Nebraska's head football coach, Scott Frost, leads the Huskers out of the tunnel for the first time.

Bob Michelic attended Nebraska football games, his daughter said, from “the day Bob Devaney walked through the door.”

The legendary coach arrived in 1962, and Margie Smith said she not only attended lots of home games with her dad but also made annual treks in a conversion van to bowl games.

“We hit all the national championships,” said Margie, who works with the nonprofit Nebraska Greats Foundation, which helps former athletes in need who played for any college in Nebraska. “We definitely bled red.”

Bob retired as an Omaha fire captain in 1974, and continued his company, AAA Building Components. He worked mornings until he was 86.

Scott Frost was his favorite player, and Bob was thrilled when he became the Husker head coach. But the superfan was diagnosed with cancer and his time drew near as the season approached.

Margie’s daughter, Meghan, flew home from New York City so the family could watch the first game together in a hospital room. Through his oxygen mask, they could hear him say, “I love you,” and “Good luck, Scott.”

That was the Akron game on Sept. 1, called off because of sustained lightning — but not before Frost led the team through the tunnel. With the family gathered around his bed, Bob breathed his last at 88.

“My dad died the moment Scott Frost’s feet hit the turf outside the tunnel,” Margie said. “It was as if he said, ‘OK, Scott, it’s all yours. Good luck and Go Big Red.’ ”

Nebraska, Iowa among most affordable states for dating

Nebraska is a cheap date, and so is Iowa.

The average cost of a date — two dinners, a liter of wine and two movie tickets — is said to be $48.91 in Nebraska, third-lowest in the nation. At $50.90, Iowa is fourth.

That’s according to 24/7 Wall Street, a Delaware-based news and opinion company. Its date idea for Nebraska: “Kiss in two states at once! Stroll across the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge and stop halfway across — you’ll be in Nebraska and Iowa.”

For the Hawkeye State: “Go ice or roller skating in central Iowa, a perfect opportunity to squeeze your date’s hand.”

North Dakota was the second-cheapest date, $42, with South Dakota the cheapest, $38. New York was most expensive, $300, followed by New Jersey, $259.60, and Hawaii, $240.

Dating is big business. The proliferation of online dating apps, 24/7 Wall Street says, is making it “easier to meet more people, go on more dates and ultimately spend more money.”

The dating service Match.com, meanwhile, says the average unmarried American spends $1,596 a year on dating. What, everyone is now going dutch?

Ex-sailors will visit Omaha, birthplace of ship's namesake

Omaha is a destination for lots of military reunions, and one next week has a nominal connection to the city’s longest-serving mayor — Cowboy Jim Dahlman.

About 80 former sailors and their wives are expected for the Sept. 19-22 reunion for the USS Collett, a World War II-era destroyer. It is named after Lieutenant Commander John A. Collett, a naval aviator killed in the Battle of the South Pacific in 1942.

Collett, born in Omaha in 1908, was a grandson of Dahlman, mayor from 1906 to 1918 and 1921 to 1930, when he died in office.

When the new destroyer was named for John Collett, his brother and fellow Naval Academy graduate, James Dahlman Collett, put in a request to be the ship’s first captain. The Navy approved.

Commander James Collett received a Silver Star for action against Japanese forces in the Philippines in November 1944. Collett maneuvered the Collett to avoid two torpedoes, and his gun batteries shot down two Mitsubishi planes.

At the Omaha reunion, said organizer Larry Porter of Fremont, Nebraska, who served on the Collett from 1959 to 1961, the Collett family will be represented by the commander’s son, James D. Collett Jr. of South Carolina — a nephew of the ship’s namesake and great-grandson of the mayor of a century ago.

At a banquet next Saturday, he will receive a playful admiralty in the mythical Nebraska Navy. In south Omaha, the name continues in the Dahlman neighborhood, Dahlman School, Dahlman Park and Dahlman Avenue.

The USS Collett, 376 feet long, saw action at Okinawa and elsewhere, and after the Japanese surrender entered Tokyo Bay. It later served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars before it was decommissioned in 1970.

In 1974, Argentina purchased it, gave it a different name and sailed it in the 1982 Falklands War. In 1988, it was sunk in a naval exercise.

Omaha area is ranked No. 3 place for teachers in the U.S.

SmartAsset.com rates the Omaha-Council Bluffs area the No. 3 place in the country for teachers to work and live.

The ranking, up from last year’s No. 4, is based on factors such as job and income growth, spending per student, union strength, housing costs, graduation rate, average test scores and violent crime rate.

“Teachers looking for a place to grow,” Smart Asset said, “should consider Omaha-Council Bluffs as a place to move to.”

Ranked first was Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, followed by Brownsville-Harlingen, Texas.

'Proving Up,' opera set in Nebraska, premieres in New York

Premiering in New York on Sept. 26 is “Proving Up,” an opera about an 1860s Nebraska family on a drought-stricken landscape.

The composer is Missy Mazzoli, 37, who grew up in rural Pennsylvania, making up songs and taking piano lessons from the age of 7.

She based her new opera, the New York Times reported, on a short story by author Karen Russell about a family struggling to make a claim on a homestead.

The show was performed in January at the Washington National Opera. The Times called it “simultaneously luminous ... and ominous.”

Opera Omaha has a few words about Beethoven's Fifth

Opera Omaha sent an email in support of “our friends at the Omaha Symphony” next Friday and Saturday at the Holland Performing Arts Center.

The headline about Beethoven’s Fifth: “Duh, duh, duh, DUHN!”

michael.kelly@owh.com, 402-444-1132


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