The Gateway March 1, 2023 Vol. 23 Iss. 3

Page 1

March 1, 2023 Volume 23 Issue 3

pg.4 News Sports pg.7 Opinion pg.12
“I make art because it’s a complusion for me. If I don’t do it, my hands get restless, it’s like an itch.”
-Laine Knowles Culture pg.16

‘Inside-Out’ Writing Course Breaks Down Divide for Incarcerated Students

Thanks to an internship with RISE and opportunities through UNO, senior Maeve Hemmer already knew what the inside of a prison looked like when she signed up to take a class at the Omaha Correctional Center (OCC). Despite her previous work, the class was still an eye-opening experience for Hemmer.

“It was different in the sense that we were classmates,” Hemmer said. “It wasn’t like a volunteer and someone receiving volunteer services. We were all learning together.”

Last semester, English professor Dustin Pendley taught Reading and Writing about American Prisons, UNO’s first ever “insideout” course. Inside-out classes bring together traditional university students and incarcerated students in the same classroom.

“The purpose of inside-out classes is to break down difference and have a dialogue across the divide between incarceration and the not incarcerated,” Pendley said.

The program started at Temple University in Philadelphia and has been replicated across the country and internationally. Peru State was the first school in Nebraska to offer inside-out courses at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution.

Pendley and other instructors have taught incarcerated students at OCC since UNO began the TRAC program in 2017, but last fall was the first time students were brought in from outside of the prison.

Eight “inside” students and eight “outside” students discussed creative nonfiction works written by incarcerated writers. In contrast to mostly theory-based on-campus classes, Hemmer said the inside-out class gave her the opportunity to hear from people with “lived experience,” some of whom have been incarcerated for more than 15 years. While the outside students greatly valued the

perspective of the inside students, Pendley said it was important that they all saw each other as equals in their discussions.

“A danger that can happen in an inside-out class is that the inside students can become the subject matter, and that’s not the goal here,” Pendley said. “There’s a real equality to the class and everyone has the same value.”

“There wasn’t anybody coming in as an expert,” Hemmer said. “Certainly some people had more experience on some things, but that wasn’t what the focus was.”

To promote that sense of equality, Pendley had the seating chart alternate between inside and outside students and small group discussions were split evenly. Pendley said he restricted all of the students to using only their first names, because incarcerated people are often only

referred to by a number, or their last name if they’re lucky.

“It’s a really dehumanizing environment,” Pendley said of incarceration. “So a lot of the inside students really reflected on how humanizing [the class] was and how great the connections were.”

Classes held in prison have a lot of hurdles that students may take for granted. The class didn’t utilize Canvas since it would only be available for the outside students, and Pendley said most of the inside students’ assignments were handwritten because OCC has only a few typewriters for hundreds of inmates to share.

Pendley said they’re always “at the mercy of

Traditional students and incarcerated students came together to write plays and put together a newspaper for UNO’s first “inside-out” course.

Gateway to Success: Jessica Wade makes a name for herself at the Omaha World-Herald

Jessica Wade speaks with a sweet, yet powerful voice that oozes confidence. She expressed her excitement in a recent Gateway interview when we asked to highlight her journalistic accomplisments.

Wade is currently a reporter at the Omaha World-Herald, where she mainly covers city government and city issues. She is one of the many talented alumni of The Gateway, of which she was the editor-in-chief from 2018 to 2019.

“I started as a contributor my sophomore year, mostly contributing to the opinion section and occasionally dabbling in news,” Wade said. “Then, I became the editor of the opinion section for a year to finally become the editor-in-chief my senior year”.

Wade fondly described being a part of The Gateway as “the best part of college.” She cites the newspaper as being a great source to get real life experience with journalism and the long lasting connections she made within the program.

Like a majority of college students. She entered UNO with an open mind and no set major.

“I wasn’t really positive on what I wanted to do,” Wade said. “I was really into writing and journalism in high school, but I was afraid to major in it in college.”

Wade was afraid that it was going to be really hard to get a job, but was quickly proven wrong after she joined The Gateway.

“I started meeting people like Josie Loza and Chris Burbach and people who were actual real-life reporters and I was like, ‘oh, this is actually an option for me, people actually can do this for a living,” Wade said.

She cites Loza and Burbach as mentors who influenced her writing, with Loza’s helpful nature of advocating for students and Burbach’s ability to give helpful career advice.

Wade expressed disbelief that she is able to enjoy her job as much as she does, sharing how much she loves her career. Anyone could tell just by hearing her voice how passionate she is about writing.

Wade got her start in the Omaha World-Herald as an intern the summer she graduated college, covering mostly breaking news and crime. At that point, they had an opening for a job in which she’d write a combination of breaking news and online editing, and she’s been there ever since.

“I am actually kind of proud of how I’ve grown as a journalist, from the time starting at The Gateway, to time as a breaking news intern reporter, to what I do now, which is city issues,” Wade said.

She described how getting into journalism full time in 2020 pushed her into pretty big stories that helped her grow as a writer.

Being a journalist is a hard job with factors like burn out and constant heavy material to write about.

“I like that it’s something new everyday and it keeps me on my toes, and it’s exciting,” Wade said. “I’m not trapped at a desk and I’m constantly getting to learn about different topics and meet different people on the part of it too. I really do feel like local journalism is an important pillar of democracy, so I feel people need to understand the reality they live in and local journalism is really a tool for that. I want to help people make informed

Gateway to Success is a series focused on Gateway alumni and their journey from campus to career. PHOTO COURTESY OF JESSICA WADE

Gateway to Success: Celebrating the Legacy of Rudy Smith, a Pionner in Civic Journalism

Rudy Smith was born in the broom closet of a whites-only hospital. He died in a city that he helped desegregate.

If one were to craft a Nativity story for pre-civil rights America, it might look strikingly similar to the circumstances of Smith’s birth. His mother had fled Jim Crow in Georgia for Philadelphia in the North, itself plagued with racism. The hospital she came to after going into labor, its own twisted Bethlehem, rejected her for the color of her skin. Unable to leave the building in time, let alone make it to a hospital that would treat her, she was forced to give birth to the celebrated photojournalist and civil rights activist in a closet — a birthplace as humble as Jesus’ manger.

Smith, a lifelong Baptist and eventual deacon at Salem Baptist Church, might have distanced himself from the messianic comparison, yet his life was one of wholehearted service and continual broken ground for Omaha’s Black community.

Smith experienced racial oppression from the literal moment he was born. Thirteen years later, after his family moved to Omaha, his desire to fight that oppression was ignited when he heard Martin Luther King Jr. speak in person. Smith’s activism blossomed from the seed that had been watered that day and planted at his birth. He joined Omaha’s NAACP Youth Council, and before long became the youth director of a seven-state area. Smith was also active in protests with the 4CL (Citizen’s Civic Committee for Civil Liberties). One such protest concerned the Omaha World Herald’s racist coverage and tokenistic hiring practices.

In response, the paper’s production manager encouraged Smith to apply for a job, and the 18-year-old high school senior was soon hired.

He worked in various non-reporting roles at the World-Herald until a higher-up asked him if he knew anything about cameras. He responded in the affirmative, and was given a position as a photographer.

“He hardly knew what a camera looked like,” Smith’s wife Llana said in an interview with New Horizons. Regardless, he quickly taught himself the trade while working as a darkroom technician. This confident moment proved to be one of the best decisions of his life — he stayed at the World-Herald until his retirement. He was the paper’s first Black journalist.

Smith was also the first Black graduate of UNO’s School of Communication. He was incredibly active throughout his time at the university, continuing to work with the NAACP, writing for The Gateway, becoming a student senator, and co-founding SCOPE (Student Community Organization for Public Efforts).

SCOPE was originally aimed at supporting the merger of Omaha University into the University of Nebraska system, and was also the university’s only mixed-race organization at the time. In North Omaha, the group helped organize Robert Kennedy’s 1968 campaign for the


Gateway to Success is a series focused on Gateway alumni and their journey from campus to career. PHOTO BY ANDREW SMITH


the facility,” which makes bringing in outside materials complicated. He had to email someone at the prison to print off any documents he needed, and he wouldn’t have any handouts if that person were sick that day.

The students’ final project was to write either a play or a newspaper in groups of four. Outside student and former Gateway editor-in-chief Molly Ashford used her experience as a journalist to put together the “inJustice Report,” featuring pieces written by her group members as well as an article from the Flatwater Free Press,

which allows other outlets to republish their stories.

Inside student Ben wrote an article covering a volleyball game at the prison, and Pendley said Ben has some other writing that may get published soon.

“[Ben’s article] is like Hunter S. Thompson, it’s got some gonzo journalism to it,” Pendley said. “He’s really talented.”

Hemmer’s group wrote “As Time Goes On,” a play about Gary, an inside student who’s been incarcerated for decades. Unfortunately for the production but

fortunate for Gary, he missed the performance because he was promoted to work release before the last week of class. Another inside student, David, stepped in to play the part.

“We thought, ‘Dang, the star of our play isn’t going to be at our play,” Hemmer said. “But of course everyone was happy for him.”

Pendley is teaching the course again this semester, and he said there is interest in future inside-out courses in programs like history, theater and Black studies.



Climb A Unique Workout Experience At UNO’s H&K Building . .

The muscles in your arms grow fatigued as you dangle precariously off the wall while trying to figure out the next best move. Your left hand is gripping onto a rock far above your head, and your right hand is pressing off a round rock to your other side. A pause is needed as you listen to K’lena Schnack, a student rock wall worker and the creator of women’s plus climb night, explain to you the rocks that you can shift to. Shouts of encouragement encompass the gym from the other girls and people who are watching you progress up the wall. You take a deep breath and move your right hand forward.

The UNO climbing wall, located in the Health & Kinesiology Wellness Center, is a place where you can go for a unique workout. Recently, Schnack introduced a women’s plus climb night so that it might create a safe space for new climbers to feel at ease.

“The women’s plus climb night welcomes people that might not identify on the gender binary that our society has. So, if someone wants to climb that’s nonbinary, or identifies with a gender that faces discrimination or that is underrepresented, we try to make sure they’re included in that space as well, because rock climbing is mostly male dominated,”

Schnack pitched the idea of women’s plus climb night to Joel Bauch, the Associate Director of Programs and Services at Campus Recreation and Wellness and OVC Coordinator, and they started it at the beginning of the 2023 spring semester.

“I believe it is a beneficial program,” Bauch said. “The idea is to create a welcoming space for women, and those who identify as women, to participate in climbing free of male influences on the scene. These folks may enjoy climbing in the women+ environment and may continue to come for that experience. Some patrons may be building skills and confidence in climbing and will transition to using the climbing wall during normal operational hours. Either way, the Outdoor Venture Center (OVC) is committed to creating a space and time to encourage a wider diversity of climbing wall users.”

Schnack noticed from the start of her time at the wall the stark difference in male and female attendance and wanted to do something about it. According to Schnack, the ratio of women to men climbers is approximately 30 to 70.

“I started climbing back in September of 2021, and I was brought into climbing with a bunch of guys around me. I was taught by guys, learned how to belay--and all these other technical skills--by guys,” Schnack said. “So, when I started working at the rock wall, I noticed that we weren’t really investing in the women that we do have at the wall right now. We have a lot of female dedicated climbers, it’s just that we don’t invest our time in them, teach them technical skills, or have trained women available to teach them. I just really wanted to find a space to empower women. I’ve seen other gyms do that, and I felt like we had the space and the capacity to do that for the women at our wall.”

Having a safe space for people at women’s plus climb night is the bottom line. Many don’t

feel comfortable and need that extra boost of confidence being around other women and people that make them feel comfortable.

“Women have only been in recreational sports since our grandparents’ generation. So, I think it’s important for women to have a space to ourselves, because we want to be around other women who do it too. We also don’t want to be intimidated, or nervous, or have that pressure that surrounds the sexualization of women in sports. I want to be able to wear a sports bra and leggings at

OVC student employee, K’lena Schnack, creates a women’s plus climb night at the rock wall at H&K.


Glover impresses after slow start to freshman season

Omaha, Neb. – Coming into this season, Omaha head coach Chris Crutchfield expected freshman guard Ja’Sean Glover to play a large role on the team. After a slow start, the Minnesota native has found himself in the starting lineup.

Through the first two months of the season, Glover was only seeing the floor for about 11.4 minutes a night. Glover saw his breakout performance come on the road against Saint Thomas, where he scored 11 points. However, it was the work outside of practice and games that helped the freshman guard insert himself

into the starting lineup.

“He’s in here every morning at 8:30 and he’s working with Coach Brown just on shooting the basketball and ball handling,” said Coach Crutchfield on the work Glover has put in to be in the starting lineup. “Obviously his confidence has grown, that’s what happens when you put in the work. You make that investment in your game, your confidence, and we’re starting to see now a guy playing with tremendous confidence.”

Not only has Glover made an impression on the team with his play, but he has also done so with the level of energy he has brought. This

season, the Minnesota freshman has taken on the role of being an inspirational leader for the team. He has been the guy this season to bring the energy, and that personality trait rose to the top.

“He has always been a high energy guy,” said Coach Crutchfield. “He comes in with a smile on his face every day. So, I think it is contagious. Somebody takes on that identity in your locker room every year and it’s not anything that is being asked of him to do.”

Glover provides Omaha with a wide skill set that can be used in a variety of ways. This season, Coach Crutchfield has deployed him in a defensive first role where he has been expected to guard the other team’s best player, such as Max Abmas for Oral Roberts. Glover has proved the ability to score in bunches as he did against North Dakota State, where he scored 16 points.

That game against North Dakota State can truly be pinpointed as the turning point this season for the Minnesota native. Since that game, Glover has started every game and has been playing at least 28 minutes per game. Since making his first college start, Glover is averaging six points per game, five rebounds per game and is shooting 50% from behind the three-point line.

Prior to Omaha, Glover played high school basketball at Madelia High School in Minnesota. During his high school career, Glover was a three-sport athlete in Football, Basketball, and Cross Country. In his senior season, he averaged 30 points per game and finished 10th all-time on the state’s scoring list with 3,100 career points.

THE GATEWAY March 1, 2023 PAGE 7
PHOTO COURTESY OF OMAHA ATHLETICS Ja’Sean Glover, guard, dribbling the ball against Idaho.

Omaha Baseball sets goal of making the postseason

The Mavericks’ schedule this season will feature several top teams across the college baseball landscape. Omaha will start their season in California, where they will take on UCLA and Fresno State, and later this year, they will play Arkansas, Nebraska, and Creighton.

“Our philosophy as coaches when we’re scheduling is to try to schedule teams that we would want to play in the postseason,” said Omaha Head Coach Evan Porter. “The goal every year is to make the postseason. We get to play some top-25 teams this year and go to some great environments.”

Omaha’s schedule this season will start with a trip to California before they return home for their home opener against Kansas State on Feb. 28. Their schedule will feature five games against in-state rivals Creighton and Nebraska. The Mavericks will play three games against Creighton and two against Nebraska.

Another notable trip for Omaha will be when they travel to Provo, Utah, the first weekend of March to take on BYU. Following that contest, the Mavericks will return home, where they will host Stonehill and Valparaiso. Omaha will end March by hosting North Dakota State, their first Summit League series, and a midweek trip to take on Arkansas on March 28.

The Mavericks’ roster will also feature players up for the competition in third baseman Mike Boeve, and left-handed pitcher Caleb Riedel. Boeve is the reigning Summit League Player of the Year and is garnering draft buzz. Riedel is considered a player to watch for the Summit League Pitcher of the Year in 2023 and was named to the NCBWA preseason All-America third team.


the rock wall because I am hot, and because I’m working out,” Schnack said. “I don’t want to be fearful that someone’s going to stare at me or sexualize my body.”

The idea of a women’s plus climb night has encouraged many newcomers to the wall that may not have tried it out otherwise.

“I had only gone [rock climbing] one other time before, during break, but I am still pretty new to the sport. The women’s climb night

Caleb Riedel, pitcher, looks to build on a successful year one in Omaha.

“Caleb had a great year last year,” said Coach Porter. “A lot of times, guys get complacent with that and think it’s gonna come easy again, but he stayed here this summer and worked as hard as I’ve seen anyone work in the weight room, and just trying to better his game.”

Both players will play a key role for the Mavericks this season if they are to achieve their goal of only their second postseason appearance since becoming a Division I team. If the Mavericks are to make a postseason run, it will be under similar circumstances as 2019. That season, Omaha also featured one of the top hitters in the conference in Parker Smejkal and the Summit League Pitcher of the Year in Payton Kinney.

helped encourage me to continue going in an environment that felt safe and judgement free. While I go other days, I always look forward to Sundays because of it,” Jenna Mullendore said. The group meets every Sunday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Women’s plus climb night has created a safe space for people to come in and climb to their hearts content, creating memories and new relationships in the process.

“In order for us to see change at the rock wall and see that change of 30% women versus 70% men, we really need to invest in programs that are going to get women in our wall,” Schnack said. “They’re not going to come in if we just say, ‘come climb with us.’ We have to engage with them and provide opportunities for them. I think that is important in showing that we care about women at our wall. I think it’s important for women to see that other women want to support them and see them thrive.”


Mavericks secure home ice for NCHC quarterfinals after wins against Miami

Omaha’s successful season continued after the Mavericks swept the Miami Redhawks. With a 17-10-3 record, the Mavericks have locked themselves in to host a three-game series in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) quarterfinal round.

“That’s been our goal from day one: make a push for home ice advantage,” said Omaha forward Matt Miller earlier this season. “Home ice advantage and making it up to Saint Paul are two of our main goals this year. They are building blocks for our end goal.”

The Mavericks took care of the first step in that process with the sweep against Miami, picking up five crucial points that led to securing home ice. The second step in that process is qualifying

for the NCHC Frozen Faceoff tournament, something that the Mavericks have never done since the inception of the NCHC. Omaha is the only team in the conference to have never been to the tournament in Saint Paul.

With four games left to play in the regular season, the Mavericks are in third place in the conference standings, five points back from first place Denver and two points ahead of fourth place Saint Cloud State. With only two weeks left to play, the season is setting up for an exciting finish in the premier college hockey conference.

Omaha will play a season defining series against Saint Cloud State starting on Friday. During that same weekend, second place Western Michigan will be playing against Denver, another series that could have implications on where the Mavericks finish in the conference standings.

A reason behind the Mavericks’ success this season has been the play from their top line of Jack Randl, Ty Mueller and Matt Miller. Randl has

been the star of the team for Omaha. He has scored a team-high 17 goals and is playing at a point-per-game pace: 30 points in 30 games. Mueller and Miller rank second and fifth in points for the Mavericks, and the pair have combined for 22 goals and 46 total points.

The emergence of freshman goaltender Simon Latkoczy is another reason for Omaha’s success. The Slovak netminder has a record of 9-2-1 in his first season of college hockey. Latkoczy’s play down the stretch has been stellar, posting a save percentage of .935 and a goal against average of 1.77 on the season.

“It just keeps on getting better and better,” said Omaha head coach Simon Latkoczy’s play this season. “Simon’s got


THE GATEWAY March 1, 2023 PAGE 9
Mavericks celebrate after their overtime win against Miami Saturday. PHOTO COURTSY OF OMAHA ATHLETICS

Luedtke leads by example as lone senior with Mavericks

The Men’s Basketball team at Omaha has a unique roster composition, given the fact that the roster only carries one senior and five total upperclassmen. The only senior on the roster, Kyle Luedtke, has been a leader for the Mavericks this season.

It is no secret that Omaha has one of the younger rosters in the country. According to the Kenpom rankings, the Mavericks rank 352nd in the country in Division I experience. With the youth on the team, Luedtke has taken on a leadership role in the locker room. He learned to do the right thing from the seniors on the team his freshman season, and he chose to lead in similar fashion.

“Luckily, when I first came in, I had a bunch of great upperclassmen that taught me how to do the right thing every day,” said Luedtke. “Guys I still stay in touch with to this day, like Mitch Hahn and Zach Jackson. They just taught me the right thing to do every day, and what it takes to win at this level.”

When it comes to winning in the Summit League, Mitch Hahn and Zach Jackson are a pair who are worth listening to. Both players were on Omaha teams that were one game away from a Summit League tournament championship, and an NCAA tournament berth. Luedtke was a freshman on the team that fell to North Dakota State in the Summit League championship in 2019.

Given the younger roster for the Mavericks, Luedtke has made it a point to help his teammates however possible. He was one of the first players around the new coaching staff and has helped introduce them to college basketball. For him, it is about giving back to the younger guys on the team what was passed down to him when he was a freshman.

“We call him the vet on the team,” said Luedtke’s teammate, Ja’Sean Glover. “He’s been here, he’s been experienced, so whatever he says, we value. Whether it’s on the court, off the court, he’s been here longer than most of us have ever since Coach Crutch brought in this new team.”

Luedtke has appeared in 79 games and made six starts for the Mavericks, and has totaled 287

points with a career three-point percentage of 39% in four seasons. Prior to his time at UNO, Luedtke played high school basketball in Omaha at Creighton Prep. During his high school career, Luedtke was part of a Prep team that won backto-back district championships and the 2018 state championship squad that went 26-1.


decisions and to understand what’s going on in the world around them”.

She advocates for journalists to give therapy a try or take time to talk to fellow journalists about how certain material affected them.

“A lot of the reporters I work alongside every day are also fellow women and we’re getting the job done, and we’re killing it, so women rock!” Wade said.

She recommends if you interested in a job just apply for it. Wade says to not be afraid to stick up for yourself, no matter who is talking to you. Lastly, don’t take things personally. Sometimes sources are going to be difficult; that’s all a part of the job.

Kyle Luedtke, guard, in a game for Omaha. PHOTO COURTSY OF OMAHA ATHLETICS

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Copyright 2023. All rights reserved. No material here may be reproduced without the permission of the Editor-in-Chief.



Sara Meadows


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Mitchell Cutcher


Bella Watson


James Knowles


Anthony Johnson


Andrew Smith


Bergan Simmonds


Tanner Thorngren


Natalie Veloso


Josie Loza


Chris Burbach


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Jackson Piercy

MBSC H117 & J117

6203 University Dr N Omaha, NE 68182

THE GATEWAY March 1, 2023 PAGE 11

UNO Graduate Okina Tran Sparks Inspiration for Communications Students During Presentation

On Feb. 7, I had the pleasure of listening to a lecture by Okina Tran, a graduate from the University of Nebraska Omaha who now resides in New York City, working as an Account Executive at Small Girls Public Relations. During her presentation, Tran graciously shared insight into her career with students, and presented what she believes to be the key elements of media relations.

Okina Tran graduated in the spring semester of 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic was at its peak. During her undergraduate career, Tran was heavily involved with different extracurriculars, including collegiate organizations, internships and fellowships. Tran emphasized the importance of these experiences and how they helped launch her career.

SmallGirlPR, where Tran currently works, is an integrated public relations agency. This means that the agency focuses on inserting their clients into culture and big news, even when there isn’t. The company does this mainly through earned media. Earned media is any media that is produced naturally, rather than monetarily, via customers, social media and journalists. Examples of this — which SmallGirlsPR has successfully demonstrated — is to have a topic trending on Twitter, top launches in the app store, or answers to the NY Times crossword puzzle.

As an Account Executive at SmallGirlsPR, Tran has the opportunity to work for a wide range of companies and the ability to do something every day. She currently works on the Media Relations team for Make.AI, an artificial intelligence company, Care / OF, a personalized vitamin shop, and Papier, a stationary producer.

One of the most essential parts of Tran’s job is the creation and completion of Media Lists. A Media List, or a Press List, is a document that lists important media contacts that range from journalists, influencers, bloggers and more. The purpose of these lists is to provide an archive of individuals that an agency can pitch a story, feature or press release to. The list includes the contacts publication history, beats, information, title, and location.


The other aspect of her career that Tran emphasized was pitch writing. A pitch is a short personalized message to a journalist, blogger, editor, or reporter who proposes a story or feature idea and explains why it should be published. Working for a public relations agency, Tran spends a great deal of her time writing and sending media pitches to different contacts derived from Media Lists.


Chlorophyll is every plant lover’s dream

Hidden inside the Inner Rail at Aksarben is an oasis from the bleak and dreary effects of Nebraska’s harsh winter months. As you open the double doors, you are greeted by lively plants in every shade of green, growing in every direction. Plants line the entire store from the floor up to the ceiling. The walls are painted a deep slate gray, which have been adorned with gold hand-painted flowers. Chlorophyll is a first of its kind: an urban plant boutique whose mission is to bring the community together through nature.

“There are enough nurseries in Omaha,” said designer Nate Huse. “We don’t feel the need to add to that. We wanted to bring something

new to the community by being design oriented; we’re very custom.”

Unlike other businesses in the Omaha area, Chlorophyll is not a nursery where the plants are physically raised. Instead, the boutique focuses on importing indoor plants based on public demand, and works with individuals to design the display of their dreams. Nick Walker is an employee and plant designer at Chlorophyll, who said his favorite part of his job is selecting which plants are sold in the store.

“I love getting to order plants every week,” said Walker. “I am constantly ordering from different wholesales. New plants come every Monday and Wednesday, and I get to pick every one of them. I look for what’s

new in the industry, what’s big, or what’s trending on Instagram. I want to get the things people are interested in.”

The designers work closely with customers to ensure their needs are met and that they are knowledgeable about their purchase before leaving the store. Chlorophyll aims to emphasize the importance of nature in our everyday lives, as well as encourages a basic understanding of the botany in their store.

“We want to be more engaged with the customer,” said Huse. “We try to really push the science, learning, and excitement behind the plants. We hold classes, kids’ birthday parties, and different events.”

The business often holds classes that are featured


PHOTO COURTESY OFWENDY WEI FROM PEXELS Chlorophyl lets the shopper explore their wide variety of plants. The only rule: Don’t climb the ladder. PHOTO BY ANDREW SMITH

on their Instagram, such as terrarium building, plant potting and more. These classes are a great and easy way to not only learn something valuable, but also to meet others with similar interests and build community in the Omaha-Aksarben area. If classes aren’t your thing and you prefer something more private, the boutique invites community members to stop in with any questions they may have.

“Our goal is to make everyone feel like they can come in with any plant that they got anywhere,” said Walker. “Regardless of where you bought it, if you have questions about it, bring it in. Send your pictures, send us an email, we’re happy to help.”

Chlorophyll aims to be a center for engagement, learning and adventure. The business also hopes that they

can emphasize the health benefits of owning houseplants, while deconstructing some of the narratives that have been instilled involving plants and gardening.

“I give everyone permission to kill houseplants.” said Walker. “Don’t feel bad or discouraged for doing it. Think of it this way; if you bought yourself a bouquet of flowers, it would last, at the longest, a week. If you bought yourself a houseplant and it lasted six months, you’re already winning.”

As a business, Chlorophyll prides themselves on their uniqueness and individuality. Huse said the building has a moody atmosphere that is a stark contrast from the typical open concept and bright-white walls you often see associated with plant stores. The layout and design of the boutique are inspired by vintage barber shops in New York City and Parisian gold stores.

“We want customers to walk in and feel cozy,

like they’re at home,” said Huse.

Chlorophyll is every plant lover’s dream, and the welcoming ambiance invites in even the newest of botanists. The staff is eager to help anyone with any questions regarding plants, including the science behind their plant of choice, how to care for a plant they may already own, and offer design inspiration for those who may need it.

My fine dining experience in West Omaha

Beautifully laid brick adorns the bar that overlooks the dimly lit restaurant. Candles provide ambient lighting to the tables, which sit below walls embellished with contemporary artwork. Vintage and modern bottles of wine sit atop wall-mounted racks. Each and every detail of DOLCE has been carefully curated to bring an enchanting fine dining experience to Omaha, which is completely unique to anything else the city has seen.

Anthony Kueper, the owner and head chef of DOLCE, has carefully perfected his craft through years of education, training and experience. The masterchef has an impressive resume filled with various different culinary fields in several countries, but his beginnings were humble. Kueper was the child of a military family, so he spent a great deal of his youth uprooting and traveling across the world. Kueper first began cooking for his siblings in his adolescent years. His mother worked full time and his father was active duty military, so he was often responsible for feeding the family.

“I started cooking real meals for them after my sister, who is six years younger than me, tried to pour a can of water into Spahgettio’s like you would a can of condensed soup.” says Kueper. “Then, I decided to just start going through cookbooks and learning the recipes. My first ever cookbook was “The Joy of Cooking” by Irma Rombauer.”

Prior to moving to Omaha, Kueper lived in Colorado,


PHOTO COURTESY OFWENDY WEI FROM PEXELS The pink princess philodendron is highly sought after and sells up to $250.

where he worked at several restaurants. He first began as a line cook at a French restaurant to help put himself through college. Kueper soon started working directly below the chef, shadowing him and learning the technicalities of French culinary. This is where he first fell in love with the art of cooking and began building his arsenal of skills.

“I really began cooking and became a chef by accident,” says Kueper. “I was originally in school for business, but I wanted to play hockey professionally, until I had an injury that ended my career.”

After leaving school, Kueper continued to pursue his culinary career by working at the Ritz Carlton, where he was given the opportunity to work at different hotels across the country. While working for the hospitality industry, Kueper worked directly beneath chefs, learning different skills and techniques that he has continued to carry with him throughout his career. Once Keuper returned to Aspen after traveling with the Ritz Carlton, he met his wife, who he later moved to Germany with.

While working in Germany, Keuper helped his restaurant gain two Michelin Stars, which are awards given to establishments

that account for five different criterias, which are quality, the harmony of the flavors, the techniques used, the personality of the chef as expressed through their cuisine, and consistency. Receiving a Michelin Star is one of the highest honors a restaurant can receive. While living in Germany, he also took the time to study beneath chefs in Denmark. Kueper stated it was here where he learned a large number of his skills.

Kueper then began to travel the world, learning to cook from different chefs and cultures across the globe. He gained the majority of the inspiration — for what would later become his signature dishes — from Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine.

“My favorite country based on food is Japan,” says Kueper. “I could eat through it like Godzilla. Thailand is another great country to visit, they have the most amazing street food.”

Keuper and his wife later returned to Aspen and made the decision to dive head first into his career as a chef. He began to develop his own personal flare to cooking, and started to experiment with new ingredients. Keuper says he discovered his favorite way to cook, which is to take a very traditional cuisine, and then add his own personal touches.

“My career really took off in Aspen; It allowed me to explore new flavors, and really find

myself as a chef,” says Kueper.

In 2012, Keuper and his family moved to Omaha. After jumping around Omaha a bit, he found himself working at DOLCE as the sous chef in 2013. Only four years later, Keuper purchased the restaurant and became the sole owner. He began working to partner with more local producers and create a new and exciting menu. His favorite dishes to create and play with are variations of pasta-based dishes.

“If it goes in a bowl with noodles and a delicious broth or sauce, that’s my jam,” says Kueper.

Today, Keuper has transformed DOLCE into the perfectly curated date-night spot. The restaurant displays a beautifully crafted brick bar illuminated by dim lights. Candles sit atop the tables, and the walls are lined with modern works of art, creating an intimate, yet exciting atmosphere. The ambiance is high class, yet comfortable.

The fine dining restaurant serves contemporary twists on classic pairings. One of the most popular dishes that DOLCE serves is their mouth-watering fried brussel sprouts, served with Asian-inspired pork belly. The dish is served with a homemade aioli that Kueper himself created. When visiting DOLCE, patrons can choose to order a la carte or “prix fixe,” which is a four-course meal from a carefully selected menu created solely by Chef Kueper.


a tremendous work ethic, a great young man, shows up every day to get better, and he’s doing just that.”

The Mavericks will finish up their season first with Saint Cloud State at home starting on Friday. Omaha will then close out the regular season the first weekend in March when they travel to Grand Forks and take on North Dakota.

PHOTO COURTESY OF WWW.DOLCEOMAHA.COM If it goes in a bowl with noodles and a delicious broth or sauce, that’s my jam.

UNO Creatives: The Innovation of Laine Knowles

For this guest, I traveled by foot from my car in the East Parking Garage all the way to the Weber Fine Arts Center. The inside of the building is a must see — it’s the place where art on campus thrives and breathes. I met our guest Laine Knowles in room 226. The space itself is uncannily reminiscent of one of those artsy New York lofts seen in indie movies. Being a part of the Bachelor of Fine Arts program means Laine gets her own space in the studio. She credits the space as being a great place to dump her “stuff,” for lack of a better word.

Laine has been drawing for as long as she can remember. When she decided on art, it made so much sense to her, and now she can’t imagine doing anything else. The artist remembers a pivotal moment in her art career as a child attending private art classes until elementary school. At age seven, she made a chalk oil pastel drawing that was so good, her mom framed it and put it on her wall.

“That was probably the first piece that I can remember being proud of doing,” says Laine.

It is at this point where I’m immersed in Laine’s perspective. She has shown me her art, and I note the gorgeous surrealism and mechanical parts. Her artworks are like puzzle pieces, a complicated connection of mystery, personal stories, and inspirations, different mediums each posing its own identity.

One of Laine’s recent projects has been the opportunity to paint an album for one of her friends. It’s free reign, and she loves how the album cover is cohesive with her art style. The art doesn’t stop in the room, either, as Laine also took up painting her car. It’s a little something she’s doing for herself.

Do you feel obligated to tell people what your art is about, or do you enjoy it when people look at your work and try to find CONTINUE STORY ON PAGE 17


the story themselves?

My artwork is very personal to me; the symbols I create are specific, so I don’t expect people to understand what I am talking about when I make something. I enjoy when people come to their own conclusions. If I am explaining an emotion through the artwork and people can pick up on that, they can make the image their own and that’s special. I want to make art that people can find themselves in, because I certainly find myself in my art.

I went through your Instagram, and I do notice a lot of symbolism with things like keys and birds. What is the power of expressing stories through symbols, and how did the symbols become your known motifs?

There are certain things everyone is drawn to. I liked birds and I had a parakeet as a pet as a child. I developed an affinity for their feathers and the way that they fly, and I like swords because

I read a lot of “Star Wars” as a kid. These are certain images that I start to associate with other things and it’s unconscious, to be honest.

Would you consider art to be your life and something that is healing, almost?

For me, being an artist is part of my identity more than it is like a job or a hobby. I feel like it’s one of the core parts of who I am. So, I would say I identify as an artist first before I even identify as a woman.

When you are about to embark on making a new piece, do you have a specific story, or are you more inclined on making something in the moment and putting the puzzle pieces together when it’s finished?

It’s more impulsive and intuitive. I make something, then I usually don’t know what it means until I finish it. It’s more about just

what feels right at a certain time in a certain spot. Afterward, I look at it and can kind of see how certain spaces connect and where the ideas came from what I am listening, doing or reading at the time.

What is printmaking and how did that interest come into fruition for you personally?

Basically, printmaking is just complicated, glorified stamps. The basis of printmaking is carving out negative space, so you only have the image left. Then you have ink, and roll it on the newly created image. I like printmaking because there are so many different things you can do; I feel like I’m always learning something with this art form. I took a class in printmaking about two years ago and my professor was really encouraging, and I enjoyed learning and carving and the ability to make multiples of something.

With the topic of printmaking and accessibility — for so long art was considered to only be enjoyed by an exclusive audience. What is your take on this idea and why do you feel that art should be inclusive for everyone?

People have an idea in their head about what modern art is, but contemporary art is not just one thing. The way we talk about art and the way the art market talks about itself really determines how included people feel in it. A lot of times, if a person can’t understand what the art is, or if they don’t understand the meaning of it, it makes them feel excluded or disinterested.

How do you think art can become more inclusive over time?

I do think that art is for everybody, and one idea that people have to let go of is that art has to be beautiful to be considered art. Sometimes people make art about things that aren’t pretty, but it’s still artwork. The more people are exposed to different types of art work, I think artists also need to know how to explain their work to people instead of trying to sound smarter than they are.

This is such a super cheesy question, but why do you make art?

I make art because it’s a compulsion for me. If I don’t do it, my hands get restless — it’s like an


THE GATEWAY March 1, 2023 PAGE 17
PHOTO BY ANDREW SMITH PHOTO BY ANDREW SMITH Abstract art created by Laine Knowles.

Nebraska Democratic presidential primary, resulting in a 10-1 victory margin according to a 1969 Gateway article.

As a student senator, Smith aided in the creation of UNO’s Black Studies department — one of the first of its kind, despite the protests and arrests that preceded it — and fought against discriminatory housing practices used against Black students.

At The Gateway, Smith first wrote for the sports section, before becoming the section’s editor for the 1967-68 academic year. He didn’t shy away from expressing his political and social views on the page either, at one point writing a fourpart series advocating for the legalization of marijuana, as ahead of his time as ever.

According to Llana, Rudy’s activism earned such frustration from the university administration that they mailed his diploma to him rather than allow him to attend his own graduation with the class of 1969. Their attitude toward him eventually gave way to appreciation, as he became the School of Communication’s first Black faculty member, and received both the UNO Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award and the College of Communication Lifetime Achievement Award.

Over his decades-long career at the WorldHerald, Smith took all kinds of photographs. He photographed musicians like Aretha

Franklin, Michael Jackson, and Miles Davis. He photographed Robert Kennedy campaigning in North Omaha weeks before his assassination.

Smith documented Omaha’s political and racial upheaval over the years. He photographed civil rights marches, demonstrations and protests; speeches, arrests and victories. In 1969, he covered the riots on North 24th street — no white photographers would approach the scene, but Smith accepted the assignment and covered the story alone. He took photos of burning buildings, firemen, and armed National Guard, until two of the latter intervened.

“They put a gun to my head,” Smith said in a 2013 interview. He was soon escorted away from the action, but a photo he took that night was featured in national newspapers.

Yet Smith also covered the smaller things. From children at a swimming pool to a game of dominoes, and so many portraits — to him, it was all historical. He took photos featured in Life, Time, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, and many more publications, but even the photos taken as a favor to a friend were composed with equal reverence. His style is subtle, not so concerned with making the humble mythic as it is bringing the larger-than-life down to our level. The photo of Robert Kennedy speaking with a crowd feels less like a scene to be awed by in a museum and more like a moment you remember living yourself, yet its significance is never lost.

Smith received more than 50 awards for his photography, and more besides. He was given the NAACP Freedom Fighter Service Award in 2013, and in 2022, a section of Lake Street was named in his honor.

Beyond photography and activism, Smith left a powerful mark. He served on Nebraska’s state affirmative action committee under multiple state governors, and as board chairman at the Great Plains Black History Museum. He and his wife Llana were married 52 years until his passing, and they raised three children together.

When Smith began his 45-year career as a journalist for the Omaha World Herald, Congress had not yet passed the Civil Rights Act. The year he retired, Barack Obama was elected President. Smith was as keenly aware of the progress that was made over those years, and his part in it, as

he was that there was much still standing in the way of true equality. In an interview with Omaha Magazine, Smith compared the civil rights victory to the opening of a “door of change.”

“It’s up to us to step through that door still,” Smith said.

After his death, Smith’s book, “The Black Experience: Through the Lens of Rudy Smith” was published, showcasing over 45 years of his photography. Across hundreds of photos, spanning themes from civil rights to music to family, Smith paints a picture of love, pain, triumph, and struggle. Through his lens, it’s hard to imagine him spending his lifetime doing anything but advocating for his community — in a quote from the book’s opening pages, Smith seems to agree:

“Something had to be done. Someone had to do it. So why not me?”


itch. It’s not even a choice for me because it makes me happy; it’s something I am good at. Art is healing for me. I make art because I feel like I have to, because I don’t understand another way to be, but I always doubt that anyone else is going to enjoy it — it’s something that I have to deal with.

Walking away from the interview with Laine Knowles, I was taken aback by her enthralling and ever-present relationship with art. In a culture fueled by sacrificing passions in favor of the hustle and bustle, it brought me warmth to know there are

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THE GATEWAY March 1, 2023 PAGE 18

‘Babylon’ and the Death of Cinema

The 2022 film “Babylon,” a period-piece epic based on the fate of Hollywood and the movies made there. It was also the biggest box office bomb of the year. Is it a good film? Critics gave a mixed response, as have awards shows — but that might just be a less important question than the one “Babylon” asks of its audience.

The film, starring Margot Robbie, Brad Pitt and Diego Calva, written and directed by Damien Chazelle and released by Paramount, is an ode to cinema that makes an indisputable argument for the form’s immortality, recognizing it in the fiery cycle of the phoenix over the monument doomed to weather into dust. Deathlessness be damned, Chazelle sees Hollywood as a body whose every cell is eventually replaced over the years, ever-changing yet forever the same.

Yet it’s hard to know if Babylon, Chazelle or Paramount fully grasp this message that they crafted. Before the opening credits roll, Margot Robbie and Diego Calva, the two leads of “Babylon,” appear on screen to thank the viewer for seeing the film as it should be seen, in a crowded theater. Aside from the irony of sending off this note to a $5 million bomb of a box office opening (on an $80 million budget), it conveys an anxiety about the industry and art form that clashes with the film’s promises of their survival. This anxiety is threaded into the wider debate about the future of movies — which ones will be made, and where will they be seen? The answer seems to be, “fewer like these, and in fewer and fewer theaters.”

Deep into the film, there’s a monologue from Pitt’s character defending film as an art form and arguing for the power it holds in its accessibility to the masses. Many viewers who would all but burst into applause upon hearing those

words would apply the ingrained populism a bit more sparingly in reality. The studio films Pitt’s character refers to, that these people rightly link with the raw humanistic power of cinema, were no less mass-produced than the Marvel flicks or other modern studio productions they groan at.

This is not to say that such films and their creation processes are particularly defensible — Babylon itself isn’t exactly an endorsement of industry methods or culture — but they have the kind of value that we’ve seen in Hollywood era after era.

The magic of the movies isn’t in genre, or in celluloid, or in a big-screen projection and a $15 dollar ticket, or even in the labors of everyone who brought the film to life. It’s in the movies themselves, and as long as they exist, the magic does too.

PHOTO COURTSY OF COLLIDER.COM Margot Robbie staring in “Babylon.” The film is now available on Paramount+.

Oscars Roundup:

‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ will win some statuettes

If you’re reading this column, you’ve likely already seen this movie. Not only have you seen this movie, but you’re also probably thinking it should win best picture, which I would argue is the right position. I would go as far as to say that if you’re putting money on the Oscars — not that I condone gambling —I would call this the betting favorite. In the ecosystem of cinema, especially in popular cinema, there have been tendencies in the recent past that stand as touchstones in the development of philosophical pop cinema. In the past, we’ve found these in “The Matrix” trilogy and “Inception.” I would throw this picture into that camp, and I feel that if you don’t see it that way, you probably will in about five years or so.

Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh) is in a bit of a pickle. She has to juggle her laundromat, her incompetent husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan), taking care of the father who abandoned her in Gong Gong (James Hong), preventing Gong Gong from finding out about Joy (Stephanie Hsu) and her girlfriend Becky (Tallie Medel), all while the IRS and tax agent Deirdre Beaubierdre (Jamie Lee Curtis) are breathing down her neck. That is until Waymond puts some Bluetooth receivers in Evelyn’s ears, and asks her to put her shoes on the wrong feet in the elevator. Suddenly, she’s in two places at once, taking orders from Waymond to save the multiverse at large while Deirdre is lecturing her on business expenses. The mission: prevent the destruction of the multiverse by defeating rogue agent Jobu Tupaki. However, Jobu is more

familiar to Evelyn than she would like them to be. Is Evelyn up to the challenge?

This film asks some really big questions. Does anything matter? How should we choose to treat people? Why is it that we’re anywhere at any given time? However, the surface of this film would suggest that it is more silly than introspective. Luckily, for us the audience, this film tackles both major schools of existential thought while also being about learning kungfu by expressing your love to somebody you’re fighting. These questions wouldn’t be nearly as impactful as they are if it weren’t for the caliber of performances and the absurd but earnest direction. I think earnest is a really good word to describe this film. It’s earnest in its humor, its

relationships, and even in its answers to those big questions the film asks. I’m really glad to see Ke Huy Quan make his first really big performance since “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.” Quan is the heart of this film, whether portraying a silly man who puts googly eyes on everything or being a Kyle Reese-esque savior from a different time. From the ground up, the film is filled with a lot of soul and love. This is a movie that makes you feel the way a freshly baked cookie from grandma might feel.

It’s an invitation to do the things you like and to be with the people you love, and I can’t think of a better sentiment than that. There may be no reason why we’re anywhere, but while we’re here, let’s enjoy it.

Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) achieving self-actualization. PHOTO COURTSY OF IMDB.COM