Posted inNews

Soccer and Small Businesses: The Simple Foundation Invests in Omaha’s Immigrant and Refugee Youth

Before five o’clock on any given weeknight, the South Omaha building at 3003 Q St. is relatively quiet. Then the kids start to arrive. Some come by bus from North and South Omaha neighborhoods; others get dropped off by family or walk over from their homes at the neighboring Southside Terrace Apartments, Omaha’s largest public […]

Posted inCulture

November Notes

Some notable events hit at the beginning of the month. There’s a benefit for Lincoln guitarist Benjamin Kushner on Friday, Nov. 4, 5:30-8:30 p.m., at The B. Bar. Kushner plays with both Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal and Mezcal Brothers. Alt rock fans will recognize Kushner as a former guitarist for The Millions. Kushner is […]

Posted inVisual Arts

Ofrendas De Corazón at the Benson Theatre

The Mexican American Historical Society of the Midlands, or MAHSM, will celebrate Día de Muertos at the Benson Theatre, 6054 Maple St., this Wednesday, Nov. 2. Ofrendas De Corazón runs from 7 to 9 p.m. and includes verbal ofrendas, poetry, music and dance performances from more than forty contributors to celebrate and honor people’s loved […]

Posted inCulture


Sunday, Oct. 23, 8 p.m., $35 GA to $600 VIP boothBarnato, 225 N 170th St #100, Austin supergroup Shinyribs is self-described as “a sonic melting pot of Texas blues, New Orleans R&B funk, horn-driven Memphis soul, country twang, border music, big band swing, and roots-rock.” The band is led by vocalist-songwriter-guitarist Kevin Russell, commanding […]

Posted inCulture

Dance-Floor Fix

A recent weekend of music at Lincoln’s historic Zoo Bar reminded me how much serious, national-level talent we have locally. Matt Cox & The Marauders played the early show on a Friday, Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal played the late show that night and an early show the next. These are two of the best […]

Posted inEconomy

Nebraska’s Next Governor

Nearly eight years ago, in his inaugural address, Gov. Pete Ricketts pointed to the challenges Nebraska faces in creating jobs. “There’s a barrier to creating jobs here in the state. And it’s Nebraska’s high taxes. We must cut taxes,” Ricketts said. In April 2022, Ricketts signed into law a $900 million tax cut that lowers […]

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Competitive District 2: Voters Weigh Inflation, Jobs as Vargas Challenges Bacon for Congress

Araceli Guzman takes a breath and knocks on a door near 32nd Ave. and Martha St. in Omaha’s Hanscom Park neighborhood. The morning sun reflects off her wide-brimmed hat and neon green vest as she waits for someone to walk to the door, but she’s met with silence. Then she knocks again. Finally, the door […]

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While Fewer Nebraska Children Live In Poverty, New Data Report Shows “A Long Way To Go” For Racial Equity

In 2020 a little more than 12% of Nebraska kids —  or 56,828 children — lived in poverty, down for the eighth consecutive year since the state’s child poverty rate neared 18% in 2013. But a new report shows while fewer Nebraska children live in poverty, children of color continue to grow up poor at […]

Posted inMusic

Soul Connections

There are plenty of great club shows filling the early fall schedule, starting with the Blues Society of Omaha weekly shows that rotate among several venues this month. Thursday, Sept. 1, 6-9 p.m., Omaha’s own Nate Bray & The Soul Supremes perform at The Strut. Thursday, Sept. 8, 6-9 p.m., it’s the Brotherhood Tour featuring […]

Posted inNews

Omaha GED Classes Open Doors, Help Immigrant Parents Support Kids In School

This story was first published in El Perico, The Reader’s Spanish-English sister publication. Read the original story in English and Spanish. Patricia Paniagua drove home from Metro Community College in early May feeling nervous. After almost two years of studies, the 41-year-old mother of three had just taken an hour-long math test, the fourth and […]

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Omaha Opens Pandemic Rental Assistance to All, Regardless of Citizenship. Here’s How to Apply.

All Omaha renters hurt by the pandemic can now apply for emergency rental assistance regardless of their citizenship or U.S. legal status. The City of Omaha reversed its legal position last week Wednesday on who can receive the federal Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) money, removing citizenship as a qualification for the rental and utility relief […]

Posted inCulture

Hot, Hot, Hot

If you are an Eastern Nebraska blues fan, chances are that Lincoln’s Zoo Bar had something to do with your discovery of the music. Even if you’ve never made it to the club. If you went to blues shows at Omaha’s old Howard Street Tavern or Kansas City’s Grand Emporium, you felt the impact of […]

Posted inNews

OPD Officer On Paid Leave, Investigation Into Use of Force In Juvenile Arrest

An Omaha police officer has been placed on paid administrative leave pending an internal investigation to examine his use of force during the arrest of a young boy Tuesday, according to the Omaha police department. Social media posts and witnesses say the child was 12 years old. Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said he placed […]

Posted inNews

OPS Board of Education Approves Proposed Stipends for Staff as Teacher Shortage Continues

This story is part of (DIS)Invested — a longterm Reader investigation into Omaha’s inequities. *** The Omaha Public Schools Board of Education has approved amendments to the district’s federal pandemic relief funds, including a proposal to put funds towards stipends for full-time staff and part-time staff in the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school year. At a nearly three-hour […]

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While Teachers Need Support Now, Programs Strengthen the Future of Teaching

This story is part of (DIS)Invested — a longterm Reader investigation into Omaha’s inequities. *** Editor’s note: At the time this story originally published in The Reader‘s June print issue, the Omaha Public Schools district had not allocated ESSER, or Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief, funds toward teacher pay. The online story has been updated to […]

Posted inNews

“We are Tired, We Feel Used”: Ahead of Staff Exodus, OPS Teachers Demand Action From Board

This story is part of (DIS)Invested — a longterm Reader investigation into Omaha’s inequities. *** Adam Byers didn’t have “a fraction of the support” he feels he should have as a first-year teacher in his Omaha Public Schools classroom this year. That’s why he’s resigning from the district, he told the board of education in a meeting […]

Posted inEducation

OPS Board Approves Revisions to Code of Conduct to Address Serious Fights, Gender Neutral Language

Students in the Omaha Public Schools will have a revised code of conduct in the next school year. In an hour and a half long meeting at the OPS Teacher Administration Center Monday night, all nine members of the OPS Board of Education approved the second reading of the code of conduct. Under the revised […]

Posted inMultimedia

Building “The Good Life” For All Nebraskans, Not Just Some

Cammy Watkins and Maggie Wood believe honest conversations about equity and inclusion in Nebraska’s schools and businesses — and in everyday life — can help create The Good Life for all Nebraskans, not just some. They are the co-executive directors of Inclusive Communities, a nonprofit organization providing advocacy and education around diversity and equity in […]

Posted inNews

How One Omaha High School Addresses Chronic Absenteeism

This story is part of (DIS)Invested — a longterm Reader investigation into Omaha’s inequities. *** Editor’s note: The Omaha Street School refrained from sharing students’ last names to protect their privacy. For the first half of her freshman year, Mercy had her routine down at Omaha South High School. She’d go to one class to be marked […]

Posted inNews

Omaha Public Schools Board Makes Masks Optional

The Omaha Public Schools Board of Education approved a resolution to drop the district-wide mask mandate at Thursday night’s board meeting, making it optional to wear masks in OPS buildings as of Friday. Teachers, students, parents and OPS staff sat in the Teacher Administration Center building, 3215 Cuming St., on Thursday to hear the board’s […]

Posted inNews

White Student Enrollment Slides in OPS, Nearby Districts

This story is part of (DIS)Invested — a longterm Reader investigation into Omaha’s inequities. *** When the pandemic shut down in-person and virtual classes for Omaha Public Schools in March 2020, Jenelle Emory would sit in her home with her daughters —  a first grader and a kindergartener at Adams Elementary — and walk through the packet […]

Posted inMusic

Fiery Music Forecast

Héctor Anchondo’s first trip to Memphis for the 2015 International Blues Challenge was the inspiration for In the Market for Blues, an Old-Market-based, multi-venue, multi-band event that has grown exponentially each year. The festival is now supported by the Blues Society of Omaha and a variety of sponsors. After a year off with pandemic closures, […]

Posted inMovies

Apocalypse Nah

A democracy is only as strong as the ability of the public to form a consensus, which requires thoughtful discussion. Sadly, persuasion isn’t just a dying art, it’s been intentionally euthanized. “Knock at the Cabin” is a movie about a small group of people who desperately need to convince another small group of people to […]

Posted inMovies

The Best Films of 2022

A sign that cinematic output has been throttled and distribution channels are at least modestly improving, for the first time in 20 years I actually saw every flick on my “must watch before I make my best of 2022 list” list. Even though I wait until the February issue to drop this list, typically at […]

Posted inNews

Unlikely champs: NorthStar, program for North Omaha boys, wins lacrosse title

It happened on a late spring Saturday afternoon in Omaha.  The cool mid-May breeze caused the fans ringing Westside High School’s modest football field to curl up under their blankets and jackets. They watched, peering through the late afternoon sun, as 16 high school lacrosse players made history.  The NorthStar lacrosse team, a group of […]

Posted inNews

New Prison Report Recommends Not Just One New Prison, but Another 1,500 Beds in a Decade

This story was originally published by the Nebraska Examiner. LINCOLN — Before 2030, Nebraska will need another 1,500 prison beds, even after building a $350-million, 1,500-bed replacement for the aging State Penitentiary in Lincoln, a new report says. The long-awaited Facility Master Plan for the Nebraska Department of Corrections states that after the new prison […]

Posted inNews

Nebraska Voter ID Bill Revised before Lengthy Public Hearing That Draws Mostly Foes

This story was originally published on the Nebraska Examiner. LINCOLN — An amendment to a proposed voter ID law, one that calls for mail-in voters to see a notary, was among points that drew fire during a public hearing Wednesday that stretched nearly six hours. “It’s full of flaws and bureaucratic B.S.,” Jaden Perkins, a […]

Posted inNews

Cardiac-Activity Abortion Ban Bill Draws Hundreds to Nebraska Capitol

This story was originally published by the Nebraska Examiner LINCOLN — Proponents and opponents were given three hours each Wednesday to argue over State Sen. Joni Albrecht’s bill aimed at outlawing abortions in Nebraska after an ultrasound detects embryonic cardiac activity. Hundreds in an overflow crowd waited hours to testify for two or three minutes […]

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Omaha Superintendent, Other School Officials, Say Governor’s Revenue Cap Would Harm Education

This story was originally published be the Nebraska Examiner LINCOLN — Gov. Jim Pillen’s plan to further restrict spending by local school boards ran into opposition and concerns Wednesday from school district representatives. During a public hearing on Legislative Bill 589, education representatives, including Cheryl Logan, superintendent of the Omaha Public Schools, said his plan […]