World-Herald columnists

An eardrum-rattling, mind-blowing, Beatles-loving night spent inside Havana’s only rock club

For decades, rock music was banned in Cuba by Fidel Castro. But a Beatles’ tribute bar is reviving rock 'n' roll in Havana. Step inside Submarino Amarillo, the city's helter-skelter rock club.

Grace: She listened as baby sitter was murdered, and she wants killer to never walk free

Beth Ann Bushon is returning to Omaha this week to attend a resentencing hearing for Christopher Garza, one of two men serving life sentences for Christina O’Day's murder nearly 26 years ago.

Breaking Brad: Roses made of Doritos? OK, now I'm all for Valentine's Day

This year you can buy a dozen long-stemmed roses whose "petals" are made from Doritos. This is the one thing that could get guys into Valentine's Day.

Breaking Brad: Unique Valentine's Day idea – tour Omaha's top 10 potholes

This is pothole season in Omaha. Potholes are a huge problem. For example, it turns out the new Leavenworth Street Amphitheater really isn’t an amphitheater – it’s a chuckhole.

The New Cuba: A Nebraskan fights for what Fidel Castro took from her family

Thousands of Americans have never been repaid for the homes, land and property Fidel Castro seized in the aftermath of the Cuban Revolution. Fifty-seven years later, they are still fighting to regain what they lost, and an Omaha woman has become one of the leaders of this fight.

Breaking Brad: You can now buy a Bigfoot garden statue. What could possibly go wrong?

There’s a new gift item in stores – a Bigfoot garden statue. Guys are going, “Just in time for Valentine’s Day.”

Breaking Brad: It's pothole season, when I keep a snorkel in my car just in case

Omaha road crews have begun filling our deepest potholes. This means we will no longer be able to see Shanghai from Farnam Street.

The New Cuba: Two young Cubans depart, arrive and connect at Omaha’s Eppley Airfield

Cubans are fleeing their homeland and entering the United States at a record pace. Today, two 30-something Cubans would like to tell you a story that veers from rural Cuba to Omaha’s Eppley Airfield. Octavio and Niuris would like to tell you about what they lost by leaving, and what they found.

Breaking Brad: I'm pretty sure the Girl Scouts studied at timeshare presentation school

Girl Scout cookies cost more this year, up to $5 per box. That’s still cheaper than what it costs to remove the eggs from your house if you don’t buy one.

Breaking Brad: This one weird trick can help you win 'Celebrity Apprentice' when Warren Buffett is a judge

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.

The New Cuba: How a $2 weekly service is revolutionizing the way Cubans see the world

There’s an information revolution happening in Cuba. It’s a revolution sparked by a $2 illegal weekly service that delivers the world of news and entertainment to the flash drives of regular Cubans

Breaking Brad: Yes, he tells his young nephew, there was life before Facebook

Facebook just turned 12 years old. I'd post my favorite Facebook photos if I had any.

Breaking Brad: My foolproof plan to get a local contract for Civic Auditorium demolition

Tell Omaha officials that the Holland Center wants the land for parking and the officials will tear down the Civic Auditorium by hand.

The New Cuba: You think it’s hard to start a small business? Try it in Havana

Two young women have started the country’s first independent design store and gotten international attention. They have also felt the blunt force of the Cuban state. 


Shatel: Bigger league helps Bluejays land four-stars; Hughes departure signals Huskers' urgency

Can Creighton recruit with the big boys? Looks like the answer would be yes. Mitchell Ballock, a four-star, confident-shooting kid from Kansas, committed to wear Creighton blue on Sunday.


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: It's pothole season. If you don't see a pothole nearby, you're already inside it

We've just begun pothole season in Omaha. This is when the small potholes in Elkhorn stretch to 10th Street in downtown Omaha.

Breaking Brad: Girl Scout cookies on sale again. Let's face it – there is no escape

Girl Scout cookies have gone on sale in Nebraska. This year the Girl Scouts will be using tranquilizer darts to subdue potential customers in grocery store parking lots.

Learn more about 'The New Cuba,' an eight-day series

Starting today, The World-Herald aims to present a clear-eyed picture of Cuba in 2016: the country’s rapid change, its upside-down economy, its frustrated young adults, its newfound freedoms and the hope and fear of the future.

The New Cuba, Day 1: A clear look at a country distorted by a half-century-long embargo

Cuba isn’t frozen at the edge of a cliff. Rub your eyes. Look again. Cuba is already in motion, headed over that cliff, because a quarter-century of turmoil and the reality of 2016 give it no other choice but to squeeze its eyes shut and jump toward something different. The real question isn’t when Cuba will leap. The real question is: How will Cuba land?

Wait, isn't the embargo over? A Q&A on changes in Cuba

Can I go to Cuba legally? Is Cuba safe? Answers to these and more to clear up common questions regarding Cuba travel.

Kelly: Former Husker Rik Bonness says concussion issue needs more research — 'I’ve been lucky. Not everyone is'

Rik Bonness, an All-American at Nebraska who won a Super Bowl XI ring with the Oakland Raiders in 1977, said people often ask him whether it’s safe for their offspring to play football.


Shatel: If Super Bowl is Peyton Manning’s swan song, it’s not the norm for pro athletes

Steve Warren had a knife in his arm. He walked to the sideline, his bicep ruptured, the pain killing him. He told his coach what happened. He said he was coming out. Warren’s coach laughed at him. Told him to get back in. Is this any way to end a career?

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.

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