Tag Archives: From the Editor

From the Editor-Best of Omaha 2019

November 12, 2018 by

Great stories are built from passion. I should know, I read a lot of great stories—nonfiction stories at the magazine, and fiction stores in the comfort of my home.

Best of Omaha is, in itself, a great story. The magazine published its first publicly-voted list in 1992, when my hair added at least three inches to my stature, and included such categories as “Best Place to Buy CDs and Tapes.” While the first-place winner, Homer’s, is still around, the category is not. And regardless of Pepsi’s efforts in the late 1970s and early 1980s to become the cola of choice with the “Cola Wars” campaign, Pepsi and Coca-Cola tied for first place in the category “Best Soda.”

The readers responded positively to the contest, and it became an annual feature of the magazine, expanding with a variety of categories each year. In 1995, the winners for “Best Known Omahan” were Warren Buffett, Willie Theisen, and Mrs. B. It would be interesting to see if Warren Buffett tops that list today. Conor Oberst, who started Bright Eyes in 1995, might give him a run for his money.

As the years progressed, the contest grew, and the listing went from publication inside Omaha Magazine to being one of the magazine’s eight annual issues. Today’s contest includes many categories that nobody would have thought of in the early 1990s, such as “Best Yoga Studio.” I was introduced to yoga in the mid-1990s via videotape, and outside of my university town, this practice was…well…not practiced much.

In other instances, the categories remain the same, but the winners from the first year are long gone. Ross’ Steak House won Best Steakhouse in 1992. The family-owned restaurant closed in 1996. In fact, only one of this year’s winners in the “Steakhouse” category was operating in Omaha in 1992.

The 300 categories in the following pages represent hours of hard work and passion—starting with voters, who told us their choices throughout the months of July and August. It is the work and passion of the staff, who sold advertisements and listings, photographed the images, and designed the pages. And we hope reading it is an act of enjoyment for you.

See the full list of 2019 winners here: https://omahamagazine.com/articles/best-of-omaha-2019/

After Lights Out, Gene Leahy Mall Demolition to Begin

October 24, 2018 by
Photography by Doug Meigs

Downtown Omaha turns extra magical the evening of Nov. 22, thanks to the annual ceremony for the Holiday Lights Festival. Festive lights will illuminate the mall until New Year’s Day.

The mall’s next transformation will follow the lights turning off, with the scenic landscape rising to street level. Demolition of the Gene Leahy Mall is scheduled to begin in the spring.

The mall’s sunken green slopes and paths leading down to the lagoon will disappear under a pile of dirt and new amenities, according to the current master plan for the Missouri Riverfront Revitalization Project (available at riverfrontrevitalization.com).

The famous American landscape architect Lawrence Halprin designed the mall in the ’60s, in conjunction with Omaha-based architectural firm BVH. Then known as the “Central Park Mall,” it was the first phase of City Planning Director Alden Aust’s vision for Omaha’s “return to the river,” an initiative funded by federal grants and informed by public consultation.

The Gene Leahy Mall is one of five areas targeted by the current public-private Missouri Riverfront Revitalization Project. Total cost for the project (including the mall) is anticipated at $290 million (with the bulk of funding coming from private and philanthropic investment). Mayor Jean Stothert has committed the city to $50 million on the project, which includes Lewis & Clark Landing and Heartland of America Park in Omaha. The rest of the development spans the Council Bluffs side of the Missouri River. 

Proponents of flattening the Gene Leahy Mall argue the mall in its current form disconnects the Old Market from north downtown and various developments there: the Holland Performing Arts Center, CHI Health Center Omaha, the new Capitol District area, and other proposed developments (including Kiewit’s new headquarters).

Flattening the mall, advocates say, will make the area safer for police to monitor while also creating more space for amenities and programming. In turn, the altered space will help make downtown more attractive for developers and residents, while also helping local corporations attract and retain talent. 

But the plan is not universally accepted by the community. Gary Bowen was one of the architects at BVH working with Halprin’s office to conceptualize and construct the Gene Leahy Mall. He applauds most of the Missouri Riverfront Revitalization’s master plan, but is concerned about the demolition of the mall outlined in the master plan announced June 12. 

“The remaining portion of the current proposed plan [east of the mall] is appropriate and worth the investment. That is the part of our downtown that needs help,” Bowen says. “But the Leahy Mall needs to be updated—not scrapped—to respond to the changing scene downtown.”

Bowen worked with Omaha Parks & Recreation staff and the Downtown Improvement District to create a 2014 proposal to update the mall (proposing the addition of an amphitheater, new activity spaces, an enlarged playground, and an additional pedestrian bridge across the mall). But the plans stalled without action from the city.

The 2014 plan from BVH would have preserved the integrity of the green space and lagoon while adding the new amenities at a projected cost of $20 million. Instead, the city pursued a less comprehensive update for $1.8 million that removed the mall’s walled sidewalk barriers to improve visibility for the sake of public safety.

“The original cost of creating the Gene Leahy mall exceeded $20 million. In today’s dollars, that value would be approximately $45-50 million, inflated at a modest 3 percent annually,” Bowen says. “To throw away that investment and add another proposed amount, will the end result justify that kind of cost? I think not.”

He continues: “The mall has become an iconic symbol of Omaha. How many times do we see it pictured on a website, a postcard, a calendar? People get married there, and people come from all over to enjoy the natural beauty. The current scenario seems eerily familiar to the attempt to take Elmwood Park for UNO parking, or taking Jobbers Canyon for ConAgra.”

But short of any public outcry in support of the mall’s conservation, the Gene Leahy Mall’s fate seems certain—buried. 

Read more of Bowen’s counterpoint to plans to demolish the Gene Leahy Mall online
here: https://omahamagazine.com/articles/goodbye-gene-leahy-mall/).

More Omaha Magazine Headlines

Omaha Magazine Joins CRMAs

Omaha Magazine is a new member of the City and Regional Magazine Association. Members must have an audited circulation (the audit period can take up to 15 months) and maintain editorial independence from advertisers.

Best of Omaha Soirée
(Thursday, Nov. 8)

Join us in celebrating winners of the Best of Omaha contest. The event will feature food and beverages from winners, and live entertainment. Location: Omaha Design Center. Dress code: business chic. Age restriction: 21 and older. Ticket price: $60 VIP (6-7 p.m. pre-entry with free valet parking), $40 general admission (7-10 p.m.). Purchase tickets at localstubs.com.

This article was printed in the November/December 2018 edition of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Honoring Veterans

September 18, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Two years ago, my husband and I met a group of friends from Iowa City at Elk Rock State Park near Knoxville, Iowa, for a “meet in the middle” excursion. I made the mistake of booking sites for the six of us at the equestrian campground, which featured well-maintained trails that nearly every other camper, all horse owners, made use of that weekend.

Knoxville happens to be my hometown, so while in the area, we paid a visit to my parents. Upon explaining to them where we camped, my father said, “I think that was some of my guys who originally created those horse trails.”

‘My guys’ refers to veterans. My father was a psychologist for the VA Medical Center in Knoxville for 40 years.

These veterans came together to create trails at a state-run park that could be used by anyone, just as they came together during conflicts to fight for the U.S. They felt a sense of purpose and honor in coming together for the common good. This sense of honor, especially, is a trait that many veterans carry into the working world.

Veterans Day falls on Nov. 11, and as a way of saying, “thank you,” we have created features in this edition of B2B that are dedicated to honoring veterans. We spotlight two former servicemen who became entrepreneurs, we explain some legal considerations with employing National Guard members, and we help employers translate some of the great qualifications a soldier has from “government speak” to the business world.

Also, we at Omaha Magazine are creating a special event that will be perfect for networking. Learn more about the Best of Omaha Soirée (Nov. 8) in our “After Hours” department. I hope to see you there.

This letter was printed in the October/November 2018 edition of B2B. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Daisy Hutzell-Rodman is the managing editor of B2B, a publication of Omaha Magazine LTD. She can be reached at daisy@omahamagazine.com.


August 20, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

We Don’t Coast. That’s the official slogan of Omaha.

Here at Omaha Magazine, we don’t coast so hard that we will announce the 2019 winners of the city’s definitive “Best Of” contest in November 2018.

Although subscribers will receive the complete Best of Omaha book by January—with nearly 350 categories—you can catch a sneak peek of the winners list at the Best of Omaha Soirée on Thursday, Nov. 8 at the Omaha Design Center. 

It is going to be a fancy evening of celebrating the Best of Omaha. The dress code is business-chic. But everyone age 21 and older is invited to join the party. Purchase tickets at localstubs.com. 

From 7-10 p.m., folks can enjoy food from Best of Omaha winners, entertainment from a DJ and circus performances, and two drink tokens free with event admission; there will also be a cash bar. The evening will kick off at 6 p.m. with a special VIP networking hour with free-flowing liquor, wine, and beer. 

The Best of Omaha Soirée will take the place of the Best of Omaha Festival that we hosted for four years (2014-2017). We might bring the festival back again in later years. For now, however, we wanted to try a fresh approach to celebrating the Best of Omaha for 2019. After all, these businesses don’t coast. And neither do we. 

“We Don’t Coast” is not a rip on less landlocked locales, according to the brand explanation from the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce (the impetus for the brand). We don’t begrudge those wayward Omahans who have found success away from Home-aha.

Look no further than Adam Devine and Sarah Rose Summers. These superstars from Omaha have achieved international celebrity status. Devine is a big-shot comedian and actor returning to his hometown for a Netflix comedy special (to be filmed at the Orpheum this fall). Summers, aka Miss Nebraska, was crowned Miss USA in May. (She will be vying for the Miss Universe title in December.)

Their stories—and much more—are featured in the full city edition of Omaha Magazine sold at local bookstores and mailed to subscribers. 

This September/October issue, in fact, is full of stories about Omahans with coastal tendencies. Look no further than the Arts + Culture section; we profile Q. Smith (a North High School grad making waves on Broadway) and Omaha-based artist Stephen Cornelius Roberts (who has exhibited work on both coasts). 

All of these Omahans have made their city proud, and they don’t coast when it comes to resting on their laurels. 

The “We Don’t Coast” slogan is wonderful for social media hashtags emphasizing what Omahans do great: #WeDontCoast #WeCreateOpportunitiesWhereverWeGo.

To see how the slogan works so well, consider #WeDontCoast #WeImpact. The hashtag campaign was associated with the Omaha Chamber’s #24HoursOfImpact campaign on July 27, which Omaha Magazine staff joined. We bought school supplies and donated cash to the nonprofit Completely KIDS. 

This hashtag formula makes a great shareable gimmick for any campaign, i.e., #WeDontCoast #WeInsertVerbHere.

But sometimes, I’ll admit, I do wish Omaha would lift its foot off the gas pedal and coast for a bit. Especially when it comes to our notorious “talent” in dealing with historic properties. City and civic leaders have a rich history of tearing down historic buildings: #WeDontCoast #WeBulldoze?

Just consider the history of Jobber’s Canyon (the nation’s largest National Register of Historic Places district sacrificed to ConAgra), the Clarinda-Page Apartments (which remains an empty lot near Midtown Crossing), and more recent proposals from Douglas County to demolish a historic brick structure for a juvenile detention center, or the city’s plot to flatten the iconic Gene Leahy Mall and dump a philanthropy-backed fortune into a sprawling riverfront region that lacks fundamental infrastructure/road access.

There is not a category in the Best of Omaha contest for “Best Historic Demolition,” but—this being Omaha—maybe we should consider adding it for the 2020 contest.

Note: The online version of this editor’s letter has been modified to reflect updated schedule and features at the Best of Omaha Soirée.

Purchase tickets to the Best of Omaha Soirée hereThis letter was printed in the September/October 2018 edition of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Legacy Means Many Things

July 25, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Omaha can proudly boast many companies that have been in existence since the early 1900s, and some that have even been in existence since the late 1800s. 

This is the second-annual legacy issue, and, although many of the stories do not scream “this is legacy,” the idea is spread throughout the magazine in a variety of ways.

Of course, the first article, Biz + Giving, is about Woodmen of the World, which celebrates its 128th year in business in 2018. 

Two companies in the magazine, Owen Industries and JetLinx, can celebrate the legacy of having a son working in the same business as the father. Tyler Owen, president and general manager of Owen Industries, works for his father, CEO Robert Owen; while JetLinx President and CEO Jamie Walker has taken over the company from his father, founder Denny Walker. Also of note, these two articles both involve the luxury transportation industry.

Then there is the legacy of the Huskers. Most people realize that Nebraska’s beloved football team has won five national championships. When I moved to Omaha in 1998 (from Iowa City), I had no idea that football legacy is so important to this state. Leo Adam Biga reports on the “Scott Frost Effect.” You may have heard the news: Scott Frost is returning to coach Nebraska football. My husband, Wade, recently traveled to Kearney and stayed at the home of Tim and Hilary Christo, parents of former Nebraska quarterback Monte Christo, who played with Frost in the 1990s. Wade enjoyed spending time with the Christos, as they personfied “Nebraska Nice.” Monte’s former teammate is now helping to translate Big Red memorabilia into big green, as in dollar bills.

This letter was printed in the August/September 2018 edition of B2B.

Daisy Hutzell-Rodman is the managing editor of B2B, a publication of Omaha Magazine LTD. She can be reached at daisy@omahamagazine.com.

From the Editor

July 24, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Fall, for me, is full of guilty pleasures. Back-to-school time means purchasing new pencils, pens, and notebooks. Cooler weather means cooking homemade soup and gingerbread. Halloween means gothic novels to read, gothic-inspired movies to watch, and candy to eat.

Fall also means high school football, and homecoming celebrations, for many people in the Midwest. Anthony Flott reports on several schools that have switched from traditional football helmets to Ridell Speedflex helmets, which include tracking capabilities so that coaches and trainers can detect concussions faster.

Kara Schweiss reports on homecoming celebrations around the metro, from schools where the event is mostly for the kids, to those where the event includes activities for alumni and community members. As a student at a high school in southeastern Iowa, I never thought about the term “homecoming” until my freshman year of college. My school just crowned a queen at the game and hosted a dance.

I now understand the meaning of the term “homecoming,” because I live in Glenwood, Iowa, which boasts one of the largest homecoming celebrations in America. 

A sidebar on this is included in Kara’s article, but from my standpoint, homecoming is a sight to behold.

Parade entries assemble outside my house. Parking comes at a premium—the three available spots in my driveway are reserved by Wednesday of homecoming week, and filled by 11 a.m. Friday in anticipation of the 1 p.m. parade. Dining out is a moot point, even ordering a pizza to carry out takes two hours.

Still, homecoming provides memories for many, myself included. I hope this fall edition of Family Guide conjures good memories for you.

This letter was printed in the Fall 2018 edition of Family Guide.

Daisy Hutzell-Rodman is the managing editor of Family Guide, a publication of Omaha Magazine LTD. She can be reached at daisy@omahamagazine.com.

A Decade of Maha, Munch Madness, and Best of Omaha

June 20, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Oh, Maha, you make this city a better place. Maha Music Festival turns 10 years old this summer. In honor of the milestone, Omaha Magazine has partnered with the festival to produce a special (sponsored) cover of our full city edition with the title “Maha” Magazine.

Maha is expanding to two days this year (Aug. 17-18) and has absorbed the Omaha-based tech/entrepreneurship conference Big Omaha. Music festival headliners include national acts Weezer, Father John Misty, and TV on the Radio. Meanwhile, local Nebraska acts include up-and-coming musicians Mesonjixx and David Nance.

But this July/August issue of Omaha Magazine is also our food issue. Every story in the issue incorporates some sort of food angle. So it’s worth noting that Dante Pizzeria will be featured in Maha’s VIP area along with offerings from Kitchen Table, while Dandelion Pop-Up will curate lunch offerings from local chefs at Big Omaha.

Food Issue Launch Party

The Florence Mill Farmer’s Market will once again host the launch party for our annual food issue. This is the second year we have gone all-in with food-related editorial content, and it is the second year we are hosting a watermelon-eating contest.

The watermelon-eating contest is open to the public. RSVP on our Facebook event page (http://bit.ly/2K1sc1d) for the July/August launch party to ensure your spot. We are hosting adult (age 18 and up) and youth categories. Watermelons are once again sponsored by the Florence neighborhood’s Hy-Vee. Top-three finishers in each age category will win a choice of gift certificates from restaurants advertising in Omaha Magazine. Prizes range in value from $20-$50, offered by Upstream, DJ’s Dugout, Tired Texan BBQ, FirstWatch, and Jazz.

There will be musicians, artists, calves, and chickens at the launch party, along with all the organic produce, baked goods, and craft vendors who are regular fixtures of the Florence Mill Farmers Market (which recurs every Sunday throughout the summer).

Munch Madness Bracket

Omaha Magazine’s latest city edition takes a deep dive into the zip codes of the metro area. Writer Sara Locke worked with six local Instagrammers to compile a list of favorite dishes in every zip code. There are 49 metro-area zip codes in total, according to our tally, and we narrowed selections down to one dish for every zip code.

Our foodie consultants are narrowing the pool down to 32 for Munch Madness (a bracket styled after March Madness), which we will share on Omaha Magazine’s social media channels. Zip codes will be randomly selected for dishes to compete one-on-one in polls. Winners will advance to the Sweet 16, Elite 8, Final 4, and Championship. We will announce the bracket at our launch party. 

Best Of Omaha

We hope this zip code story and our Munch Madness bracket will prompt readers to think about the best restaurants—in addition to the best of other services and products—in the Omaha area. Voting in our annual Best of Omaha contest begins July 1 and continues through Aug. 20.

And speaking of “the best,” Omaha Magazine is not just the best magazine in the city, we were named Magazine of the Year on May 4 at the 2018 Great Plains Journalism Awards in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We received 20 awards for design, photography, multimedia, and writing produced in 2017. 

Thank you, subscribers, for supporting our dedication to community journalism. If you are not yet a subscriber, visit omahamagazine.com/subscribe to learn more. 

Food Issue Launch Party

Date & Time: Sunday, July 8, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. (watermelon-eating contest begins at noon)

Location: Florence Mill Farmers Market, 9102 N. 30th St. (by the intersection of North 30th Street and I-680)

Admission: Free

RSVP: localstubs.com

Doug Meigs is the executive editor of Omaha Publications.

This article was printed in the July/August 2018 edition of Omaha Magazine.

Design is a Team Effort

May 16, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

How many magazines (outside of this one) do you read? I walk into the bookstore about once a month and look at the magazine racks. I’ve always enjoyed looking at the magazine section, and while certain magazines routinely grab my attention, new ones catch me each month by their
cover designs. 

It is thanks to graphic artists that readers stop in their tracks and pick up a magazine, but even a simplistic-looking cover is far from that—in some cases, the simpler the cover, the harder to design.

The cover you are viewing was created by senior graphic designer Derek Joy. He and I work closely on B2B—and I enjoy looking at how he inserts his colorful personality into the magazine.

His work is often subtle. He came up with a great design element a couple of months ago—a diamond-shaped graphic that is placed near the page numbers and explains the department in a creative way, such as the crescent moon in the diamond on “After Hours.” And take another look at last year’s Best of B2B results in the March/April/May 2017 edition (visit readonlinenow.com to see the issue). That launching rocket ship you find throughout the list was due to Derek’s creativity.

I also work with several other incredible artists. Creative director Matt Wieczorek’s appreciation of clean styles inspired the geometric, art-deco look for the annual Faces of Omaha, and graphic designer Mady Besch brought an element of surprise to the latest Family Guide with a cover made from felt, photographed by Bill Sitzmann. And Katiuska Nuñez produces stunning custom ads for
our advertisers.

I hope you enjoy reading about the design-inspired articles in this issue. 

This letter was printed in the June/July 2018 edition of B2B.

Daisy Hutzell-Rodman is the managing editor of B2B, a publication of Omaha Magazine LTD. She can be reached at daisy@omahamagazine.com.

Art, Travel, and Adventure

April 25, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Like any good book (or, ahem, magazine), art has the power to transcend space and time.
Artworks have been transporting viewers to far-off places and eras since the earliest days of cave paintings, through the Renaissance masters, and into the present.

The new issue of Omaha Magazine also aspires to take readers on exciting journeys from the comfort of wherever they may be reading.

A travel/adventure theme carries throughout the main feature well of the magazine’s city edition.

Story subjects include a local family of skydivers, the postmodern Oregon Trail, and Nebraska’s “Beermuda Triangle” (by bicycle), along with adventure-seeker profiles ranging from a scuba-diving quadriplegic to a tractor puller and more.

With adventure and travel in mind, we thought it would be appropriate to partner with Joslyn Art Museum for a magazine launch party that connects the articles in our (non-themed) A+C and Dining departments with the rest of the city edition’s adventure/travel stories.

We scheduled the issue’s magazine launch (Monday, April 30) to correspond with the final week of Word/Play, Joslyn’s exhibition of Ed Ruscha’s artwork. Ruscha was born in Omaha, and this issue of Omaha Magazine features his profile.

With so much other great art in the permanent collection of Joslyn, we could not pass this opportunity to connect the new issue’s launch with the museum’s abundant collection of adventure/travel-inspired artworks.

Joslyn staff came up with a list of 10 fun scavenger hunt questions that not only touch upon themes of travel and adventure, but also require actual exploring of the museum to come up with answers.

“Remember that general admission to Joslyn Art Museum is always free!” says Amy Rummel, director of marketing and public relations at Joslyn. “All of the answers can be found in our permanent collection galleries, so come hunt during any of our regular public hours at no cost.”

The first three people who successfully complete the scavenger hunt (posted to the website surveymonkey.com) will receive prizes provided by Omaha Magazine advertisers.

May/June Magazine Launch Party

Although Joslyn is normally closed on Mondays, the museum is opening specially for Omaha Magazine’s May/June launch party. Joslyn’s Memorial Building galleries will remain closed for the event and will reopen during normal museum hours.

Featuring: Free hot dogs, musical performances (including one by Miwi La Lupa, profiled in this issue), admission to Joslyn’s Pavilion galleries of modern and contemporary art, and free admission to the ticketed exhibition Word/Play: Prints, Photographs, and Paintings by Ed Ruscha (normally $10 for adults).

Admission: Free
Where: Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge St.
When: Monday, April 30 (5-7 p.m.)
RSVP: localstubs.com

Joslyn Museum Scavenger Hunt Questions

  1. Horses are a great way to navigate difficult terrain. Travel to the gallery featuring Asian art. How many horses are depicted in that gallery?
  2. Although not boots, the four items in this case were made for walkin’. Which two distinct types of footwear—one traditional, one modern—are shown together in the case? [Hint: the work of Native American artists]
  3. This contemporary Native American work depicts three modes of transportation in one sculpture. What are they?
  4. Sometimes travel is plagued by stormy weather. What is the title of the painting in Joslyn’s permanent collection that depicts such a situation, specifically at the conclusion of a trip featuring illegal activity? [Hint: European]
  5. To paint one of the works displayed in Joslyn’s permanent collection galleries, French Impressionist artist Claude Monet traveled to a coastal Italian village. What was this village called?
  6. A canoe is a means of adventurous water travel. How many canoes are pictured in Joslyn’s permanent collection galleries? [Hint: Art of the American West galleries 7–9]
  7. Many a family travel adventure ends at this awe-inspiring geological site. What is it, and who painted it? [Hint: an artist-explorer of the American West]
  8. Two men find themselves traveling through one of America’s most iconic intersections/entertainment districts/destinations. Name it.
  9. The crew of the Starship Enterprise spent much of their time traveling here. Name the work and the artist. [Hint: this painter was no drip]
  10. A common form of transportation that settlers used to go west was the covered wagon. How many family members are riding in Joslyn’s large covered wagon? [Hint: venture outdoors]

BONUS: Joslyn is home to a world-renowned collection of work by a young Swiss artist who traveled the upper Missouri with a German explorer. Name this duo.

This article was printed in the May/June 2018 edition of Omaha Magazine.

Doug Meigs is the executive editor of Omaha Publications.

From the Editor

March 16, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

I recently picked up the book The Hearts of Men by Nickolas Butler. It is a book that starts at Boy Scout camp in the 1960s and follows the longtime friendship of two men who meet as boys at camp.

I’m excited to start this book because it combines a couple of my joys in life. This summer, like every summer, I plan to spend several days in the woods camping with my husband and our group of fellow Volkswagen Bus owners. This magazine features the camping adventures of a school counselor, a family of Scouts, and more. The guide in this edition showcases a wide variety of summer camps in the area.

Reading is another of my favorite pastimes, and it’s a great activity for summer. One of my fondest memories is that of my mother taking my sister and me to the public library in our small town to participate in the summer reading program. Each summer, the event included puppet shows, arts and crafts, and lots of reading. The summer before I started third grade, I won third place for the number of pages read, which meant a reporter snapped my picture for the weekly newspaper and I received a goodie bag full of prizes.

The best way for parents to encourage their students to read is to read themselves. Why not put away the electronics for an hour before bed each night as a family and read a book? When people ask me, “Wow, how do you manage to read 12 books a year?” I tell them that I digital detox each night before I go to bed. Another idea might be to encourage kids to read during the heat of the afternoon when one needs to find a cool spot and escape.

Whether your summer is filled with camping, reading, or other adventures, I wish you and your family a fantastic school break.

This letter was originally printed in the Spring/Summer 2018 edition of Family Guide.

Daisy Hutzell-Rodman is the managing editor of Family Guide, a publication of Omaha Magazine LTD. She can be reached at daisy@omahamagazine.com.