Going behind the headlines in Sarpy County and Ralston

Reporter's Notebook shares the thoughts of the staff of the Bellevue Leader, Papillion Times, Gretna Breeze, Ralston Recorder and In The Game. Our staff invites you to join us as we explore a new way to connect with our readers, communicate our passions and cover our local communities. This blog represents the personal opinions of the individual staff members who contribute posts and does not reflect the view of our newspapers.
Kelsey: Spreading the classic movie love

Kelsey: Spreading the classic movie love

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of old movies. Kelsey

I love the classics.

So it was a real treat when I learned that “The Wizard of Oz” was on the schedule for Midtown Crossing’s “Monday Night at the Movies” series in Turner Park.

Luckily for me, Turner Park happens to be my backyard.

So last Monday, I packed a blanket, some water and popcorn and went out to watch the movie with my cousin and her 9-year-old daughter.

It was shocking to me that the 9-year-old hadn’t seen “The Wizard of Oz” in its entirety.

The first question out of her mouth: Why isn’t this in color?10372067_10152157044058457_7093561608767233219_n

I think I had more fun watching her watch the movie.

She bounced along happily when the munchkins welcomed Dorothy.

She laughed out loud when Dorothy slapped the Cowardly Lion.

She tensed up when the Wicked Witch kept Dorothy locked away.

That’s why I love the classic movies. They stand the test of time. The 1939 movie is one that my grandma watched, my mom and her siblings watched, I’ve watched, and now my cousins’ children are watching.

By July 31, 2014 0 comments Read More
Toni: Doing the noodle dance

Toni: Doing the noodle dance

The five reasons Bellevue needs a Noodles & Company:Toni

1. Parmesan Crusted Chicken

I’m not sure what they do to make these little chicken patties from heaven, but I love them. So. Much. And they just can’t be repeated. (Trust me, I’ve tried.)

2. Pene Rosa

This is my favorite dish and I get it almost everytime I go to Noodles, so it obviously needs to go on the list.

3. Wisconsin Mac & Cheese

Wisconsin. Mac. And. Cheese. Need I say more?

4. Variety

I love a good burger as much as the next girl, but I like a little variety in my life as well. I think Bellevue and the surrounding cities have enough bugers, chicken sandwhiches, subs, pizzas and chinese food. There really aren’t any noodle-dish competitors in the Bellevue market for the company to worry about.

5. Location

The closest Noodle & Co. is on 72nd and Dodge streets. While I don’t mind making the drive when I’ve got a hankering for some noodles, I’d love it if it was just a short 5 to 10 minute drive instead of 20.

There are a few buildings open on the Galvin Road strip available, all of which would be perfect for Noodles & Company. There are tons of Bellevue residents who would love if that area got built back up and I think all it will take is one strong business to set up shop for others to follow suit.

By July 31, 2014 0 comments Read More
Klinker: Don’t forget to remember

Klinker: Don’t forget to remember


The excavation of a mass grave believed to contain the remains of people executed during the Spanish Civil War. The excavation of a mass grave believed to contain the remains of people executed during the Spanish Civil War.


It strikes me as ironic that a ruling last week in the European Union’s highest court of law on a person’s “right to be forgotten,” stems from a case out of Spain.

In essence, what the European Court of Justice said is that when it comes a person’s comings and goings andAdam Klinker romances and crimes, such things need not be perpetuated forever in the online universe. Basically, a person has the right not to have a random Googling of their name result in a whole screed of dirty laundry.

Fair enough.

But that the case comes from Spain, where a generation or two or three of institutional forgetting has passed in the wake of the Francoist years, was particularly curious.

Spain’s 1930s Civil War has largely been forgotten, along with the lionshare of its victims. Franco scrubbed the slate clean in his nigh 40-year dictatorship, doing his best to make sure that those who wound up on the wrong side of history would never have a history told.

These victims, which included the poet Federico Garcia Lorca and tens of thousands of other nameless persons, ended up in mass graves. In the wake of Franco’s victory, more victims were pulled from their homes at night and never heard from again. These are people who I doubt would have invoked a right to be forgotten.

And the victimization does not begin and end with the dictator’s bloodlust. Still thousands more perished as martyrs for their faith, politics, work or art — on both sides of the ledger.

Forgetting is an all too human evolutionary characteristic and, in the ECJ ruling, perhaps a blessed one. But in the case of Spain’s earlier amnesia, there remains an unfortunate lacuna.

By May 22, 2014 0 comments Read More
Toni: Meet Editta

Toni: Meet Editta

I have worked here for over a year now and I’ve wanted to get aToni plant for my desk for some time now, but I never could figure out the best plant for an office environment and I wasn’t sure how big of a plant to get.

There were just too many factors and it was just too much pressure to figure it out, so I never ended up getting one.

Until now, that is.

But I didn’t buy this plant. I got my plant, Editta is her name, from a co-worker.

She’s an African Violet and she’s pretty stinkin’ picky.

She doesn’t want to mess up her leaves, so she’d rather drink from the bottom of her pot than the top. She prefers room temperature water. It mustn’t be too hot, or too cold.

She likes indirect indoor lighting and she does not like to be touched.

She’d prefer for us humans to just let her be.

I’ve had her for a couple weeks now. She was in pretty rough shape when she was handed over to me, and I’m convinced I can nurse her back to health.

I’ll keep you posted.IMG_0891

By May 22, 2014 0 comments Read More
Head Bags: A History

Head Bags: A History

“Do not despise these small beginnings” -Zechariah 4:10


One of my largest achievements in my short time here at our community newspapers is being a founding father of head bags. In fact, I was one of the very first baggers.

Due to an unofficial company Christmas outing, we had a set of bean bags in the office: five blue and five yellow. At first, these were part of the popular sand bag, also known as cornhole, where one tries to get the bags to land on a board or in a small hole on said board.

This, however, made me quite bored, so I grabbed a bag and chucked it at the head of Eric Taylor.

And, as they say, the rest was history.

“Hey, throw that again,” Taylor said with a puppyish excitement. And so I did.

I became the first bagger, Eric the first header, and thus the game of landing bags on top of bags with nothing but your head was born.

The story of head bags is far from over, tune in Monday afternoon for a video demonstration of the greatest game yet to be discovered.

By May 9, 2014 0 comments Read More
Klinker: Using our heads

Klinker: Using our heads

head bags

We’ve invented a new game here at the Leader/Recorder/Times office.

It’s called head bags. And it involves everything that two-word phrase entails.

Basically, one player stands two to three feet away from the other player, seated. The standing player (the bagger) proceeds to soft-toss beanbags at the forehead of the seated player (the header).Adam Klinker The bag then falls to the floor.

The object is to land the bags on top of one another. Each bag touching will score points.

The rules have evolved a little bit, in somewhat the same way rounders became baseball, but the greatest thing you can do is land all five of the bags together, touching.

We call it a Five-Bag Charlie.

Last Monday — after one month playing the game with at least one game played each day — Eric Taylor, bagging, and I, heading (the appropriate term for the seated player’s action) became the first head bag team to land the Five-Bagger.

It doesn’t sound like much of a feat, but head bags is a delicate art and the bags, cruel tools of fate.

Keep reading tomorrow for some of the history of head bags and a video demonstration of how the game is played.

By May 8, 2014 0 comments Read More
Kelsey: Who wore it best?

Kelsey: Who wore it best?

As I’m sure anyone who walks into my apartment can tell you based on my twoKelsey stuffed dressers and one overflowing closet, I love clothes.

With my love for clothing comes a love for seeing a good “who wore it best?” photo. It’s always fun to see when celebrities wind up wearing the same expensive, name-brand clothing as one another. And of course, who doesn’t love to decide who accessorized and wore the outfit better?

Something I’ve  recently found to be more fun, is playing who wore it best with your coworkers.

The gentlemen around the office all have ITG shirts in assorted colors. I love when two of them accidentally wear the same color on the same day. To make this game even better, it’s fun to force ask them to let you take a photo of them together so you can tweet it.

So, what do you think? Who wore it best in these three cases?

By May 2, 2014 0 comments Read More
Eugene: I have decided . . .

Eugene: I have decided . . .

. . . who I’m going to vote for in the GOP Primary for governor, and while I won’t say who it is I will explain how I came to my decision.

I was listening to a radio commercial yesterday in which the candidate for whom I will vote enlightened me about what a scoundrel his leading opponent is. The commercial began with scary and foreboding music, which, quite frankly, was enough right there to settle the thing. Who would vote for a candidate whose reputation is so scurrilous that scary music could be associated with it? If there’s scary music, well, then, he must be a scary guy.

The commercial then informed me that the guy is a hypocritical, backstabbing, conspiratorial meanie who – and this was the piece de resistance – is rich. Stinking rich. If you didn’t already hate rich people, you should now. I just find it unforgivable that rich people who could be doing lots of good in the world instead run around stabbing people in the back and being mean.

I didn’t need to see the television commercial that evening to know I would vote for the guy who did me the inestimable favor of alerting me to this danger confronting the Republic, but it helped. There was the mean backstabber again, all over my television screen, his hypocritical mug displayed in hazy black and white. Black and white. Now, who, I ask, would vote for someone whose character is so execrable that his unsmiling mugshot is rendered in black and white, unlike the brilliant color in which the smiling visage of the guy for whom I will vote was promptly displayed?

Some people think it’s hard to decide between candidates.

I think it’s easy.



By May 2, 2014 0 comments Read More
Klinker: Seersucker Season starts Saturday. Got your suit?

Klinker: Seersucker Season starts Saturday. Got your suit?

The author shows off his jockeying skills in his seersucker — sans jacket. The author shows off his jockeying skills in his seersucker — sans jacket.

The Kentucky Derby will be running its 140th race Saturday.

It’s a big day for the Sport of Kings.

But it also heralds the start of my favorite season—seersucker season.

No slave to fashion, I, I don’t wait until Memorial Day to break out my white, rumpled threads.

The Derby is quite sufficient, thanks very much.

Every Friday after the Run for the Roses—and, if I’m in the mood, other days of the week, too—becomes Seersucker Friday around the newsroom.

Currently, I’m the only participant. And have been for the last five years, but maybe, just maybe, this sartorial expression will become more widespread amongst my colleagues.

I mean, come on.

Who doesn’t want to see Eugene Curtin looking like a gruff, Welsh, Southern, sweet-tea sippin’ dude?

Or Eric Taylor in a nice, pink-striped suit, fanning himself with a straw hat at this summer’s ballgames, exclaiming, “Hot today. Gonna be hot tomorrah. Mercy. So hot today.”?

Well, maybe I won’t hold my breath.

My own affinity for the seersucker (which the etymologists tell me comes from the Sandskrit words for rice pudding and sugar) dates back to my time in the Southern states, where any man worth his rice pudding owned one and wore it, every Sunday, usually.

Every spring, I look forward to dusting off and donning my seersucker.

I’ll even try it on in mid-March and, if it looks like the waistband shrunk over the winter (and it usually does), I’ll go on a crash diet so I’m ready for the Derby.

So here’s to Seersucker Season. Are you in?

By May 2, 2014 0 comments Read More
Klinker: Flap over First Lady in Topeka misses point

Klinker: Flap over First Lady in Topeka misses point

I sympathize with the families of the Class of 2014 of Topeka’s high schools.

The announcement that First Lady Michelle Obama would be delivering the commencement speech for next month’s graduation exercises will now limit seating and rearrange celebrations has put many in a bind.Adam Klinker

It’s an unfortunate statement of where the world has come from the days when Harry Truman could stroll around the streets of Washington without a security detail to the now overweening presence of the Secret Service in the lives of our leaders and the NSA in our business.

That said… Come on, Topeka.

Don’t deprive your children of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

The First Lady’s visit is meant to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the landmark ruling in Brown vs. Board of Education that began the long process of school desegregation.

Lest we forget, the Board of Education in the Brown case is, in fact, Topeka’s own board.

Whatever you think of the Obamas, the fact that, 60 years after the President and his wife would have been disallowed entry into some American public schools by dint of their race, they, with their daughters, now live in the White House.

This is not only a moment to celebrate the small step of a high school graduation, but also the immense leap the nation has made.

It’s not a moment singularly about Michelle Obama, it’s not really even singularly about the graduates. It’s about marking time in America and doing so together — black, white, rich, poor — a moment largely unimaginable in 1954.

It is a story that the Class of 2014 of Topeka will tell as long as they have breath.

The rest of us should be telling it, too.

By April 24, 2014 0 comments Read More