World-Herald columnists

Grace: 10 years after Katrina, refugees are reborn in Omaha

Hurricane Katrina caused one of the largest mass migrations in U.S. history. Some 1.5 million people fled the Gulf Coast, most seeking shelter within 500 miles of their homes. But some 2,000 made it to Nebraska.


Shatel: Husker season prediction comes with some positive thinking

Attention, everyone. This is the column where I pin the tail on the Nebraska season prediction. But this year, just for you, I’ve got something better. A slogan.

Grace: He was in the military for 36 years, but nothing compared to Katrina

“In Katrina, it was complete and total chaos,” said Tom Brewer, a now-retired Army National Guard colonel who commanded a 30-member team in New Orleans 10 years ago. “It was a much more confusing and challenging environment than combat ever was.”

Kelly: Mother-son creative team hope kids’ book is a monster hit

Each Sunday for the past decade, Mardra Sikora and son Marcus have sat down to brainstorm ideas for stories. Marcus, 25, has Down syndrome, and life surely doesn’t keep him down.


Dickson: Pluses and minuses of playing for a nice coach

Almost as soon as new Nebraska coach/super swell guy Mike Riley arrived in Lincoln, the debate began. Is he too nice? Will the advantages of playing for what seems to be an extremely amiable dude outweigh any potential negatives? And, can an effervescent smile negate not being ranked in the preseason top 25? I break it down.

Thousands say goodbye to Ty and Terri Schenzel, who wrapped their arms around Omaha

Last week's fatal car accident sent shockwaves through Omaha, where the Schenzels have lived and ministered for more than three decades. They touched so many lives, in such deeply personal ways, that even acquaintances felt like friends and friends felt like family.


Shatel: As year starts, Jays focus on finishing

Elmar Bolowich not only says it, he opens the interview with it, as if there is any doubt where Creighton men’s soccer is and what this season is all about. “This is as good a team that has ever played at Creighton,” says the Jays’ coach.

Kelly: Piccolo's, oldest of Caniglia restaurant dynasty, set to close on New Year's Eve

The 81-year-old fixture on 20th Street south of downtown, with the iconic lighted sign showing a marching flute player, is coming to an end. “Customers kept saying, ‘Hang in there,’ ” said co-owner Donna Piccolo Sheehan. “I have hung in there. We’ve done our best.”

Grace: Engineer's frustration might have fixed downtown Omaha parking

Todd Pfitzer had left the TV for a much-needed change of scenery and much-needed watering hole. Instead, he found himself stubbornly circling the brick streets of the Old Market. For 45 minutes.

Hansen: Dr. Tom defies the silence of ALS to speak out, one last time

My childhood doctor has ALS. But Dr. Tom is breaking his imposed silence to shout, again, for patients.


Shatel: Can Alex Gordon, Joba Chamberlain find some magic in that old Nebraska dirt?

Is this heaven? No, it’s Sarpy County. There’s a Field of Dreams thing going on this week out at Werner Park, among the corn fields and meadows. Alex Gordon and Joba Chamberlain, the ghosts of 2005, have returned to Nebraska, walking out of the fog in Storm Chasers uniforms. Wow. Has it really been 10 years?

Breaking Brad will return Aug. 31

Brad Dickson's daily column will return Aug. 31.


Dickson's Week in Review, Aug. 16-22

When Mike Riley leads the team out of the tunnel for the first time, it will be emotional. I look for Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst to perceptibly nod.

Mission is more students

Grace: Omaha Archdiocese schools superintendent determined to get new kids in seats

Empty seats abound in many of the archdiocese’s 53 grade schools — a reflection of trends nationwide that have caused Catholic school enrollment to slide. Looking to reverse the decline, Patrick Slattery is bringing a missionary’s zeal to the problem.

Breaking Brad: Are you telling me NASA is a more reliable source than the World Wide Web?

An Internet rumor that a huge asteroid was barreling toward Earth was refuted by NASA. Wait just a minute. Are you telling me that something that appeared on the World Wide Web could somehow be incorrect?

Breaking Brad: Updates on De’Mornay Pierson-El’s foot, every hour on the hour

This just in: The World-Herald is suspending all coverage of the presidential race to feature nothing but updates on De’Mornay Pierson-El’s foot.

Breaking Brad: Weren't earthquakes the one thing we didn't have to worry about?

We have tornadoes. Hail. Wind storms. Flash floods. Fires. Blizzards. Ice storms. Wasn't an earthquake just about the only thing we didn't have to worry about in Nebraska?

Breaking Brad: The dog is fine, but you're going to need to put on a tie, sir

The Douglas County Health Dept. approved allowing dogs on restaurant patios and decks. I feel sorry for the guy turned away because he doesn’t meet the restaurant dress code who sees dogs getting in.

Hansen: Vanny DeVito has been stolen

“Who steals a cheap old Astro Van?” asks JJ Dreier. “For me this isn’t about the money at all. But this is a little soul-crushing.”


Shatel: With Huskers down a weapon, QB run game can be NU's X factor

Husker wide receiver De’Mornay Pierson-El will miss six to eight weeks with a foot injury. In any case, this season was always going to ride on the right arm and decision-making of quarterback Tommy Armstrong. Even better: his legs.

Breaking Brad: We must do more to coddle Millard school kids

The Millard school district is eliminating class rankings to "de-stress" students. Continuing with that theme, can someone cut out every bad event that has ever occurred from the history books in Millard? Could be traumatic to read about.

Breaking Brad: Which is scarier — 'Godzilla El Niño' or the butter cow at the Iowa State Fair?

Forecasters are predicting a potential “Godzilla El Niño” this fall and winter. I wouldn’t worry too much yet. If memory serves me, the “Stormapalooza Mega Blizzard 2011" yielded about one-sixteenth of an inch of snow.

Breaking Brad: Just think about it ... how great would it be to have a taco cannon at the Taco Bell drive-through?

There will be a taco cannon firing into the crowd at UNO hockey games. This could really speed up service at the Taco Bell drive-through, too. “Open your mouth! Pull!”

Breaking Brad: It's raining in Omaha! Save the bacon! Save the bacon!

When it rains in Omaha, the first thing we do is move the bacon to higher ground. Then, we worry about the people.


Shatel: Many sports crowds can handle alcohol, but keep it out of Memorial Stadium

So they want to sell beer at Husker hoops games at Pinnacle Bank Arena? I get it. Don’t think it’s necessary, but I get it. I don’t ever want to see it in Memorial Stadium.

Breaking Brad: Ricketts will tackle Nebraska's problems ... after he helps name this adorable wallaby

Gov. Pete Ricketts just helped name a wallaby at the Lincoln Children's Zoo. It's nice to see the governor taking on a little more responsibility.

Breaking Brad: Husker Nation is everywhere. No, really

I read that scientists still cannot explain that giant red spot on Jupiter. Heading into football season, I’d like to think that there are Husker fans everywhere.


Dickson's Week in Review, Aug. 9-15

At the beginning of his first season, Husker coach Mike Riley will enjoy a honeymoon period. I picture Bo Pelini and Bill Callahan: “What is that — three minutes?”


Shatel: For Riley, Husker football coaching post is not a job, but an adventure

At an age when most people are looking for a nice island, Riley decided it was time to play Indiana Jones in “Huskers of the Lost Ark.” So he dove headfirst into the pressure-filled Nebraska job, complete with giant rolling boulders and snake pits.

Grace: Great-grandmother, 87, finishes what she started — she'll be a college graduate Saturday

She sold the house in Bassett. She bought a red Jansport backpack with a big black “N” on the pocket. Now, 70 years later, Jean Kops will receive her degree after returning to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to complete her education.

Hansen: She's eaten lunch at the same Omaha restaurant nearly every day for 50 years

Helen sits at the big table in the back, second chair from the right, facing the chalkboard that has advertised the Dinker’s lunch specials almost every day for the past 50 years.

Breaking Brad: It's state fair season. Time for Nebraskans to head to Des Moines

The Iowa State Fair is similar to the Nebraska State Fair with the key difference being there are more Nebraskans.

Breaking Brad: Bellevue trying 'pay as you throw' garbage collection. What an idea – garbage collection!

Bellevue is experimenting with “pay as you throw” garbage collection. Contrast that with Omaha’s “wing and a prayer” garbage collection.

Breaking Brad: Pluto now in Warren Buffett's sights. Has his ambition no bounds?

Pluto is a long-term hold for Buffett. It should appreciate in value exponentially.

Breaking Brad: 'Potholes for everyone!' Stothert announces an annexation passes

The Omaha City Council approved the annexation of 16 new areas, adding about 12,000 people. The new citizens officially become Omahans when they’re presented with a map of our detours and a whistle to blow if they fall down a pothole.


Shatel: For UNO and A.D. Trev Alberts, work has just begun in Division I

The hallways looked the same. The offices, no bigger. The Maverick Mojo, still Mojo-ing to the familiar beat. What’s a Division I athletic department supposed to feel like? UNO is official now, and it’s hard to discern a difference.

Breaking Brad: Library supporters dream the impossible dream – getting more money from the city

Omaha library supporters and patrons appeared before the Omaha City Council to ask for more money. Darn the luck, City Council members just gave themselves pay raises, so I wouldn't count on any more than five to six cents for libraries.

Breaking Brad: Earlier back-to-school dates linked to ... well, not much

When I was a kid we didn’t go back to school until after Labor Day. But I guess this is why students’ math and science scores are so much higher to- wait, never mind.

Breaking Brad: Parts of Pacific Street closed for 'inlet top replacement ' – whatever that is

A curb lane on Pacific Street between 132nd and 144th Streets in Omaha is closed for one week for "inlet top replacement." Oh, now they're just making stuff up.

Breaking Brad: July 4 fireworks smoke clears to reveal kids heading back to school

The signs of mid-summer are all around us. The heat, the humidity, the cicadas, the Omaha children heading back to school ...


Shatel: UNK great Tom Kropp is switching from coach to fan

Tom Kropp’s handshake hasn’t retired. It’s still the friendliest vise grip you’ll ever meet and hasn’t lost any juice. I’m still recovering from the first time I met the Aurora/University of Nebraska at Kearney legend 20 years ago, and this is someone who leaves an impression, in more ways than one.

Breaking Brad: Hurricane Donald Trump is gaining steam

Brad Dickson's humor column, "Breaking Brad," appears daily on and in The World-Herald. To read more from Brad, check out his past columns at and follow him on Twitter.

Breaking Brad: Omaha has a plan to save money on street lights, and it's not with LEDs

Bellevue officials are considering going to LED bulbs in street lights to save money. Contrast that with frugal Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert going around at night shooting out Omaha street lights.


Shatel: Boyd Epley, a valuable resource, once again carries weight with the Huskers

Once upon a circuit, he couldn’t get Bob Devaney’s football lugs to lift a barbell. Now the soccer team is all over it. Boyd Epley, the godfather of weight training himself, smiles like a proud godfather. And it’s like he never, ever left.


Dickson's Week in Review, Aug. 2-8

Husker football coach Mike Riley has a new buzz haircut. Don’t miss The World-Herald’s six-part interview with Riley’s barber.

Hansen: Don’t drink the Kool-Aid on the phrase ‘Drink the Kool-Aid’

Follow me, dear readers. It’s time to drink the Kool-Aid.

Breaking Brad: Yes, there's such a thing as too much bacon

At the Salvation Army Baconfest in Omaha this weekend, more than 1,000 pounds of bacon will be featured. Am I the only one concerned about a bacon avalanche?

Breaking Brad: More than 1,000 pounds of bacon at Salvation Army Baconfest. What, that's it?

This weekend at the Salvation Army Baconfest in Omaha, more than 1,000 pounds of bacon will be available. You know what Omahans typically call 1,000 pounds of bacon? “A light lunch.”

Breaking Brad: Bacon for breakfast. Bacon for dessert. Bacon for president!

The Salvation Army Baconfest is this weekend in Omaha. Well, it's about time. Omaha hasn't had a baconfest in almost three or four days.

Breaking Brad: Omaha slips on list of best cities for families after judges fall in pothole

Omaha is rated the 15th-best city to raise a family. We should have been higher but we were marked down for having to put up baby gates around our potholes.

Today's Events
Reflections on Poetry
First United Methodist Church
2:00 pm
On Sundays afternoons, August 9, 16, 23, and 30 from 2:00 -3:00 p.m., one hour will be devoted to reading, listening to, and sharing our respo…
Omaha Community Playhouse, Howard Drew Theatre
7:30 pm
People who come to this play, the 2015-2016 season opener at the Playhouse, “get to watch five talented actors acting as if their backs are on…
Red Cross Blood Drive
Omaha Community Playhouse, Howard Drew Theatre
12:00 am
The American Red Cross urges blood donors to give in the final weeks of summer to help prevent a blood shortage.
Shadow Ridge
Eagles Club, 24th and Douglas Streets
1:00 pm
Genre: Country. Cost: no cover.
Musical Reflections
St.Cecilia Cathedral
3:00 pm
Mezzo-soprano, Kaitlin Zardetto will be offering a performance of classical opera and sacred music pieces at St. Cecilia Cathedral (Omaha) on …
Reflections of Poetry: An Experience of Sabbath Soul Care”
First United Methodist Church
2:00 pm
 First United Methodist Church, 7020 Cass St., will host “Reflections of Poetry: An Experience of Sabbath Soul Care” on Sundays in August in t…
The Grease Band
Andersen Park, 136th Street and Millard Avenue
8:00 pm
Genre: Cover. Cost: no cover.
Omaha Farmers Market
Aksarben Village
9:00 am
Make your way to Aksarben Village for the weekly farmers market! Shop for produce, flowers, jewelry and so much more.
The Artwork of John Lennon
Regency Court Shopping Center
6:00 pm
Title: The Artwork of John Lennon
Intergeneration Orchestra Concert
Sumtur Amphitheater
7:30 pm
The 31st Concert Season of the Intergeneration Orchestra of Omaha (IGO) kicks off on Sunday, August 30 7:30 p.m. at the Sumtur Ampitheater, 11…
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