Tag Archives: letter

OmahaHome Entryway

October 24, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.”
—J.R.R. Tolkien

With the holiday season approaching, my thoughts turn to family traditions—both old and new. 

Sometimes dusting off family heirlooms can bring a fresh take to the dinner table. 

With my children grown and on their own, I decided it was time to dust off my grandmother’s china. 

The fine dishware had remained neatly stacked in an old chest for 15 years. But it was still in the same immaculate condition. 

Readers who have followed my DIY projects may have gathered that I am all about repurposing and/or pairing the old with new. The trend continues this issue, too.

For the holidays, why not start a new-old family tradition by pairing a beautiful family heirloom with a proper holiday table setting?

Mixing the old with the new can yield remarkable results. Whether the heirloom is antique chinaware or something more modern, anyone can do this.

Regardless of how your family sets the table, one thing is certain, it’s not which side of the plate the fork goes on that matters most. The important thing is the togetherness with friends, family, and relationships nurtured by a meal prepared with love.

From all of us at OmahaHome, happy holidays to you and yours!

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


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.


June 20, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

July is always a busy time of year—full of activities, family reunions, picnics, baseball games, etc. And don’t forget barbecues! 

This issue, I’m passing the DIY baton to another do-it-yourself guru. Gary Dunteman is a competitive barbecue champ who really knows how to smoke the competition. He shares advice on making a  homemade barrel smoker.

With the current food-themed edition of OmahaHome, I’d also like to share a favorite family recipe—Catalina Chicken—named after the dressing. This dish is simple, healthy, and looks as delicious as it tastes.


• 4-6 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts (thawed if frozen)

• 1 large can of “whole berry” cranberry sauce
(I use Ocean Spray)

• 1 large bottle of Catalina salad dressing

• 1 packet of dry Lipton Onion Soup Mix

• White rice (serving size enough for each person)


  1. In a large 8-by-13-inch pan, mix the whole berry cranberry mixture, 3/4 of the large bottle of Catalina dressing, and the whole packet of Lipton soup mix (this will make a thick sauce).
  2. Place all of the chicken down in the mixture, making sure you cover all the pieces.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes.
  4. Place one chicken breast with extra sauce over bed of white rice.

Tip: A Greek salad with an Italian vinaigrette makes a great side for this dish!

Here’s to a safe and wonderful holiday, and don’t forget the men and women of the U.S. armed forces who have ensured the gift of freedom that we enjoy every day.

Also, on a very special personal note, I had the honor of seeing my second grandchild, Stella Rose, come into the world this May. Big brother River, not yet 1 year old, was right there for her debut. These two are so adorable, I could just eat them up. 


Sandy Matson is the contributing editor for OmahaHome.

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

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.

The Best is Yet to Come

March 23, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Omaha is the best! I think so, and that’s one of the reasons why I enjoy working at Omaha Magazine. Not only do we bring you the best stories of the city, we bring you two Best Of contests, including the original Best of Omaha.
In this issue, you will find the Best of B2B Results. This is a Best Of contest that we specifically tailor for businesspeople, with categories such as Best Parking Lot Maintenance and Best Business Broker that reflect the needs of the business community. It’s located in the front of the book, because we know you are as excited as we are to find out who won.
Two stories in this issue bring readers information about topics that have been in the news quite a bit lately. Leo Adam Biga writes about changing policies with H-1B visas, which could impact several Omaha businesses, and Anthony Flott writes about changes to tax laws, particularly changes to business taxes, from the standpoint of a family of CPAs who have been processing taxes from the 1940s to the present.
There’s a lot of movement around the city right now. Omaha is home to several growing businesses that are building new offices and moving. What is the reason for all this movement? Maggie O’Brien writes about this on page 50. Maggie is a former colleague of mine from the Omaha World-Herald, and I was delighted to hear that she could write an article for us. I hope you enjoy this story as much as I did.
And another former OWH colleague, Ashley Wegner, brings you a well-written article on Joan Squires, who has been working tirelessly for many years to give Omaha an incredible performing arts scene.
Didn’t I tell you Omaha is the best?

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

This letter was printed in the April/May 2018 edition of B2B.

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.

Stork Deliveries and Publication Deadlines

August 27, 2017 by and
Photography by Provided

Around the time when our July/August “Food Issue” arrived in subscribers’ mailboxes, special deliveries from “the stork” arrived for the families of two Omaha Magazine staffers.

One of those families is my own. My wife and I became first-time parents with the birth of our baby girl, Faye-Marie.

The next week, an office-wide e-mail shared good news from a colleague in advertising. Omaha Magazine branding specialist Josh Peterson welcomed his third son into the world.

Because of our staggered editorial deadlines, these births coincided with the middle of production on this September/October issue.

Because Josh is a more experienced parent—and he had the audacity to hand-deliver the baby—we share his story here.

The Art of Baby Catching

story by Blair Emsick

Upon arriving at the hospital to give birth to their third child, Josh and Stephanie Peterson had two questions: Can we deliver standing up, and can Josh catch the baby?

The husband and wife had discussed these possibilities with their doctor previously, but she was out. The on-call doctor quickly responded, “No,” to both questions. Josh didn’t want to push (no pun intended), so he let it go. However, upon learning that Josh was an EMT and was interested in learning the skill (just in case he ever had to deliver a child in the back of an ambulance), the on-call doctor agreed to let him “catch” his child.

Experiences during the childbirth of their first two boys influenced Josh’s desire to catch baby boy No. 3.

Twenty-five hours into labor on baby No. 1, doctors realized that Andy was stuck and had to be delivered via C-section. Stephanie’s platelets were low, so she had to be anesthetized for the procedure. She was unconscious for the first few hours after the birth as well. Although Josh was the first to hold his baby, he missed those first special moments between mother, father, and baby.

Then with baby No. 2, Connor came six weeks early and had to be rushed to the NICU right after being born. Yet again, Josh and Stephanie missed that special post-birth cuddle with their newborn. Instead, they watched doctors insert an IV into their newborn’s head.

With their third, Josh and Stephanie wanted to do it right. “I thought, ‘Well, there is no way this can go worse than our past births,’” Josh says. He was right. When Stephanie went into labor, and after the doctor gave the go-ahead, Josh gowned and got into place.

“Now, I know what crowning really means,” Josh says with wide eyes, remembering the experience. Then, after what felt like a nanosecond, Rory was right there in his arms—alive, healthy, breathing, and crying. Josh quickly passed the baby to his wife, but that first moment, to be the first person to touch his newborn, is something he will never forget.

Mother, father, and baby were finally together—happy and healthy. It was just like they had imagined. Perhaps the third time really is the charm. Catching baby Rory, Josh says, was “the coolest thing I’ve ever done.”









This letter was printed in the September/October 2017 edition of Omaha Magazine.

60Plus Opener

June 21, 2017 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Who doesn’t love reading about food?

When I had a real estate company, we printed an annual cookbook with recipes from clients and salespeople. I still enjoy cooking some of the recipes.

I have to share a family favorite—it’s for turkey casserole. When my children were young, I served my family chili and oyster stew on Christmas Eve until one of my sons became ill after eating the chili.

The next year, I decided to change the menu and saw this recipe in Better Homes & Gardens. It became a popular Christmas Eve tradition at our house, as well as a favorite dish all year long.

I served the casserole alongside barbecued meatballs, green salad, croissants, and lots of Christmas goodies. My sons called to request the recipe when they left home, and we all still make and serve the dish often.

Turkey casserole

• 2 cups shredded turkey breast (I like to use canned turkey, which is more moist.)

• 2 cups diced celery

• 3/4-1 cup English walnut pieces

• 3/4 cup pimento-stuffed olives, sliced (slice whole olives—don’t buy pieces)

• 3/4 cup real mayonnaise

• 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

• 1 teaspoon salt

Mix together and spread in a greased 9-by-13 casserole dish.

Top with a mixture of 2 cups crushed potato chips and 1 cup of grated sharp cheddar cheese.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. You want the dish to be hot but the celery to stay crisp.

(You can use chicken breast if you cannot find turkey breast.)

There are many other interesting recipes in this issue—try some.I do not cook much any more, but I might try making some of these.



Gwen Lemke is the contributing editor for 60Plus In Omaha

This article was printed in the July/August 2017 Edition of 60Plus.