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Monday, April 29, 2013

pop-we Dinner Club Reviews Kona Grill

Kona Grill at Village Pointe.
This month population-we™ (pop-we) foodie Kris decided to go a little Hawaiian; we went to Kona Grill located in the Village Pointe shopping area, 295 N. 170th St. Kona has more than 20 locations throughout the United States. They want to be known for sensational flavors in their modern American cuisine from a scratch kitchen. But Kona is also known for their huge sushi and sashimi menu from traditional rolls to Kona rolls.

When you arrive you are greeted at the hostess area, then around the corner is the bar area. It is a big center bar lined with stools, televisions, tables but many people want to sit on the backside which is an indoor patio that also has televisions. The patio area is indoor but the huge windows open up, which is popular place to hang out and have a few cocktails like a sake bomb. The bar area has an awesome happy hour that gets crazy busy…if you're not there by 4 p.m. on Friday is it very hard to find a table.

The night we were there the club sat in the dinning room past the sushi bar, which is adorned by a very cool fish aquarium. Tonight, I decided to try the pad thai noodles which is: noodles, beef tenderloin, vegetables in a black bean garlic sauce for $16. I liked the dish, it was simple but had really nice flavors. We also tried “angry” edamame for $5.50, which is edamame (soy beans) served with a very spicy garlic sauce. Those few members who tasted it thought the appetizer was hot, fun and delicious.

After compiling the surveys from the other foodies the pop-we Dinner Club gives Kona Grill: 3.9 star average on a scale of 1-5.

Atmosphere/Decor – 4.5
Angry edamame.

Cleanliness – 4

Wait Staff – 3.5

Menu – 4

Food Presentation – 4.5

Food Portions – 4

Food Taste – 4

Cost (was the cost worth meal?) – 3.5

Noise Level – 3

Overall Experience – 4

You can check out Kona Grills menu at On their webite under lifestyle, you can check out their gluten free, vegetarian and vegan menus.

Want to do this yourself? To review how to start your own dinner club, visit our January post about doing just that. Remember it is a template; tweak it to fit you and your friends’ tastes. pop-we Dinner Club: good food…good friends…good times.
Kona Grill on Urbanspoon

-population-we™ blog post by Brian Brown
© 2013 population-we, LLC 
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Monday, April 22, 2013

[Earth Day Edition] pop-we Highlights Greater Omaha SCUBA Club's Project AWARE Efforts

Lake cleanup at Louisville State Park swimming lake.
Today, April 22, is officially Earth Day 2013! On this day people from all around the world are celebrating on land and under the sea. Since waters in Nebraska are a chilly 42 degrees members of the Greater Omaha SCUBA Club will be there only in spirit. This post is dedicated to those SCUBA divers who are donating their time today and throughout the year to clean up our waterways from debris.

Below is a Q&A with SCUBA Instructor Mark "Skippy" Sidwell who is vice president of the Greater Omaha SCUBA Club.

Q. What got you into SCUBA diving?
A. A 21 day trip to Australia. I figured, if I'm going half way around the world, I'm going to learn to dive.

Q. What is the coldest conditions you've dove in?
A. 58 degrees in Atlantic, Iowa. Did a check out dive with a student late in the season. They were going on vacation in early November and wanted to get it done before hand.

Q. Tell us about the Greater Omaha SCUBA Club?
A. The club was officially started in 2007; so its been around for approximately six years. We are not technically a non-profit organization but we are a not-for-profit organization. We are not tax deductible, if you donate to us. The whole goal of the club is to get people active in diving; whether, you're a diver or non diver, we want you active in diving. Even if you're a non diver we want you active in the aquatic world. Be it just enjoying the aquatic world; conservation efforts and understanding how the ocean plays a role in our world, that is the basic gist the club is for.

Q. What reaction do you get when you tell someone you belong to a dive club in Omaha, Nebraska?
A. What? That is the reaction. Most people are basically confused because they ask where is there to dive in Omaha, Nebraska? Technically speaking there are not a lot of places to dive in Omaha, Nebraska. But there are a lot of places to dive in the local area within one- to three- hours drive.

World O! Water debris.
Q. What is Project AWARE?
A. Project AWARE is an organization started by PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors). Aquatic water awareness responsibility and education is key. The basic goal is to teach people the role of what water is; not just about water itself but the ecosystem within the water. Because without the oceans we can't feed half of the world. We abuse water resources beyond their capacity to handle it. That is one of the main reasons why Project AWARE came about because the water resources we have on this planet are dwindling. The vast majority of the world does not have access to clean fresh water for drinking, which is terrible. Project AWARE also talks about natural water resources: lakes, rivers and oceans. How to keep them clean and how to maintain them, as well as how to use them responsibly.

Q. Why did you get involved with Project AWARE?
A.  Because without conservation and education of water resources, I won't have anywhere to dive.

Q. Doing lake cleanups what is the strangest item you've found?
A. A Mountain Dew banner. It was a huge promotional banner. I thought it was a tent at first!

Q. What is the strangest thing another club member has found?
A. A safe.

Q. What is the worst visibility conditions you've dove in for a lake cleanup?
A. Zero.

Q. What do you think is the biggest culprit of trash in our waterways?
A. Plastic. The problem is most governments don't require manufacturers to put a recycle label (i.e. the type of plastic) on all plastic items. Most plastic items you have no idea that type of plastic it is. Most people don't recycle anyway.

Q. What's the message the Greater Omaha SCUBA Club wants to relay to kids?
A. Whatever you throw out winds up in the water. So, be very, very cognizant of what you throw away. Even if you throw it away responsibly; doesn't mean that whoever picks that trash up is going to be responsible with it. So, you have to be careful with that, and that is why recycling is such a big thing.

To find out more about the Greater Omaha SCUBA Club or any upcoming lake cleanups, visit the club's website, official Facebook page or follow them on Twitter.

"I think diving has made me much more aware why we need to recycle," he said. Since 2009, Sidwell has participated in 12 lake cleanups in Nebraska. He ended the Q&A interview by saying: "I love the opportunity to talk about my passion [SCUBA diving]! I love the planet -- we only got one -- so we got to take care of it."

Editor's note: In celebration of the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day population-we™ staffers will celebrate our love for planet earth with green posts this month!  

- population-we blog post by Becky Bohan Brown 
© 2013 population-we, LLC
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Monday, April 15, 2013

[Earth Day Edition] pop-we Celebrates Earth Day Every Day

According to Siri, the third rock from the sun is 4.54 billion years old. The question on the minds of scientists and its inhabits, but for how much longer? Luckily for everyone involved steps can be taken to prolong the shelf life of our planet. We take this Earth Day Edition to highlight the efforts by a few to keep earth around longer. Below is a population-we™ compilation of previously reported Earth Day posts from the last three years.
Planet Earth.

[Earth Day Edition] 'Citizen Scientist' Volunteers Sought for April 23 UNO Elkhorn River Study
My husband and I moved out to Elkhorn, Ne., about a year and half ago. Brian and I grew up and lived most of our lives in the same zip code in...Read more.

[Earth Day Edition] Johnny Apple Seed and Earth Day Should Take a Bow from AmeriCorps NCCC
When one thinks Earth Day what is the first nonprofit organization that comes to mind...Read more.

[Earth Day Edition] Conduct Your Own Trash Walk or Trash Blog
Trash doesn’t discriminate you can find it in any neighborhood, village or farm...Read more.

[Earth Day Edition] pop-we Dinner Club Reviews Texas Roadhouse
In March the population-we™  (pop-we) Dinner Club went to our first chain restaurant, the...Read more.

[Earth Day Edition] Celebrate Earth Day 2012 with pop-we Summer Get Active Adventures
What a great way to commemorate the 42nd Anniversary of Earth Day this April than to get active outside and...Read more.

[Earth Day Edition] Committing to a Green Commute on 'Ride the Bus to Work Day!'
During the work week Brian and I commute to work via a carpool; however, March 13, 2012, one of us decided to catch...Read more.

[Earth Day Edition] Recycling Electronic Devices
Being green is not always the easiest and most convenient thing to do. You have the casual person who recycles...Read more.

[Earth Day Edition] Arbor Day Brings Back Doggy Memories
This Friday, April 27, the U.S. will celebrate Arbor Day, a day set a side to remind Americans...Read more.

[Earth Day Edition] pop-we Dinner Club Reviews Jaipur
Hot…Hot…Hot…Hot! This month Marv took us on a trek for some Indian fare, we headed to...Read more. 

[Earth Day Edition] Be Green, Shop at a Habitat for Humanity ReStore
Giving products a second life is the concept behind a Habitat for Humanity store in...Read more.

For now even Siri can't answer the question of when earth's expiration date may be. However, if population-we™ readers take action and follow any of the steps above -- we can extend that date. Let's choose this day and each day to make a difference and allow many more generations of its inhabitants to celebrate Earth Day, too.

Editor's note: In celebration of the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day population-we™ staffers will celebrate our love for planet earth with green posts this month!  

- population-we blog post by Becky Bohan Brown 
© 2013 population-we, LLC
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Monday, April 8, 2013

[Earth Day Edition] Be Green, Shop at a Habitat for Humanity ReStore

Truck that took away repurposed items.
Giving products a second life is the concept behind a Habitat for Humanity store in Omaha, NE. This isn't a one-of-a-kind store because there are 825 Habitat ReStores in the U.S. and Canada; however, you can happen upon original products. ReStores provide a socially and environmentally responsible way to keep good, reusable materials out of landfills.

Brian and I got introduced to the store when the new northwest location was in the demo stage. We both were in charge of the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) crew in conjunction with UNO’s 7 Days of Service. Since its inception in 2003, UNO students have chosen to forgo their spring break plans and donate their time serving their community as part of UNO’s 7 Days of Service project. Brian & I didn't just participate, we both served as the job site coordinators. To qualify, we attended an hour debriefing before the event and received instructions the day of.

Upon arriving at the future site of the Habitat Restore, we could tell it was going to be a total team effort. This was a day of hard labor and a lot of drywall dust; but we had a small army of volunteers to accomplish our task. Among the volunteers, Brian's best friend from first grade, Brian Orme. He took a day off from TD Ameritrade to join our volunteer crew. The six-hour day consisted of packing up insulation, tearing down drywall, cutting down beams and sorting out metals for the future site of the Habitat ReStore. All day our crew worked alongside a Habitat family. This family, recipients of a Habitat house of their very own, were putting in "sweat equity" this day.

"Like you saw today, each family has to work 350 hours of sweat equity. A 100 of those we try to get them to work on their own house that way they build pride of ownership," said Marshall Vernon, construction crew leader for Habitat. "We offer workshops where they learn home maintenance and lawn maintenance, as well as financial stuff. Pretty much anything you can think of you need to know as a homeowner they get taught in a workshop."

Brian and his best friend repurposing drywall during demo.
The mission of 7 Days of Service is to facilitate the building and strengthening of the Omaha community by actively engaging with the community and responding to the urban need. The feeling of accomplishment working together to get this site ready for a future ReStore is something Brian & I will never forget. We both recommend getting your hands dirty with this wonderful service project.

Months later Brian and I would attend the Grand Opening of the ReStore. At the event, Mr. Brown purchased repurposed lights for our basement and I found a framed movie poster. The feeling of buying repurposed items at a store we helped create was amazing.

Don't have time to donate your time? If so, each Habitat ReStore accepts donations of home goods, furniture, appliances and building materials (contact your local ReStore for donation drop-off or pick-up information). Better yet, shop at a ReStore and you'll love it!

In celebration of the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day population-we™ staffers will celebrate our love for planet earth with green posts this month! Thanks for reading our first Earth Day post. 

- population-we blog post by Becky Bohan Brown 
© 2013 population-we, LLC
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Monday, April 1, 2013

Four-Legged pop-we Contributor Unveiled

Anyone familar with the Disney Channel's "Dog With A Blog" watches in amazement as Stan, a Border Collie-Miniature Schnuzaer mix, speaks his mind and blogs about his adopted family. Unlike Stan, I can't talk, but ohh...can I write. Today marks my premiere as a blogger. My name is Pepper. I am what humans consider a mutt. In human years, I'm 14, and 92 in dog years.

I found my way to The Brown's household some 14 years ago. I lived next door when they rescued me from my mean former owners. These days it doesn't take much to make me happy.

I get a yummy treat everytime we watch a movie. So, my favorite saying is "movie time!" When my human companions say this word -- I get a treat. I even have my own seat where I watch movies. Knowing I'm a movie buff, I found a blog called, Sam on Cinema, for people who like movies and dogs. It also applies for dogs who want to see other dogs in film, too. Movies are rated on the Paw scale (1 to 3). Bonus bones are awarded to films with dogs in them.

The dog days of summer don't apply for me. I'm more of a winter kind of dog. Living in the Midwest, I get a lot of winter months to enjoy. My favorite thing to do in the snow is making dog snow angels.

To introduce population-we™ (pop-we) readers to me; here's my Top 10 happy list.

♥ making dog snow angels.
Pepper's happy list:

  • Dog food. I  Iams Lamb and Rice blend. 
  • Walks. I ♥ long walks.
  • Car rides. I ♥ car rides; especially with the windows down.
  • Doggysitters. I ♥ my doggysitters:  Patty and Mario.
  • Movie time. I ♥ watching movies. 
  • Pillows. I ♥ pillows.
  • Doggy box. I ♥ pop-we Dinner Club outings because Brian brings me home a doggy box.
  • Treats. I ♥ dog treats.
  • Bestfriends. I ♥ my doggy best friends:  Jessie, Kali and Zoey.
  • Dog Snow Angels. I ♥ making dog snow angels.

My advice to readers, give your fur friends any of the above and they'll be happy, too!

-population-we™ blog post by Pepper
(Editor's note: this post was written by Becky Bohan Brown --Happy April Fools!)
© 2013 population-we, LLC 
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