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Ever see a stampede on ice?

Our college sports circle is bustling with action – from Creighton University, which joined the Big East Conference in 2013, to the University of Nebraska Omaha and its history-making Maverick hockey team.

The UNO squad, which had more freshmen on the roster than seniors and juniors combined, made its first appearance at the NCAA Frozen Four in April 2015, a run few expected at the start of the season. While the Division I Mavs fell short of the championship, they still brought a whole new level of credibility to our hockey scene.

In October 2015, the Mavs made history again as the first team to play in UNO’s $82 million Baxter Arena. The 7,500-seat facility serves UNO’s basketball and volleyball teams and the community at large and plays an important role in helping to recruit top athletes.

Iowa Western Community College has established itself as a local sports powerhouse. The Reivers won the NJCAA Division I Baseball Championship in 2014. They returned to the NJCAA World Series in 2015 but fell short of earning a back-to-back title. the Reivers football team generated plenty of excitement last season as well, playing in the NJCAA National Championship Game.

A former Reivers standout continued his upward arc from small-school prep star to NFL prospect in 2015. Quarterback Jake Waters agreed to a free-agent contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

This piece was an excerpt from Omaha: We Don’t Coast magazine, published by the Greater Omaha Chamber and the Omaha World-Herald. For more stories, click here

 

 

Posted in We Win |

Make it a point to do the little things that make the big difference

Poverty is no longer the bitter after-taste of the Great Depression as it was in the 1960’s. There has been a history of poverty through America that in past times has been the person or family living without homes in urban areas. Maybe you think they are panhandling, junkies and such. At least that has been the image that has been seared into brains through popular films and news. Today’s poor are people working multiple jobs, veterans and others who deserve to have their stories told with dignity, depth and dimension. The fact is – we can all be susceptible to life’s many downfalls and complex issues.

The fact is – we can all be susceptible to life’s
many downfalls and complex issues.

During the yearlong “Out of Frame” production, a documentary I produced about the working poor, we followed four Omaha residents from varied different backgrounds. All faced certain circumstances or hurdles that led to a lifetime of ripples and instability. Are they sitting around collecting checks, waiting for someone else to fix their issues? Not at all. They all love to work and strive to be self-sufficient, but due to life issues – health, family deaths, injuries, past criminal records – they continue to struggle. I became friends with these people and could relate. I, too, lived in poverty most of my childhood, raised by a single mother who came from a poverty-stricken home herself.

These people are not just another statistic…
simply giving money to someone isn’t the fix.

As I worked on this project, it was moving to see the resilience of those we followed. I realized two things: these people are not just another statistic and they forced me to be more awake, more compassionate, more empathetic. I learned that simply giving money to someone isn’t the fix. The government, your place of religious practice or local nonprofit is part of the solution – but not the solution. Go figure, right? I believe, from all I have personally been through and through this film process, that it will take us all to be true community.

We can’t rest when it comes to
finding solutions to this continued problem.

We are a community that has committed itself to not coasting. We can’t rest when it comes to finding solutions to this continued problem. How can you help? What is your special gift? Is it cooking, helping build a house, giving a ride, or teaching someone a trade or craft? Maybe you’re in a position to hire a neighbor to do some work. Let’s try, each and every one of us, to make it a point to do the little things that make the big difference – to not only ‘see’ the invisible poor but to take action to raise them up and help them improve their situations.

For details about the film and to get involved visit.
OutOfFramDocumentary.com or TogetherOmaha.org

–  Jason Fischer, Director/Producer of “Out of Frame,” produced in partnership with the nonprofit Together Inc.

Posted in We Care |

Respect the Local

…we often look to other cities with respect
to their scenes, all the while not realizing that
their eyes are often focused on us.

My city has long had a great relationship with music — indie, mainstream or otherwise. We create it, support it, enjoy it to the fullest and still we often look to other cities with respect to their scenes, all the while not realizing that their eyes are often focused on us. Perhaps that’s simply the nature of being in, or from, any one place for any substantial span of time. I’ve heard it said that “everyone is local, somewhere.” Yes. And that is where a bit of magic often happens; when someone who has made a name for themselves can still understand to respect the “local” — everywhere they go.

A perfect example is veteran hip-hop artist, Murs. Hailing from the entertainment capital of Los Angeles, Murs is an artist like many you’ve heard of – he creates and performs rap music. But he is one of the few left who understands that hip-hop is more than music and popular radio plays, it is a culture. Therein lies the difference when an artist plays music like any other, but shares culture. Murs has made a name for himself over a long career of doing it his way; often times fully independent, while other times making alliances with major labels, tours and festivals to bring more of the subculture to larger audiences. But in all, he’s never lost credibility with his core audience. How? Respect for the local, everywhere.

Respect the local, everywhere.

His shows are most often set at venues that supported him before being widely known. His opening acts are many times local, up-and-coming artists hailing from the cities he plays, his own hometown, or—in many cases—an artist he picked up like a stray along the way because believes in their talent. There is no gaudy display of self-importance and no useless mass of bodies that most rappers would call an “entourage,” though serving little more purpose than re-enactment of high school lunch room shenanigans, on and off stage. Murs shows the locals a bit more respect. I’ve seen him ride in on a tricked-out tour bus, and roll thru ‘The ONE’ in a minivan, all the same. And each time, the show is lit, the talent is legit and personal connection seems more heightened each time.

At a recent show, on a cold and icy Sunday night, he comes out on stage to a smaller crowd than usual and tells his DJ “Forget the playlist, I’m glad to see those who made it out, so let’s just take requests.” This man just gave us a private show, and trust — those of us who did attend came unglued with excitement… and appreciation.

This man just gave us a private show, and trust — those of us who did attend came unglued with excitement…and appreciation.

I once gifted Murs with one of my popular “OMAGOODNESS” tees to show my own personal appreciation for the love he shows Omaha with each visit. A year later, he returned for another performance, and after the first song is done, he’s a bit hot under the lights so he tears off his hoodie revealing the same t-shirt I gave him. Yeah… that’s respecting the local.

-Steve Gordon, RDQLUS Creative 

Posted in We Entertain |

Super Venues, Superstar Lineups

Country legend Garth Brooks got a record-setting reception in May when nearly 100,000 enthusiastic fans turned out for six concerts over four days at CenturyLink Center Omaha.

“Unbelievable,” Brooks silently mouthed as he stepped to the lip of the stage and took in the cheers and screams that crashed over him on opening night.

Whether it’s Brooks or Taylor Swift, or Barry Manilow, Lady Gaga, George Strait or Motley Crue, we have a reputation for live music, going on after the mega-popular artists showing up for the party.

  • Ten of 2014’s top 200 national tours stopped at CenturyLink Center Omaha, which ranks among the top 100 area venues worldwide.
  • Among worldwide venues, Omaha’s Orpheum Theater ranked No. 52 and our Holland Performing Arts Center, home to the Omaha Symphony, ranked No. 143.  “We continually strive to be a destination for the very best performers and productions, whether they’re national Broadway tours, popular comedies, world-renowned dance troupes or well-known musicians,” says Joan Squires, president of Omaha Performing Arts Center. OPA celebrates its 10th season in 2015-2016.

This piece was an excerpt from Omaha: We Don’t Coast magazine, published by the Greater Omaha Chamber and the Omaha World-Herald. For more stories, click here

Posted in We Entertain |

Turn it up.

If it’s too loud, then you’re too old. Turn it up.

Posted in We Entertain |

From Basement Beginnings to Upscale Digs in 365 Days Flat

Nick Huff and Brandon Beed launched Hutch, a vintage furniture and home accessories shop, in an Old Market basement in May 2013. They moved their curated collection to Midtown Crossing just two months later and then quadrupled their square footage in a prime location in the same development in just over a year.

A roomier store – named for their first piece of secondhand furniture the twosome acquired for resale – means plenty of space for Hutch’s signature midcentury-style offerings and the introduction of brand partnerships with 20 local makers specializing in furniture, ceramics, candles, soaps and original art.

“It’s really all about making our store reflect how customers want their homes to look and how they want to feel in them,” Huff says.

He and Beed attribute the store’s rapid growth to their ability to share ideas and take risks.

“Brandon and I have ideas that are always 10 steps ahead of where we are. It’s been fun seeing where our ideas lead us and how we figure out how to make it all happen,” Huff says.

This piece was an excerpt from Omaha: We Don’t Coast magazine, published by the Greater Omaha Chamber and the Omaha World-Herald.

For more stories, click here

Posted in We Launch |

Fancy that.

Some call it shopping. We call it bringing out your “you.” Our inventory of clothing stores is broad enough to suit all styles – whether you’re partial to one-of-a-kind boutiques, national retailers or outfitters that support active lifestyles.

Boutiques
Our blossoming boutique scene earned a “shout out” from Shoptiques.com, an e-commerce site that links shoppers to boutiques around the world. Midtown Crossing, which boasts The Ugly Sister Boutique, Me & Me and Atomic Bombshells, is featured prominently in Shoptiques’ neighborhoods section, which touts us as “the best location in the Midwest for trendy fashion shopping, fine dining and entertainment.”

A sampling of our unique boutiques also includes:

High-end Retail
If your tastes tilt more to the sky-end of the shopping spectrum, our indoor and outdoor shopping centers have you impeccably covered:

Outfitters
We don’t just shop for sport here. We also shop to sport – and to look good while doing it.
Go on safari for outfitters in our area and you’ll find:

This piece was an excerpt from Omaha: We Don’t Coast magazine, published by the Greater Omaha Chamber and the Omaha World-Herald.
For more stories, click here

Posted in We Live |

On Tap: Original Pours

Posted in We Toast |

I am not alone here. I found a tribe and that made it home.

 

I grew up in a small Nebraska town. I didn’t dream a lot and I remember often feeling very alone. What I did have was a lot of ambition and a desire to do something big and meaningful with my life.

I essentially ran away two weeks after graduating high school to attend the Art Institute in Colorado. Suddenly I found myself living in the Capitol Hill district in downtown Denver. More alone than ever, I could count my Denver friends on one hand. We were all busy trying to be ‘artists’ and make it in the big city. I managed to miss out on the chance to get a fake ID with the rest of my underage classmates. Lucky for me, I didn’t really have much time to socialize (insert sarcasm here) between a nightshift waitress job and school.

Opportunity was slow to come after graduating. After a few years of struggling, I found myself in Omaha.

Here, I had a sincere opportunity to grow my career. I have a job where I get to do big, meaningful things and I love what I do.

But that’s not what I care most about.

Most importantly, I’ve found people here – a ‘tribe’.
My tribe does not all look like me or think like me.
They do not all believe in the same things I do.

They have my back, but I damn sure better be doing the right things. They challenge me to be better.

My tribe does not all know each other, but I know all of them. There is one thing we all have in common – we do things that make a difference, that help and provide opportunity for other people. From little things like helping transport kids around to activities or simply grabbing them from daycare if we are running late from work. To big things like addressing issues of poverty in the community, or providing access and help to those with disabilities, or trying to connect the generational gap so we can all better understand one another.

Those efforts, big and small, make this place – Omaha, a place my tribe all wants to be. And a place we all now feel passionate about.

They are there for me, and I am there for them,
we are there for others.

They are there for me, and I am there for them, and we are there for others.

I am not alone here. I found a tribe in Omaha and that made it home. This place is amazing – because the people you find here make it so.

Kim Sellmeyer, Creative Director – Greater Omaha Chamber

Posted in We Grow, We Live |

Omaha education in one “juicy” word? Stupendous.

SchoolsSized

I volunteer at my daughter’s school every Thursday afternoon. Right now, we’re working with the kids on descriptive writing: What sounds do you hear at an Omaha Storm Chasers game? How does a chocolate waffle taste? What does your puppy’s fur feel like when you pet it? Her teacher pushes his third graders to carefully organize their thoughts, develop them in stages – and use “juicy” words to express them.

Inevitably, I leave class every Thursday feeling rejuvenated, reassured the future is in good hands. These kids have great ideas and write enthusiastically. Beyond that, they’re learning new ways to approach math problems and they’re immersing themselves in technology – in terms of projects and learning platforms. They participate in discussions, are generally well-behaved and respect each other’s opinions.

My parents, based on their media outlets of choice, think our nation’s public schools are in a full-blown state of disaster. Not in my neighborhood, I tell my Mom – just the opposite. I see teachers who are committed, innovative and caring. The principal knows names and parents are involved. (If you’ve never witnessed the smooth execution of an elementary school lunch period, you should – it’s a sight to behold.)

My wife and I have made some questionable calls during our 20 years of marriage – the convertible Mustang when a Honda Civic would have sufficed? Yeah… I remember that – but we’ve never second guessed where we planted ourselves and by extension, how our three kids – one in elementary school, one in middle school, one in high school – are now being educated. How would I describe our experience with Omaha education? I can think of one “juicy” word: Stupendous.

-Dan McCann

Posted in We Inspire |