World-Herald columnists

Kelly: Sweet-talking Omaha puts moves on old flame Broncos

In 2014, with Denver and its Omaha-shouting quarterback headed to the Super Bowl, the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce sent the Colorado city a good-luck video. Now, with Denver going back, it sent another one.


Dickson's Week in Review, Jan. 31-Feb. 6

Welcome to Nebraska, where people who’ve barely heard of Peyton Manning and Cam Newton can tell you all of Tanner Lee’s stats.

Breaking Brad: OPS named a top district in America ... for snow days

Newsweek has ranked the top high schools in America. OPS did well in the "Most snow days even though the streets are pretty much all clear" category.

Breaking Brad: Hottest career at the job fair? Hoverboard repairman

More than 800 high school sophomores recently attended Career Day at Midland University. In a disturbing sign of the times, 600 of the kids plan to pursue careers as mimes. The other 200 want to repair hoverboards for a living.

Grace: After first snow day in 'ages,' it's back to business at Boys Town

It was the kind of Halley’s Comet occurrence so rare no one could say when — or if, in the school’s 98-year history — Boys Town had ever called off school because of snow.

Breaking Brad: Cox offered free Wi-Fi hotspots during storm. Really, Cox did something for free

Cox Communications offered free Wi-Fi hotspots during the Omaha snowstorm. The number of times that "Cox Communications" and "free" have appeared in the same sentence ... well, this is the first time.

Breaking Brad: 2 Husker assistants get raises. These guys finished 6-7, right?

A couple of Husker assistant football coaches are receiving large raises. So the Douglas County Board of Commissioners isn’t the only group with a losing record to be rewarded.


Shatel: After often-gloomy fall, Husker coach Mike Riley sold a vision

National signing day is a national holiday, a national hope holiday. Nobody has a bad signing day. Everybody has a good recruiting class. Hope is where you find it. Even after a 6-7 season. You want hope? Here it is, Husker fans.

Breaking Brad: Remember when we didn't bat an eye at 5 inches of snow?

Most Omaha schools canceled classes again on Wednesday. It's amazing that 5 inches of snow today causes more havoc than 14 inches used to cause.

Breaking Brad: What winter blues? Husker spring game tickets are on sale!

Are you sick of snow and winter? Here’s some news to lift your spirits: On Wednesday, tickets to the Nebraska spring football game go on sale!

Grace: At Iowa caucuses, 2016 vote starts with choice — Up or down?

The first choice confronting caucusgoers Monday evening in Precinct 11 came as soon as they entered the doors at Broadway United Methodist Church. Posted on a stairwell landing, the sign read: Republicans, upstairs. Democrats, down.

Breaking Brad: Gentlemen, start your snowblowers

If anyone needs me for the next day or so, I'll be at home watching "Beachfront Bargain Hunt" on HGTV.

Breaking Brad: This blizzard had better come; I didn't knock over a granny for 6 gallons of milk for nothing

I knew the weather was gonna be bad about 6 a.m. Tuesday morning when Jim Cantore blew past my window.

Grace: New vision for ‘The Sunks’ aims to incorporate garden into green space, but retain its Sunks-ness

A proposal for a private redevelopment of The Sunks, short for sunken gardens, includes a formal garden, stone walls, a covered deck and a pergola.


Shatel: Over-signing method too often overdone in football recruiting

To be sure, over-signing is an unseemly aspect of college sports. But recruits also have the right to run a misdirection play at the last minute, correct? What needs to be eliminated is the fallacy of the commitment.

Kelly: Omaha film buff flexes movie history muscles, turns passion into career

Bruce Crawford, who has brought 37 classic movies to Omaha over the past 24 years, is being honored this weekend at the 31st annual Cathedral Flower Festival. Local florists have filled the edifice with color, aroma and artistic flair, this year under the theme “A Night at the Movies.”


Lunch with Tom: Replay

Replay Monday's “Lunch with Tom” chat to get World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel’s take on the latest sports headlines.

Breaking Brad: The only thing worse than the weather? Cam Newton's zebra pants

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: Finally, we can stop paying attention to Iowa

I wouldn’t say the candidates appear eager to get out of Iowa following the caucuses, but several tried to book flights for 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.

Mick Messbarger died at 54, but he 'lived a life of 99 years through the people he touched'

Mick Messbarger had sons in high school and junior high, a wife of 19 years and still-living parents. His untimely death will keep hitting them hard long after his funeral Thursday. Yet, after seeing the crowds, listening to the tributes and studying the many photographs on display, it was hard to feel that he had been cheated.


Shatel: Super Bowl referee Clete Blakeman’s professionalism impresses his fellow NFL officials

Clete Blakeman is the referee for the Super Bowl — the 50th Super Bowl — next Sunday in Santa Clara, California. Blakeman and Cam Newton have something in common: It’s their first Super Bowl.


Dickson's Week in Review, Jan. 24-30

Shaquille O’Neal is getting his own statue outside Staples Center. For nostalgia’s stake, it will be erected in the general vicinity of where his free-throw attempts used to land.

Kelly: Still the same Ernie, but a soft spots shows with his St. Jude donation challenge

The longtime Nebraska lawmaker he has persuaded many of his fellow senators to join him in donating to the famed St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. And he is matching each of their $100 donations, though he notes that he is “not a man of means.”

Breaking Brad: It's nearly 50 degrees in Omaha right now, but ...

Omaha is experiencing a warm-up, but there's the potential for heavy snow early next week. In all my years of reading "buts" in the Nebraska weathercast, this may be the most significant one yet.

Breaking Brad: Even Stephen Hawking can't figure out OPPD's rate structure

Stephen Hawking recently published a paper on the super complex "black hole information paradox.” And even this guy is at a loss trying to figure out the OPPD pricing structure.

Kelly: With his funeral home burning, Bill Cutler tried to retrieve bodies out of respect for the dead, their families

Heafey Hoffmann Dworak & Cutler funeral home, at 7805 West Center Road, was destroyed Tuesday by a fire that apparently started with an explosion. Investigators had not determined a specific cause.

Breaking Brad: Biggest news in Nebraska today? 18-year-old decides to play football for Huskers

The Nebraska Cornhuskers got a commitment from a four-star offensive line recruit from South Dakota. If you're new to Nebraska, no, it's not uncommon for a story like this to knock a presidential election off the front pages.

Breaking Brad: My foolproof way to improve Omaha snow removal

The Omaha snow removal budget is only $6.8 million. I know a way to get officials to delegate millions more. Tell ‘em a zebra mussel was spotted in the snow.


Shatel: Lawrence Phillips remains a magnet, mystery

Lars Anderson isn’t sure what made him get on a plane for Los Angeles last week. Twenty years ago, Anderson was the kid from Lincoln, Nebraska, who was working his first cover story for Sports Illustrated. Assignment: go to Nebraska and interview Lawrence Phillips. He got that story and hundreds more around the world in his career. But there was something about this story. It became a magnet.

Breaking Brad: Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and ... who's that other guy?

At the Democratic candidates' town hall in Iowa, Hillary Clinton presented herself as a proven fighter. Bernie Sanders called for a political revolution. And Martin O'Malley spent most of the evening trying to convince security at the door that he's really running for president.

Breaking Brad: 6 aging snowplows – links to Omaha's early history – to be replaced

The Omaha City Council voted 7-0 to replace six aging snowplows. To give you an idea how old the snow plows are, five of them are horse-drawn.

Kelly: Co-workers didn't know each other well, until one decided to give the other his kidney

“Nathan is an incredible person,” Jeremy said. “He has restored my faith in humanity.”

Breaking Brad: UNO hoops, taco cannon projected to make NCAA tournament

Several experts predict that the UNO men's basketball team will make the NCAA Tournament. Hypothetically, if UNO makes it to, say, the Sweet 16, then Creighton would by law be forced to schedule them?

Breaking Brad: Omahans stranded in East Coast blizzard return to real challenge – Omaha side streets

A group of Omahans stranded back East during the blizzard of 2016 returned home Monday. Their biggest challenge: getting from Eppley Airfield to their houses on Omaha streets.

Mick Messbarger, father who coached sons' games and battled cancer, dies at 54

Merrill "Mick" Messbarger, whom World-Herald columnist Erin Grace wrote about in November, died Saturday after a five-year battle with cancer.

Grace: A treasure hunt for lost piece of Omaha, and family, history

When Mariam Villamonte entered the world on New Year’s Day 2001, her birth was heralded by the mayor, a local businessman and news media outlets around Omaha.

Grace: Muslim student who graduated from UNO, his Omaha ‘G-ma’ bridge a cultural gap

More than six years ago, Ebrahim was a bright Muslim teenager from Yemen who suddenly needed a place to live in Omaha. Ila Dean was the former Iowa farm girl in her late 70s who agreed to take in the stranger, and later pushed for him to come back to Nebraska, even paying his way. His parents had let their son go, knowing that they wouldn’t see him for years.


Shatel: New hockey hall added in Ralston; Jays making strides; beer at the CWS

The Omaha Hockey Hall of Fame makes its debut at the Omaha Lancers game on Saturday night at Ralston Arena. And you never know what Hall of Famer might show up.

Grace: Nonprofit is cooking up a big spread for Florence ‘food hub’

The leaders of a nonprofit called No More Empty Pots had explained the concept of their latest venture and shown me drawings for a splashy multi-million-dollar project on a street corner in Florence.

Breaking Brad: Beer sold inside TD Ameritade Park? Here come the LSU fans

After hearing about the pilot program allowing beer and wine to be sold inside TD Ameritrade Park, LSU baseball fans began lining up at the gates on Sunday.

Breaking Brad: City Council to get involved in snow removal plan. Yeah, that's just what we need

The Omaha City Council is getting involved in the city snow removal plan. You know what that probably means? A tax on stuck vehicles.


Lunch with Tom: Replay

Replay Monday's “Lunch with Tom” chat with World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel to get his take on the latest sports headlines.


Shatel: After a step back, NU basketball team can still look forward

Basketball season is not over. That should be the theme here today. That, and man, Michigan really knows how to shoot.


Dickson's Week in Review, Jan. 17-23

It is reported that Jim Harbaugh once climbed a tree to land a recruit. Wouldn’t you know it? When Harbaugh got to the top of the tree, Urban Meyer and Nick Saban were already there.

Kelly: Peyton Manning’s famous Omaha shout-outs echo around the Big O

When the call of "Omaha" from the Broncos quarterback first gained notoriety two years ago, Omaha businesses pledged donations to the quarterback’s charity for at-risk kids for every time he shouted “Omaha!” in succeeding games. He later came to town and collected a donation of about $70,000.


Shatel: This isn’t your dad’s Big East basketball, but today’s players love it

It’s been 30 years, or about 100,000 3-pointers ago, so I guess it’s OK to finally admit it. I used to have a Big East chip on my shoulder the size of John Thompson. For a son of the Midwest driveway hoop, listening to the shrill voices of the East Coast blacktop was like fingernails on a backboard.

Breaking Brad: Omaha could see freezing rain Sunday. Let's just shut down Dodge now

A chance of freezing rain is predicted for Sunday night in Omaha. You know what that means. If you're planning on reaching the summit of Dodge Street west of 84th Street, you had better rent a Zamboni.

Breaking Brad: Cover your children's eyes – the new OPS sex ed standards are coming

The OPS board voted to adopt new sex ed standards. I reviewed some of the new OPS sex ed curriculum. It is pretty graphic. This is HBO-late-on-a-Saturday-night-level stuff.

Breaking Brad: Welcome to Omaha, where 'We Don't Plow'

Omaha should change its slogan from "We Don't Coast" to "We Don't Plow."

Breaking Brad: 1,500 pounds of pot found in RV – this is a drug-sniffing dog's Super Bowl

An RV was pulled over and over 1,500 pounds of marijuana worth $7.5 million was discovered. You know the technical term for an RV carrying 1,500 pounds of marijuana? “Party bus.”

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