Wood River. Adams and Cooley will serenade audience members with classic jazz standards from Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Dean Martin, and more. 308-583-2606. —wrcommunityfoundation.com
MOMIX’S OPUS CACTUS
March 3 at Des Moines Civic Center, 221 Walnut St., Des Moines. Guests will see iconic landscapes associated with the American Southwest reimagined by illusionistic style dance. 515-246-2300. —desmoinesperformingarts.org
March 4 at Orpheum Theatre, 528 S. Pierce St., Sioux City. Enjoy an evening of Irish dance and music in this high-energy performance. This event welcomes all age groups. 712-244-5000. —tysoncenter.com
CHICAGO March 9-11 at Des Moines Civic Center,
221 Walnut St., Des Moines. See the awardwinning musical Chicago brought to life. Guests will see this musical performed with everyone’s favorite songs and dance routines. 515-246-2300. —desmoinesperformingarts.org
March 15 at Wells Fargo Arena, 233 Center St., Des Moines. See Miranda Lambert perform songs from her new album, The Weight Of These Wings, as a part of her “Livin’ Like Hippies Tour.” 515-564-8000. —iowaeventscenter.com
LITTLE BIG TOWN
March 24 at Tyson Events Center, 401 Gordon Drive, Sioux City. Guests will get to experience Little Big Town perform live as a part of their “The Breakers Tour.” 800-593-2228. —tysoncenter.com
CHILDSERVE’S BUBBLE BALL
April 7 at Iowa Events Center 703 Third St., Des Moines. See models walk the runway in Bubble Wrap fashion created by designers, artists, and creative professionals. Guests are welcome to enjoy a meal, music, and other surprises. 515-564-8000. —iowaeventscenter.com
FREESTYLE WRESTLING WORLD CUP
April 7-8 at Carver Hawkeye Arena, 1 Elliott Drive, Iowa City. Cheer on the best wrestling talent in the world as the top eight qualifying international dual teams step foot into Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Team USA will take on Georgia, Azerbaijan, Japan, Cuba, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Iran. 319-335-9431. —worldcupiowacity.com MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 139 / BESTOFOMAHA.COM
April 21 at Living History Farms, 11121 Hickman Road, Urbandale. A festival of all things cheese. Sign up for a 30-minute class exploring fondue or cheese boards. Advance ticket purchase suggested. 515-278-5286. —lhf.org
WEST SIDE STORY April 21-22 at Orpheum Theatre, 528 S. Pierce St., Sioux City. The Sioux City Symphony Orchestra will perform music from West Side Story. The performance will feature choreography with a digitally designed set. 712-244-5000. —orpheumlive.com
KANSAS ARLO GUTHRIE, FEATURING ABE AND SARAH LEE GUTHRIE. March 10 at Johnson County Community
College, 12345 College Blvd., Overland Park. Folk legend Arlo Guthrie is coming to Kansas with his children to present the “Re: Generations” tour. 913-469-4445. —jccc.edu
2018 NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT, FIRST AND SECOND ROUNDS March 15 and 17 at Intrust Bank Arena, 500 E. Waterman St, Wichita. Host Wichita State University welcomes teams competing in the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament. 855-755-7328.
KEGS ’N’ EGGS April 7 at Kansas City Renaissance
Festival, 633 N. 130th St. Bonner Springs. While sipping on craft beers at this adult-only event, guests can hunt for eggs and win prizes at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival grounds. 913-721-2110. —kegsneggskc.com
OMAHA MAGAZINE | EXPLORE!
MISSOURI RIGOLETTO March 3, 7, 9, and 11 at Kauffman Center
SPRING IN SARPY County means baseball. The Omaha Storm Chasers will celebrate their 50th season of Triple-A baseball in 2018 and will pay homage to its past throughout the season. Including the long-awaited return of the Kansas City Royals for an exhibition against the Storm Chasers at Sarpy County’s Werner Park at 6:05 p.m. March 26. It will be the first visit by the Royals since 2000. SPONSORED
for Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway Blvd., Kansas City. Be prepared to shed a tear at Verdi’s masterpiece tale. Sung in Italian with English subtitles. 816-994-7222. —kauffmancenter.org
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC LIVE—CHRISTINA MITTERMEIER: STANDING AT THE WATER’S EDGE. March 6 at Kauffman Center for Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway Blvd., Kansas City. Christina Mittermeier, National Geographic photographer, will show photos illustrating the connection between bodies of water and indigenous people groups. 816-994-7222. —kauffmancenter.org
BIG 12 MEN’S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT
March 7-10 at Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City. March Madness comes to the Midwest. Watch the best of the Big 12 face off as the race to the Final Four begins. 816-949-7100. —sprintcenterboxoffice.com
LADY BE GOOD—CELEBRATING WOMEN IN JAZZ
March 9 at Kauffman Center for Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway Blvd., Kansas City. The program will highlight great female practitioners of jazz, with special guests. 816-994-7222. —kauffmancenter.org
March 19 at Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City. Spend An Evening With the Eagles with this classic rock group on their latest tour. 816-949-7100. —sprintcenterboxoffice.com
2018 NCAA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL REGIONAL March 23 and 25 at Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City. Cheer on your preferred team during March Madness. The winner of this tournament will advance to the Final Four. 816-949-7100. —sprintcenterboxoffice.com
DISNEY ON ICE: DARE TO DREAM March 28-April
1 at Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City. Celebrate what’s possible as the adventures of five daring Disney heroines spark the courage inside everyone. Moana, Anna, Elsa, Rapunzel, Belle, and Cinderella make their wishes come true, with some help from their friends. 816-949-7100. —sprintcenterboxoffice.com
SCREENLAND AT THE SYMPHONY: BACK TO THE FUTURE April 20 and 21 at Kauffman Center for
Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway Blvd., Kansas City. See this ’80s classic film projected on a large screen and the score performed with a live symphony. 816-994-7222. —kauffmancenter.org
Event times and details may change. Check with venue or event organizer to confirm. MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 140 / OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM
OMAHA MAGAZINE | INSTAGRAM
#OMAHAMAGAZINE SHARE YOUR PHOTOS OF OMAHA TO BE FEATURED HERE.
MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 141 / BESTOFOMAHA.COM
NOT FUNNY // COLUMN BY OTIS TWELVE // PHOTOGRAPH BY BILL SITZMANN
REMEMBER THE MAINE!
EMEMBER THE MAINE?
Press baron and Citizen Kane archetype William Randolph Hearst told us to do just that in 1898, but most have forgotten these days because we have so many other things to remember, like our Amazon Prime password and debit card pin number, let alone where we parked the car in the shopping mall parking lot. In our defense, we do still remember Pearl Harbor and some of us even “remember the kind of September,” though revivals of The Fantasticks do seem to be thankfully decreasing in frequency. Anyway, here’s a refresher. The USS Maine, an obsolete, poorly designed battleship, plagued by cost overruns during its construction—there is nothing new about military budget waste—sailed into Havana harbor to “show the flag.” That is, America wanted to show a little newfound muscle towards Spain, the last colonial power besides us left in the Western Hemisphere. Well, our “muscle” sat there in the harbor for a couple of weeks until, tragically, it blew up along with 200 of its sailors. Immediately the American newspapers put forth the story that the Spaniards had treacherously used a mine to destroy the ship. Hence the headlines: “Remember the Maine!”
A nifty little war ensued. In short order, Commodore George Dewey sailed into Manila and sank the Spanish Pacific fleet, and Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, in support of the African-American 10th Cavalry, charged up San Juan Hill in Cuba. (Teddy got all the press, of course.) Cuba was independent pending the later outcome of Michael Corleone’s casino scheme with Hyman Roth, and the Philippines, freed of its old Spanish overlords, were then happy to be governed by new American overlords. “Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.” Sorry, I can never resist tossing in a quote from Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr. It’s my thing. Stick with me, I know where I’m going.
Which brings me to my point—I know, finally, right?—a magazine. Happy milestone to Omaha Magazine. This issue marks the completion of 35 volumes in print. Has this magazine changed the world? Maybe it has, a little here, a little there. Change does occur when facts and inspiration can join forces. Thirty-five volumes highlighting the people, places, issues, and interests of our community; giving writers, journalists, artists, and leaders a forum where they can share and inform; giving our city and region a chance to look clearly at our triumphs and tribulations.
“PLUS ÇA CHANGE, PLUS C'EST LA MÊME CHOSE” (TRANSLATION: “THE MORE THINGS CHANGE, THE MORE THEY STAY THE SAME”). So—“Remember the Maine”—remember? Well, the thing is, it wasn’t blown up by a mine at all. Most experts now agree that the cause of the fateful explosion was a fire in a coal bunker. Yes, our old friend coal. It was big in 1898. Sure glad we’ve moved on from the stuff here in the “modern” world. The slowly growing fire in one of the battleship’s coal bunkers eventually ignited the ship’s powder stores. Boom! War! History! And where do you keep the powder, and ammunition for a big ship’s guns? According to Merriam-Webster, you keep that stuff in a “magazine.” In this case, a magazine that changed the course of a nation.
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So, here’s to more explosions of art and ideas. Here’s to Omaha Magazine. Otis Twelve hosts the radio program Early Morning Classics with Otis Twelve on 90.7 KVNO, weekday mornings from 5-9 a.m. Visit kvno.org for more information.
MARCH // APRIL • 2018 / 143 / BESTOFOMAHA.COM
A N E W L O CA L WAY t o T i c ke t Yo u r Eve n t
1441 N 11th St. Omaha, NE 68102 MARCH: Intro to Woodworking March 10th Woodworking 201 March 17th APRIL: Intro to Woodworking April 14th
A Decade of Table GraceMinistries
St. Thomas Lutheran Church Mar 9th, 2018 at 5:30 PM A fundraiser and dinner to support Table Grace Ministries speakers, and so much more!
The Conjure Shop
809 S 75th St. Omaha, NE 68114 March 6th through March 9th Conjurmen Hoodo of The Root of the Bones Spiritual Society of New Orleans Teaching will be offering classes and readings.
More events coming to Local Stubs, Omahaâ€™s destination to support local events. > Localstubs.com Please join the Omaha Magazine eventâ€™s newsletter to discover what is happening in the community.
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