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Gothenburgers, North Platters, Beatricians: Here's what you call people from Nebraska's 50 largest cities

Surely you’ve heard of Omahans and Lincolnites. But what do you call someone from Broken Bow?

Broken Bowers? Broken Bowhunters? Broken ... um ...

Without a doubt, those from Gothenburg are Gothenburgers. But what are people from Wahoo? Are they Wahooans? Wahooers? Wahoovians? Wahooligans? Ask around and the answer differs by the person.

As it turns out, many of Nebraska’s 50 most populous towns and cities lack a proper name to call themselves — it’s not a legal requirement for cities to establish a demonym, which is a word used to denote a person who lives in or is native to a particular place. Either the residents have too many to choose from or none of the names sounds right. Or nothing ever stuck.

“I’ve never been asked before,” said Erv Portis, city administrator of Plattsmouth. “Frankly I don’t have an answer for it. No matter what you or I choose, somebody is going to be offended. Plattsmouth citizen, Plattsmouth resident, beyond that I don’t know.”

Heck, even Nebraska’s oldest city and its third-largest, Bellevue, can’t make up its mind.

“I’ve lived here my whole life, 57 years, and I don’t know,” said the administrative assistant in the Mayor’s Office.

People from Wayne agree that they like the name “Wayne Americans,” as the water tower proclaims, but even the City of Wayne and Wayne’s chamber of commerce differ between Waynites or Waynians.

Don’t mistake Columbusites for Columbians, even if a few are. Be mindful not to offend a Papillionite by calling him or her a Papillionaire. And don’t you dare call someone from Crete a Cretan.

Across the Missouri River from Omaha, let the record show that those folks are Council Bluffsians, not Council Bluffers or Council Bluffites.

The names Nebraska’s townspeople call themselves are far more fascinating and undecided than one might imagine.

Here’s our unofficial list of the demonyms for the top 50 most populous places in Nebraska, determined using historical records, newspaper clippings and calls to government offices. These names are our best guesses based on research, but if you live in one of these towns and call your townspeople something else, let us know.

List: What you should call people from Nebraska's 50 largest cities

As Ebola spreads again, the world just watches
U.S., others seem to be 'repeating the same mistake' made five years ago, when epidemic killed 11,000

The Ebola outbreak raging through Congo has sickened thousands of people and killed more than 1,500 — and the number of new victims continues to climb.

The situation is dire, but it's hardly unprecedented. Less than five years ago, an epidemic in West Africa killed more than 11,000 people, shattering communities, destroying economies and leaving a generation of orphans behind.

When it was over, world leaders took a solemn vow: Never again. Health officials studied the failures of their sluggish and haphazard response so they would recognize the warning signs of a crisis not to be ignored.

That crisis is now here. Yet with Ebola spreading eastward into Uganda, epidemiologists and aid groups are dismayed by the many indications that the pledge has been forgotten.

The World Health Organization had to spend months begging for the $98 million it needs to set up temporary health clinics and distribute vaccines that could stop the virus in its tracks. The Trump administration has banned Ebola experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from entering the hot zone. And aWHO committee has turned down three chances to declare the outbreak a global health emergency, taking pressure off of high-income countries to intervene before transmission seeps into South Sudan's refugee camps and explodes.

"Could we be repeating the same mistake we made in West Africa? Absolutely," said Lawrence O. Gostin, who directs the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law and served on several review commissions following the epidemic that ended in 2016.

"I'm bewildered, and deeply troubled," he said. "We're seeing a steady drumbeat of death — which could boil over into a full blown epidemic. We know better than this."

The Ebola virus, which causes a highly lethal hemorrhagic fever, spreads from person to person through infected blood, vomit and sweat. It causes leaky blood vessels and circulatory failure, which starves the body's organs of oxygen — leading to shock and multiple organ failure. Its symptoms, including uncontrolled vomiting and diarrhea, can cause fatal dehydration even before the infection wins out.

Already, the WHO says the year-old outbreak has killed 1,571 people, making it the second largest in history. It is expected to last at least another year.

And it's spreading. A 5-year-old Ugandan boy contracted the virus in Democratic Republic of Congo while visiting his grandfather, who died of Ebola in late May. The boy and several family members who were showing symptoms crossed back into Uganda in June, where they are believed to have had contact with at least 98 people. The 5-year-old was the first of them to die.

Yet the world seems unable to take the steps that worked the last time around.

During the West African epidemic, it was the global outpouring of funds and personnel that allowed Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone to squelch the outbreak. The United States committed $3.7 billion and sent troops to the region to ratchet up the response. Several European countries followed suit. This time, the U.S. and other key global powers are mostly watching from the sidelines. On Tuesday, the U.S. Agency for International Development said it would contribute "more than $98 million" to the response in Congo, though the specifics have yet to be announced. And the State Department won't allow the CDC's medical workers — the world's most seasoned interventionists — to go to the region, citing concerns about their safety.

Those concerns are well-founded: The outbreak is centered in North Kivu and Ituri, heavily populated provinces marked by decades of political instability and violent conflict. As many as 134 separate armed rebel groups have sparred for control of the mineral-rich region in recent years, and an explosion of ethnically motivated kidnappings, maimings and sexual violence displaced at least 300,000 people in June alone, according to the United Nations.

"The complexity of the environment in North Kivu is unparalleled," said Juliet Bedford, an Oxford University anthropologist who studied the community dynamics of both outbreaks.

In the hot zone, Ebola response teams are caught in the crossfire. Insurgents have launched more than 150 attacks on health workers so far this year, killing five and injuring about 50 others. Doctors Without Borders, usually a primary player in disease outbreaks, shut down its treatment centers after multiple attacks in February.

Each violent uprising is followed by a surge of new infections as aid workers lose vital ground.

Still, dozens of CDC officials have battled hemorrhagic fevers in violent regions before, and some are eager to get to work in Congo, according to Jennifer Kates, an expert on U.S. global health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

"There are U.S. personnel who believe they have the expertise to help, and they're not able to go," Kates said. "It's coming up again and again."

Others have noted that contractors for the U.S. Agency for International Development are currently operating in the line of fire.

"There are some inconsistencies in our security posture," said Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

The WHO committee's reluctance to declare a global emergency deprives the CDC of the leverage it needs to persuade the Trump administration to let its specialists join the front lines.

"High-income countries fear a Benghazi moment: If they let trained experts into the hot zone and they got killed — or worse, kidnapped — it would be a political crisis," Gostin said. "They're gun-shy."

In the West African outbreak, local health workers meticulously tracked down and isolated each patient's potential contacts, essentially snipping each strand of the outbreak's expanding web.

That's not happening this time. It simply doesn't work in a humanitarian crisis, particularly one marked by a deep-rooted suspicion of authority and huge numbers of people on the move. At least 4.5 million Congolese have been displaced from their homes and neglected by the central government — breeding distrust in the very figures who are now leading the Ebola response.

Conspiracy theories about Ebola swirl on social media. Some say it's a biological attack by white Westerners; others say it was spread by the Congolese government. More than a quarter of North Kivu residents don't believe the virus is real, according to a recent report in the medical journal Lancet.

"They've been attacked and killed by various things for ages, and no one did anything before. They're thinking, 'Now, Ebola is here and everyone wants to save us? Yeah, right,' " said Dr. Marta Lado, chief medical officer of Partners in Health in Sierra Leone, who has worked on the ground in both Ebola outbreaks.

The result is that less than one-third of all confirmed cases have been linked back to known contacts, and more than 80% of new cases have not been followed, according to Doctors Without Borders. On a map, the outbreak pattern is made up of erratic clusters throughout the region rather than a cohesive web of cases.

It also means the total case count is likely much higher than the official figures reported by the WHO.

Thousands of disabled Nebraskans on waiting list for help finding jobs

LINCOLN — The young man worked at a veterinary clinic until his family moved to a new community. The young woman cleaned at a local restaurant before she had to move across town and could no longer get to her job.

Their developmental disabilities made it hard to find work in their new settings.

Vocational rehabilitation services could have helped them land new jobs and learn the ropes, while helping their new employers understand their abilities and needs.

Instead, the two are among more than 3,000 adults with disabilities on a waiting list for services from Nebraska VR, a division of the State Department of Education.

State Sen. Kate Bolz of Lincoln, who works as executive director of the Nebraska Association of Service Providers, recounted their stories. She said both now spend their days in a sheltered workshop, a work center for disabled people.

“Individuals who could be successful, contributing, employed members of our community are not receiving that opportunity,” she said.

State vocational rehabilitation officials started the waiting list in December 2017, when the agency began limiting new clients to those with the most significant disabilities. On April 23, 2018, the agency shut off all new clients.

Lindy Foley, director of Nebraska VR, said the agency continued working with people who already had a plan for services. The agency still can step in when people have jobs but need short-term help to keep them, such as providing hearing aids for someone who has developed hearing loss.

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But other people can be served only if an existing client finishes services or drops out, she said.

By mid-June, the waiting list had grown to 3,183 people, even after about 200 got services last fall. At the end of June, another 300 were to be offered services.

The situation leaves people with disabilities on their own to find work, if they can. Even with Nebraska’s tight labor market, Kathy Hoell, executive director of the Nebraska Statewide Independent Living Council, said that finding employment remains difficult for people with disabilities.

“It’s frustrating when the people who are supposed to help you aren’t there,” she said.

Foley said a convergence of several factors forced vocational rehabilitation officials to adopt budget-tightening measures.

First, a federal law that took effect in 2016 required vocational rehabilitation agencies to dedicate 15% of their funding for preemployment transition services for students with disabilities. The requirement left about $2.4 million less each year to serve adults.

Then federal officials sent Nebraska much less than expected of annual funds reallotted from other states. Officials sent the bulk of those reallotment dollars to Texas, as it struggled to recover from Hurricane Harvey.

As a result, Nebraska’s chief source of funding, federal Title I grants, dropped to $15.8 million in fiscal year 2017, down from $17.1 million in fiscal year 2015.

The problem was compounded by a 2017 state decision to move about $1.7 million from developmental disability services into vocational rehabilitation, with the goal of boosting federal match money. The move meant more people turning to Nebraska VR for employment services at a time when funding decreased.

Money carried over from previous years helped fill the gap for a while. But as that money dwindled and the budget got tighter, the agency turned to the so-called “order of selection” to limit intakes. In addition, the agency put a freeze on hiring. Currently, 21% of positions are vacant.

“It was kind of a perfect storm,” Foley said.

This year brought another fiscal twist.

Under federal regulations, states must maintain their level of funding for vocational rehabilitation or face a penalty, Foley said. Using the carryover money temporarily boosted the state’s funding level. Now Nebraska faces the possibility of losing some federal dollars for not maintaining that amount of funding.

To help the situation, Nebraska VR officials sought a $2.4 million annual increase in state funding for the two-year budget period ending June 30, 2021. The Legislature approved a $1.2 million annual increase.

Bolz, meanwhile, argued that developmentally disabled people on the waiting list should be able to get employment services paid for by developmental disability services funds. That group makes up about a quarter of the VR waiting list.

Currently, they cannot get help either way. Developmental disability funds stopped paying for employment services after the 2017 funding shift.

Millennials have sparked a sober revolution, and alcohol brands are starting to notice

It’s everywhere you look these days: #SoberCurious, #SoberIsSexy, #SoberLife and #SoberSaturday. There are sober nightclubs, sober early morning dance parties and Instagram influencers who anchor their online identities with an eschewal of alcohol.

The number of alcohol drinkers in the world has decreased by nearly 5% since 2000, according to the World Health Organization. The Beverage Information Group reports that beer sales have slumped for five years in a row.

Alcohol brands are paying attention: Diageo (the world’s second largest distiller and parent of Guinness, Smirnoff and Johnnie Walker) recently funded a nonalcoholic spirits company called Seedlip. In cities like New York and Los Angeles, it is routine for restaurants to have separate nonalcoholic drink lists, online searches with the word “mocktail” are up significantly and online magazines like the Temper have debuted to defiantly tout the benefits of a sober lifestyle.

This is not a fad buoyed by addiction and recovery stories. The millennial- and Gen Z-driven trend is seen as part of a burgeoning wellness movement, a desire to have social gatherings less focused on alcohol (and the next mornings less fuzzed by aftereffects), as well a shift toward abstemiousness more generally.

But it’s not cheap. Consumers will still spend $10 to $12 per mocktail, a drink they might suck down in two minutes. Bars and restaurants may spend more because of the food waste associated with short-lived fresh juices, “shrubs” and tinctures with fancy extracts and infusions. And there are ongoing ripples among distilleries and breweries as the industry figures out whether this is a blip or a movement with staying power.

Mixologist Dean Hurst recently designed the bar program for Lucky Cricket, the Chinese restaurant created by Andrew Zimmern in St. Louis Park, Minnesota.

“I did four nonalcoholic drinks for Lucky Cricket. They did well, but the profit wasn’t as high because by the time you get impactful flavor combinations without the strong flavors of alcohol, it ends up being really expensive. When we costed it out, it was $10 or $12 per cocktail. And that’s not even factoring in the waste of throwing away rancid fruit or juice,” he said.

Sharelle Klaus, founder of DRY, was among the early adopters, launching the company in 2005 after abstinence during four pregnancies left her feeling excluded at restaurants and on special occasions.

She introduced her line of nonalcoholic beverages with “culinary-inspired flavors” in restaurants in Seattle. Sommeliers were initially snobby, relegating DRY to the category of pop, but chefs were receptive. The drinks are now sold nationally in major grocery chains in 10 flavors and retail for $4.99 to $5.99 for a 750 milliliter bottle, a four-pack of 12 ounce glass bottles for $5.99 to $6.99 and a four-pack of slim cans for about the same price.

She says half of American drinkers say they’d like to drink less alcohol, and that goes up to two-thirds for millennial drinkers.

“Mental health is becoming a much bigger discussion point; it’s about keeping that edge and that clarity,” Klaus says. She argues that nonalcoholic social drinking can help combat the distancing effects of cellphones and social media.

“It’s about being a bit more present with your friends. Connection, people really want connection.”

Nonalcoholic beer, which chugged along with modest performers for years, has seen a resurgence, from craft brewers to Heineken, which in January launched a nonalcoholic malt beverage called 0.0.

It’s far more costly to produce a nonalcoholic beer by removing alcohol from a beer, or by keeping a nonalcoholic beer from turning into an alcoholic beer, said Philip Brandes, the founder and head brewer at Bravus Brewing Co. in Costa Mesa, California, thought to be the brewer of the first nonalcoholic craft beer.

“Initially we tried six-packs of 12 ounce cans priced comparably with other alcoholic craft beer at around $12.99,” Brandes said. “What we found is that since the category is still nascent and people weren’t aware a great-tasting nonalcoholic craft beer existed, they were hesitant to pay that much to try the product. We then moved to a four-pack of 12 ounce cans at around $8.50 and product began to fly. Same price per can, but a lower price point equated to a lower risk to the customer.”

Right now, no-alcohol brews account for just 5% of the beer market. But Brandes, citing market research that it could be a $7 billion worldwide market in about five years, said sales growth has outpaced alcoholic beer 5-to-1 over the past six years.

Jeff Stevens of WellBeing Brewing, whose soon-to-be launched Victory Citrus Wheat with natural electrolytes is somewhere between a beer and a sports drink, notes significant growth in Europe and Asia.

“Along with the ‘Dry January/Sober Curious/Mindful Drinking’ movements, I believe this market is just getting started and poised for growth,” Stevens said.

Distill Ventures, an investment company focused on entrepreneurs creating drink brands, launched a nonalcoholic drinks program in 2017, saying it believed “Non-Alc had the potential to be the most exciting category within drinks.” Many at the launch luncheon were skeptical.

Today, of the more than 15 founder-led drink brands in its portfolio, a quarter are nonalcoholic.