World-Herald columnists

Kelly: He was 40 feet from Gen. Douglas MacArthur and the end of WWII

On Sept. 2, 1945, Bob McGranaghan was a Navy enlistee on the destroyer USS Nicholas, assigned to escort a Soviet dignitary onto the battleship Missouri for the signing of documents that formally ended war in the Pacific theater.

Grace: Family matriarch needs constant care, and her 15 children are there to help

The whole Minturn clan knew this was coming. That their witty, strong and steadfast mother, who had gotten them through extraordinarily difficult circumstances, was not going to a nursing home. Not yet. Not when there were so many of them to help.

Kelly: World traveler John Hlavacek, 97, fell in love with Omaha

He called himself “Hlucky Hlavacek,” living a long life of world travel that always placed him in “the right place at the right time.”

Breaking Brad: 6 percent of Nebraska roads rated as poor; is that a misprint?

At his Omaha roundtable on road conditions, U.S. Rep. Brad Ashford said 6 percent of roads in Nebraska are rated as poor. What are the other 94 percent rated – "god awful"?

Breaking Brad: Ralston mayor wakes up suddenly from terrible failing arena nightmare

In science news, the mayor of Ralston is asking permission to use taxpayer money to build a time machine to go back to 2010 and not fund a city arena.

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.”


Shatel: Nebraska knows early ‘name’ football foes can lead to a playoff

BYU this week. Miami (Florida) in three weeks. It’s admirable. And maybe a little nuts. It’s the world we live in. The playoff selection committee spoke last year, and spoke loudly, in leaving out Baylor and its weak nonconference schedule. Know what? It’s also Nebraska tradition.

Grace: 10 years after Katrina, evacuees 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.

Breaking Brad: Kanye West is running for president in 2020. So we've got that to look forward to

Kanye West is running for president in 2020. What a hoot. A guy known partly for his big mouth and link to a reality TV show thinks ... wait, Kanye may be on to something here.

Breaking Brad: Wait for it ... the Ralston Arena is gonna turn the corner any time now

Breaking news: The feasibility committee that in 2010 said the Ralston Arena would be a good investment just released a statement claiming now is an excellent time to bring back New Coke.

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.


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.


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.

Today's Events
Omaha Products Show
Mid-America Expositions
8:00 am
Wednesday, Sept 2, 2015
Legend Writers Group workshop
Legend Comics & Coffee
9:00 am
Legend Writers Group, a workshop on all genres, will meet Wednesday at Legend Comics & Coffee.
The Garden of the Zodiac Gallery
Old Market Passageway
7:00 pm
The Moving Gallery/Garden of the Zodiac Gallery are pleased to present an exhibition of recent paintings by the Italian artist Paolo Dolzan. 
Chris Shelton
Firewater Grille, 7007 Grover St.
7:30 pm
Genre: Rock.
Toxic Holocaust, Lord Dying, Relentless Approach, Vickers
Lookout Lounge, 320 S. 72nd St.
7:30 pm
Genre: Rock. Cost: $10 in advance, $12 day of show.
Avatar with Gemini Syndrome, Huntress, Exilia, More Than Blood and others
Sokol Underground, 2234 S. 13th St.
5:30 pm
Genre: Rock. Cost: $20 in advance, $25 day of show.
My Friend Eric Rohmann
Joslyn Art Museum
12:00 am
Drawings, paintings, and prints comprise this exhibition of children’s book art by author-illustrator Eric Rohmann, winner of the Caldecott Me…
Open Mike
Down Under Lounge, 3530 Leavenworth St.
8:00 pm
Genre: Open mike.
Nebraska Writers Workshop
Baright Public Library
5:30 pm
The Nebraska Writers Workshop meets every Wednesday at the Baright Public Library in Ralston.
The Claudettes
Zoo Bar, 136 N. 14th St., Lincoln
9:30 pm
Genre: Blues. Cost: $6.
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