Looking for something to do this week? Watch the U.S. Olympic Curling Trials, meet the authors of “The Better Half” or support the Nebraska Humane Society.
Olympic Curling Trials
The nation’s best curlers are competing this week for a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team for the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea during the curling trials at Baxter Arena, 2425 S. 67th St. Sessions are: 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. today, Tuesday and Wednesday; 8:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. Thursday; and 1 and 6:30 p.m. Friday. Tickets start at $9.50 and can be purchased at the arena box office or at ticketmaster.com.
Alëna A. Balasanova, director of addictions education at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, will discuss opioids and addiction during Omaha Science Cafe at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Balasanova is a psychiatrist with an emphasis on integrated treatment for substance use disorders. She will give a presentation at Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. A question-and-answer session will follow. Admission is free. For more information, go to unmc.edu/sciencecafe.
“Better Half” book party
Hear from Omaha World-Herald food critic Sarah Baker Hansen and columnist Matthew Hansen during a book release party at Mercury, 329 S. 16th St., on Tuesday. The couple will speak about the “Better Half” project and share their Nebraska travel experiences at 6:45 p.m. A question-and-answer session will follow. Tickets, $30, are available at bit.ly/2AyCFgx and at the door. They include an autographed copy of “The Better Half” and light hors d’oeuvres.
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Richard Hart's real name: A good old-fashioned American mystery
He entered the Chicago courtroom on Sept. 21, 1951, wearing his signature white 10-gallon hat, looking like a cowboy from another time, which he was, and also was not. Ever since anybody could remember, the man in the white hat had been an outsized character in his corner of northeast Nebraska, a lawman whose real-life story seemed ripped from the yellowed script of an old Hollywood Western. Read story
Runza: The story of one of Nebraska's most treasured foods
The tale of that beloved Nebraska meat pocket — sometimes called a bierock — is about much more than a sandwich you’ve ordered in a drive-thru or inhaled during halftime of a frigid Memorial Stadium football game. Read story
Their American dream – an Indian restaurant inside a Nebraska truck stop – attracts diners from all over
At the Jay Bros., a stop along the road east of Lexington where there are no houses, there is no Subway or Starbucks, and hardly any people. There are only the Chaudharys and their most unlikely version of the American dream: a central Nebraska Punjabi-style Indian restaurant, Taste of India, inside a truck stop. Read story
At Scratchtown Brewery in Ord, Nebraska, locals drink to newfound success of once-dying town
Here, in this town of 2,100 people, three business partners — an electrician, an ex-banker and a former Omaha Chamber of Commerce exec — are brewing what may be the best craft beer in the entire state. Read story
Art made them famous. Murder shaped their lives. A hotel in Nebraska links their pasts
They both looked out this window. That’s what you think when you duck down and peer out the bedroom drapes of a nondescript stucco hotel on Cozad’s Eighth Street. Read story
Speakeasy in the ghost town: How a Nebraska native is quietly transforming his rural steakhouse into a fine dining establishment
Crunch through the gravel parking lot toward the door, push through a dim entryway and into a small bar decorated in hunter green, wood and old Nebraska Cornhuskers photos. Order yourself a barrel-aged Manhattan. A plate of house-cured pork belly. A steak so perfectly cooked and beautifully charred that you’d wager you’re somewhere in Chicago or Omaha. Read story
Howells, Nebraska, has only about 550 residents — but two Catholic churches
Howells, Nebraska, is in fact the last small town with two Catholic parishes in the entire Omaha Archdiocese. These two Catholic churches of Howells are a quirk of fate, an oddity of American immigration, a faded symbol of long-forgotten ethnic strife and also a newer symbol of this town’s persistence and cooperation. Read story
At Eat Restaurant in Dodge, Nebraska, population 600, chef serves small-town food with a big-city twist
It doesn’t quite make sense, at first, why this chef who spent most of his career cooking in Napa Valley and Sonoma, California, is running a restaurant in a Nebraska town of about 600. But once you sample the menu, it starts to become a bit more clear. Read story
Down a country road in untamed northwest Nebraska, visitors can find the opposite of city life
There is a place in Nebraska that you reach by bumping west down a dusty one-lane road, inching to your destination as the sun sets so brilliantly purple-red over the green bluffs and sand-brown peaks and valleys that you want to bring every person who ever said the state is flat and boring to this exact spot and yell, “Look!” Read story
In the most unlikely place of Lewellen, Nebraska, one family is reshaping the town through its funky business empire
Hang a left off Highway 26, enter the first Main Street business you see, and you find co-owner Cynthia Miller on roller skates, skidding to a stop at the counter to grab chicken salad sandwiches and giant slices of strawberry rhubarb pie and then gliding across the room to deliver them to hungry diners. Read story
'A food destination'? In Scottsbluff, the Emporium — 'an elegant little restaurant' — appeals to locals, visitors drawn by nearby landmarks
It’s just not locals who are wild about the Emporium. It’s caught the eye of tourists from across the U.S. and from as far as France and Australia who have come to western Nebraska to follow the Oregon Trail or see Chimney Rock. Read story
Potter, Nebraska, population 300, preserves its rich legacy as the home of the Tin Roof Sundae
This small diner in a village of 300 is where it all began. Harold Dean “Pinky” Thayer stood behind the same counter at the same soda fountain where Alaree and Max sat this summer. It’s where Thayer came up with the Nebraska-made concoction, piling those now iconic ingredients into a soda glass, and perhaps gazing up at the ceiling after his first bite. That’s how his daughter, Kathy Thayer Heine, said he came up with its name: the tin roof refers to the decorative tin tiles that still sit above Sundry diners’ heads today. Read story
20 years ago, Red Cloud, Nebraska, seemed all but dead. Now the hometown of Willa Cather is changing its fate
As a first lady speaks to a packed house in my hometown, as she praises Red Cloud’s most famous resident and then snips a ribbon officially opening the biggest thing to happen here in my lifetime, my mind keeps drifting from this surreal present to a fading teenage memory. Read story
Atkinson store keeps the holiday spirit alive all year long by offering an eclectic assortment of Christmas decorations
The disco reindeer is what got me. I had previously been on the fence about Something Special by Marilyn, the only store in Nebraska featuring two floors and roughly 4,500 square feet of small-town retail space jam-packed with Christmas trees, Christmas ornaments, Christmas villages, Christmas Santas, Christmas baby Jesuses, Christmas Magi and virtually everything you ever needed or did not need in order to celebrate a very merry Christmas. Read story
The 'oldest tavern in the state,' locally owned Columbus bar hasn’t changed much since 1876
Glur’s, named for second owner Louis Glur, has been family owned for most of its 141 years in business. And though its past certainly touches on Nebraska’s cowboy era, it’s beloved today not just for its place in history but also because it’s still run by a local. Open the squeaky old door and you’ll still find a place that provides townies with a cheap cheeseburger and a cold beer any night of the week, just as it always has. Read story
2 Holt County friends craft copper mugs, sell them online, forging potential path for rural Nebraska
“We couldn’t do this in Brooklyn,” Matt says. “I don’t even know if we could do this in Omaha. … Here you go down to the hardware store, the guy works with you, talks to you about your business for 15 minutes, slaps you on the back and tells you he hopes to buy a set soon. The small-town support is what helped make this real.” Read story
At annual Nebraska Star Party, astronomers gather in Sand Hills for an unobstructed view
In 2017, perfect stargazing is as rare as a surfer’s killer wave or a sommelier’s perfect bottle of wine. But the Nebraska Star Party is the astronomer’s version of the Oahu waves or the vineyards of Bordeaux. Read story
With no experience, family keeps hotel, cafe and small Nebraska town from shutting down
That dedication can be expected from Mandy and her husband, Dale, who, with no experience in either hotels or restaurants, took over the architectural gem to ensure it stays open — and Bassett, population 562, stays on the map. Read story
Norden Barn Dance, a 117-year-old tradition, is a two-step back in time for locals and visitors
The beer is ice cold and $2. The dance floor is getting crowded with rosy-cheeked ranch hands and two-steppin’ grannies and city slickers who earlier today were tubing the Niobrara. For the 117th year in a row — the 87th year inside this very barn — Keya Paha County is hosting a barn dance. It does, indeed, feel like a cure for whatever ails you. Read story
'This is the last frontier': At a 5,000-acre organic ranch in Nebraska's Sand Hills, the buffalo still roam
Dave’s way of life, the land he owns and the food he raises have attracted the attention of tourists from as far away as Europe, who want to take in a slice of the Plains; of healthy eaters, who track Dave down to learn his ways; and of chefs, who come to Dave for the bison meat. Read story
Thanks to immigrant families, Lincoln's Vietnamese food scene is thriving
Lincoln’s Vietnamese dining scene is second to none, thanks to families who immigrated to Nebraska decades ago and opened restaurants to support their own community. Now those spots support the whole capital city with soup, banh mi sandwiches, tea and hospitality. Read story
Omaha left South 24th Street for dead. Now a new generation of immigrants has it booming again
This street was long ago wounded by the demise of its biggest industry — the biggest stockyard in the world — and its main reason to exist. It was long ago abandoned by department stores and taverns, and long ago fled by the grandchildren of immigrants who moved to Hanscom Park or Millard or Papillion. Omaha left South 24th for dead decades ago. And yet, in 2017, it is oh-so alive. Read story
World-Herald food writer answers her most-asked question, 'What's your favorite restaurant?'
My favorite restaurant smells like sourdough starter, candle smoke and some unidentifiable, slightly stale scent that wafts in from the Old Market alley. In the summer, it’s a warm breeze on the patio, a glass of cold rosé and my favorite saffron rice and baked salmon. In the winter, it’s all twinkling Christmas lights and colorful ornaments dangling from the ceiling, with red Bordeaux and hearty boeuf bourguignon. Read story
Learn how to make homemade pizza during this cooking class on Wednesday hosted by City Sprouts at 4002 Seward St. The class is from 6 to 8 p.m. Admission is free.
Humane Society benefit
Thunderhead Brewing Taproom, 13304 West Center Road, will host a Nebraska Humane Society fundraiser on Thursday. Eat pizza from Spin Neapolitan Pizza and drink beer from Thunderhead at the event from 4 to 7 p.m. Bring a product donation, such as blankets, dog and cat toys or food, and get two raffle tickets. Admission, $10, includes food and one drink.
See the holiday lights come on at Bayliss Park in Council Bluffs on Thursday. Drink hot chocolate, eat cookies and take pictures with Santa at this annual event, starting at 6 p.m.