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Monday, December 31, 2012

pop-we Dinner Club 2012 Year In Review

No. 1 Annual Year In Review Winner.
On Jan. 1, 2013, with the stroke of midnight population-we™ (pop-we) celebrates its third year in business. To commemorate the occasion, the annual pop-we Dinner Club restaurants rankings of 2012 were unveiled. The list is a culmination of reviews cast by pop-we Dinner Club members in 2012. Throughout the year the dinner club visited various establishments in the Omaha and Lincoln Metropolitan areas. Each month a member picked a restaurant to visit. The dinner club did put on some miles in 2012 and traveled in Nebraska to South Omaha, Ponca Hills, Lincoln as well as across the river to Crescent, Iowa. This year there was a tie for the number seven spot by two Italian restaurants. They both are uniquely different: one a chain the other a family-owned South Omaha restaurant.

Here’s our 1-11 ranking with No. 1 being the highest:

#1 Bonefish Grill: 
Goal is to introduce people unfamiliar with having fish to a unique dining experience. Tip: Free samplers while you wait. Earned 4.45 star average on a pop-we scale of 1-5. Read more.

#2 Brazen Head Irish Pub: 
An Irish pub steeped in tradition of providing good food, Irish music and authentic drink. Tip: To dine by a true Irish hearth ask for the Emmett Room for a private party. Earned 4.42 star average on a pop-we scale of 1-5. Read more.

#3 Longhorn Steakhouse:
This steakhouse has been serving fresh, never frozen and well-seasoned: steaks, chicken and fish for more than 30 years. Tip: The décor offers a rustic feel with everything country. Earned 4.3 star average on a pop-we scale of 1-5. Read more. 

#4 Jaipur Brewing Company: 
Indian eatery that offers authentic dishes full of extreme spice and flavor. Tip: Also, a brewing company -- so try the Jalepeno Ale. Earned 4.28 star average on a pop-we scale of 1-5. Read more. 

#5 7M Grill:
A hip and very contemporary eatery that offers daily specials and wine pairings with meals. Tip: Come in for half price wine night. Earned 4.23 star average on a pop-we scale of 1-5. Read more. 

#6 Biaggi’s
Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano offers a taste of Sicily. Tip: Go for Biaggi's bread with olive oil and Parmesan cheese. Earned 4.20 star average on a pop-we scale of 1-5. Read more. 

#7 Malara’s Italian Restaurant:
This family-owned Italian restaurant is known for its homemade sweet marinara sauce. Tip: Order the ravioli appetizer. Earned 4.18 star average on a pop-we scale of 1-5. Read more.

#7 Grisanti’s:
Spun off of Mamma Grisanti this chain has won popularity for their hospitality and made from scratch Italian food. Tip: Go for the unlimited bread that is kept warm on a candle-lit pedestal. Earned 4.18 star average on a pop-we scale of 1-5. Read more. 

#8 Johnny's Cafe: 
Johnny’s is the oldest steakhouse in town! Stop in the bar to take in the rich history of this original Omaha steak house. Tip: Meals come with complimentary cottage cheese spread, liver pate, and steaks come with mushroom wine sauce. Earned 4.07 star average on a pop-we scale of 1-5. Read more. 

#9 Finicky Frank’s:

Nestled in the hills of Ponca, this Ponca Hills gem has daily specials, craft beers and wine. Tip: Reservations are encouraged since it’s such a small, popular place. Earned 3.975 star average on a pop-we scale of 1-5. Read more. 

#10 Buzzard Billy’s: 
This Cajun spot in Lincoln includes an eclectic décor with alligators galore, as well as a menu full of Louisiana cuisine. Tip: The hush puppies are delish. Earned 3.95 star average on a pop-we scale of 1-5. Read more.

#11 Pink Poodle Steakhouse: 
This Iowa steakhouse has been open since 1964 and offers steaks to crab legs. Tip: They offer two soups of the day. Try the potato soup! Earned 3.53 star average on a pop-we scale of 1-5. Read more. 

Thanks for reading pop-we Dinner Club's year-in review. To view last year’s review go here.  If you want to do this yourself? To learn how to start your own dinner club, visit our January 2011 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.

Best wishes for a new year full of great food, health and happiness from all of us at population-we™!

-population-we™ blog post by Brian Brown & Becky Bohan Brown
© 2012-13 population-we, LLC 
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Monday, December 24, 2012

pop-we Dinner Club Reviews Brazen Head Irish Pub

The Emmett Room's Hearth.
Slainte! Is an old Irish drinking toast meaning "health." In November, Sue and the population-we™ (pop-we) foodies headed to the Brazen Head Irish Pub located at 319 N. 78 Street in Omaha, NE. Irish pubs have a long tradition of providing good food, Irish music and most importantly authentic drink. The Brazen Head Pub is no exception to being authentic down to the bar that was built in Wexford, Ireland, and then shipped over and reassembled under the supervision of Irish joiners.

When you walk through the two sets of double doors at Brazen Head you come to a frosted sign in which you either go right or left. Right is the Emmett Room that is a private room for parties (which is where they put our party of 12), to the left and around the corner is the main seating area. When you go around the corner is when you see the gorgeous two sided bar. Farther in the back is a small area where bands set up to play popular Irish tunes.

I have been to Brazen Head numerous times in the past and decided to try something different. Tonight, I ordered the Country Cottage Pie that is comfort food at its core. This dish is a very thick casserole made with beef, potatoes and cheese. This dense hearty dish was delectable with its spices and combination of flavors. I really enjoyed this dish even though I could not finish this heavy dish. Another foodie enjoyed the Corn beef and Cabbage while a couple others tried a Boxty. A Boxty is Irish potato pancake stuffed with various ingredients. You can check out their complete menu at .

After compiling the surveys from the other foodies the pop-we Dinner Club gives Brazen Head Pub: 4.42 star average on a scale of 1-5.

Country Cottage Pie.
Atmosphere/Decor – 4.75 

Cleanliness – 4.5 

Wait Staff – 4.33

Menu – 4.41

Food Presentation – 4.08

Food Portions – 4.41

Food Taste – 4.5

Cost (was the cost worth meal?) – 4

Noise Level – 4.48

Overall Experience – 4.58

Fellow population-we™ readers, if you’ve been to the Brazen Head Pub leave us a comment and tell us what you thought?

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.
Brazen Head Irish Pub on Urbanspoon

-population-we™ blog post by Brian Brown
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Monday, December 17, 2012

Spread the Word this Holiday Season about Charley’s Random Acts of Kindness Event

Nothing is more heart-wrenching than losing a loved one; especially, a child. It really hits home around the holidays. So, this season, population-we™ provides readers with a tool to battle the holiday uncertainties in the memory of a little girl.

"Love and speak now as you would wish to love and speak in the midst of loss. When that time comes, your past will speak through your presence, and being there will be enough," said Matt Hammitt, a heart parent and one of the founding members of Sanctus Real.

This time of year, loss hits home for the founders of Charley's Heart. The foundation was started by Kristen and Matt Ritchie in memory of their daughter, Charlotte (Charley). The foundation's goal is to help research for congenital heart defects (CHD), provide support to the CHD community, raise awareness, and above all, to celebrate the life of Charlotte. CHD is the most common type of major birth defect.

To channel her thoughts and share her family's story, Kristen started a blog ( She also began reading the blogs of other heart parents, becoming part of a CHD community.

The following is an account Kristen wrote on her blog when they learned Charley had CHD.

Aug. 15, 2011: The next pieces of the story are a blur. I retained little pieces of information…

“We can’t see a good view of her heart.”

“You have an appointment with pediatric cardiology tomorrow.”

“Termination is an option…You didn’t sign up for this.”

“Pulmonary atresia with intact ventricular septum…Hypoplastic right ventricle.”

“Surgery required within days after birth followed by more, which still won’t make her heart normal.”

"I just keep reminding myself that God has a plan for our brave little girl. She taught us so much in her short 12 months on Earth and the outpouring that we have had from all of you just shows us how powerful her story is," Kristen said.

Charley passed away on May 31, 2011. She was born on May 15, 2010. She had her first surgery at one week old and her second at two weeks.

Her sister, Jill Musil, said: "Many of you know the story of my sister, her husband and their little girl – my niece, Charlotte. Charlotte has been an angel for a little over a year and a half now…Some things have become easier for Matt and Kristen, but there are other things, like the holidays, that stir lots and lots of emotion. From day one, though, Kristen has chosen to channel her negative emotion into positive acts…"

In the spirit of the holidays Charley's Heart Foundation is hosting a Random Acts of Kindness event and we're calling on our population-we™  readers to participate.

Musil also rallies behind her sister's foundation and asks friends and family members to participate. She said, "Kristen is unbelievable! I wish I could be more like her…finding silver linings even in the darkest of times. So, it comes as no surprise to me that she’s still got more to give. During this holiday season, she’s asked her friends and family to participate and share a new event – Charley’s Random Acts of Kindness! This event will cost you nothing but will mean the world to her and her family!"

Want to help? Kristen outlines how everyone can participate below:

Charlotte AKA Charley
1.  This holiday season, COMMIT to doing something nice for someone…it’s really as simple as that. Seek out opportunities, become aware of the needs of those around you and open your hearts. It doesn’t have to be anything BIG…even the tiniest gestures can have tremendous effects. Leave treats in your mailbox for a postal worker, remove the snow from a neighbor’s sidewalk, hold a door open for a stranger…

2.  DEDICATE your Random Act of Kindness to our baby girl. What does that mean? Well, all that I really ask is that you think of Miss Charlotte while carrying out your Act.  Remember her. Continue to give her purpose here on Earth. Share her story. 

3.  DOCUMENT your Acts and share them with me! It can be a short sentence or two in an email, a long detailed explanation or even a simple picture…just something to let us know how you chose to brighten someone’s day this holiday season.  

Snail mail:  16424 Timberlane Drive, Omaha, NE 68136

4.  SHARE this blog post with friends and family. Help spread the word about Charley’s Random Acts of Kindness and encourage others to participate. The more the merrier!

"I hope you can find an opportunity to perform a Random Act this season…and if you can’t, I ask that you please send your thoughts and prayers to my sis and her family or anyone who may need a little extra TLC getting through the holidays!" Musil said.

Another component to this first-ever Random Acts of Kindness event it is a Christmas present of Kirsten's husband Matt. All emails she receives will be compiled into a book that will serve as Matt’s gift. Anything that comes via "snail mail" will be placed (unopened) into Charley’s stocking for Kirsten and Matt to open together on Christmas morning.  

"Just thinking of her stocking full of tributes to her is enough to bring me to tears. I am so in love with this idea and hope that we can make it a part of our family’s Christmas tradition for years to come,"  Kristen said. "I hope that you will consider helping with the first-ever Charley’s Random Acts of Kindness event. I pray that all of us will be struck by inspiration and find it within ourselves to do for others this holiday season."

As this Random Acts of Kindness campaign hopefully goes viral over the Internet as family, friends and strangers remember Charley's life, Kristen said, "I love you Charley Bear! Mommy is doing her best to keep your memory strong and your story alive in people's hearts."

- population-we™ blog post by Becky Bohan Brown
© 2012 population-we, LLC
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Monday, December 10, 2012

pop-we Contributor Reviews Dr. Joseph Burgo's Book on Psychological Defense Mechanisms

Explorative therapy is not the type of therapy that HMOs traditionally prefer. Rather than delve into the why behind a condition, many therapies only treat the symptoms. While this may be the right mode of treatment for some clients, the unexamined life for some individuals may be a life sentence where arrested development keeps them in a cycle of unhealthy or destructive behavior. For more than 30 years, Dr. Joseph Burgo, a trained psychodynamic therapist, has been helping his clients discover the underlying reasons for their behavior. Overtime, many of his patients who do the work required for effective therapy make incremental improvements leading to a more satisfying life. For over a year, I have been an avid reader of his blog After Psychology where he shares his insights into human behavior.

In October Dr. Burgo released his much anticipated book, "Why Do I do That? Psychological Defense Mechanisms and the Hidden Ways They Shape Our Lives." The book is a fascinating look at defense mechanisms aimed at teaching the reader how to disarm their own defense mechanisms.

I believe people outside of the field of psychology may routinely use the language of defense mechanism without always understanding what the terms really mean. How often have you heard someone refer to someone as a narcissist or to insults someone by saying they are passive aggressive? In reading his blog, I have gained more compassion for those who use narcissism as a defense mechanism. I think I have an even greater understanding of narcissism after reading excerpts in the book. I also have more insights regarding those who may exhibit passive aggressive behavior from my readings of Dr. Burgo’s works. Projection and displacement are also fleshed out in the book and frequently on the blog in ways that may not be as readily apparent to the average person. There are other defense mechanisms that are lesser known to the general population, but they also are important factors in why people do the things they do.

The book quotes Donald Meltzer’s definition of defense mechanisms as the “lies we tell ourselves to avoid pain” Dr. Burgo contends that everyone uses defense mechanisms to some extent. He writes, “Not every painful feeling must be acknowledged and felt.” He explains that there are times when “defense mechanisms help us manage the pain of life and therefore proves useful.” He certainly does not think everyone needs professional help. It is when the defense mechanism are making the pain worse instead of helping one to cope or have other negative consequences that a person needs to seek therapy.

Dr. Burgo explains how the defense mechanism denial may be normal and useful in some circumstances. At other times, it may cause harm to relationships. For example, he states that instances a person’s denial that they need other people may cause them to devalue and mistreat them.

Although the book is very comprehensive, I do think reading the blog provides important background information about Dr. Burgo and his expertise and world view. He has said that if there is an area that he considers to be his specialty that it would be borderline personality disorder treatment. A lot of therapists are not equal to the demands of treating these clients according to Dr. Burgo. Because he is able to bear a lot of the hate, rage, and anger that the clients may project upon him, he is able to help these clients to progress. Not speaking exclusively of borderline personality disorder, Dr. Burgo has explained that people can have trouble feeling empathy for others when they are too overwhelmed with their own emotional pain. Dr. Burgo credits his personal therapist for helping him develop empathy as he “was also good at tolerating hatred; he spent years helping me learn to understand and cope with my hostility…” He relates his experience with a client who went into a rage early in her sessions with him. She was too ashamed to return. As he has become more experienced as a therapist, he conveys to his clients that he can handle their volatile outbursts. Regardless of the different labels his clients may have, over time there can be much healing through the type of therapeutic relationship described here.

Dr. Burgo is not an advocate of using self-affirmations as the pathway to self-esteem. He speaks of authentic esteem that comes from the progress that follows the work. One of the examples in the book about a woman who believed she would be a lifer in therapy and was dependent on others touched me. In therapy, she wanted Dr. Burgo to solve problems rather than her working to solve them on her own. In work and personal life, she felt particularly deficient in Math and relied on others for this help. During treatment, she took courses to give her skills in Math. She further progresses in therapy as she worked to solve her own problems. Dr. Burgo feels that it is the satisfactions and growth that such clients experience that provides a real source of esteem.

Repression is a defense mechanism that has made its way into the common vernacular as the adjective, repressed. It too can be useful according to Dr. Burgo Once again, it is only a problem when the repression of an emotion is negatively impacting the person’s life or relationships.

The discovery of a repressed emotion or labeling of any other defense mechanisms is not an end in itself in psychodynamic therapy. There is not one moment when one arrives at closure and lives happily ever after from what I gather reading the book and the blog. As pointed out in the book, nobody is happy all the time and that is not our quest. While people will sometimes state that their goal is to be happy in therapy, Dr. Burgo will respond with the same question asked by his therapist when he was severely depressed and said he just wanted to be happy. He may paraphrase this response, “Are you interested in learning what you actually feel or in feeling one particular way?” The goal of the book is to help people experience the full range of emotions including joy. In the process, one needs to be exposed to negative emotions but not beyond your limits at the time or what you can control and balance. He is, in fact, straightforward in stating that it is a lifelong effort to continue to be aware of defense mechanisms.

The book is organized into sections and has exercises, which help a person to first identify their defense mechanisms and finally to work to disarm them. Although I have read some of the exercises and gained some awareness about myself, I plan to ponder the exercise more deeply when I have my print version of the book. I may not agree with all of the psychodynamic method or all the methods proposed by Dr. Burg as even those in the psychology profession tend to be eclectic in their approaches. I do find Dr. Burgo’s work to be substantive and his writing style at times to be quite poignant. He also has a way of breaking down concepts in a way a person who did not major in psychology may understand. This is an outstanding book for those who like to know what makes people tick.

- population-we™ blog post by Barb Bohan
© 2012 population-we, LLC
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Monday, December 3, 2012

This Season Help Support the Children and Families of the Ronald McDonald House

'Tis the season of giving, when we pause and think about those less fortunate. This season, area McDonald’s restaurants are hosting a tree of giving drive for the Ronald McDonald House. So, this year consider helping support the children and families of the Ronald McDonald House in Omaha, Neb.
77th & Dodge Giving Tree.

This tree of giving starts with a paper ornament. The Christmas tree is covered with paper ornaments, each bearing a necessity needed for families staying at the Ronald McDonald House. Secret Santa's choose an ornament and return the unwrapped gift under the tree at participating McDonald's restaurants by Tuesday, Dec. 11.

The following items are needed by the Ronald McDonald House in Omaha to provide a home-away-from-home for families that must travel to receive medical treatment for their children. They are:

  • Paper Towel Rolls
  • Liquid Laundry Detergen
  • Clorox/Disinfecting Wipes
  • McDonald’s Gift Cards
  • Tall Kitchen Trash Bags
  • Gift cards to Bakers, CVS, Food 4 Less, HyVee, Target, Walgreens, Walmart

To participate, I visited the 77th and Dodge McDonald's location and picked several items from the giving tree. Each population-we™ staff member has committed to buy something for the drive. To donate a gift in your area or learn other ways to help, visit

- population-we™ blog post by Becky Bohan Brown
© 2012 population-we, LLC
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Monday, November 26, 2012

pop-we Dinner Club Reviews Pink Poodle Steakhouse

Top Sirloin meal at Pink Poodle.
Just east of Omaha, across the Missouri River in Crescent, Iowa you will find the Pink Poodle Steakhouse that has been open since 1964. The location has had many things on the property since the 1940s: a house, a bar, a hotel and a tavern. Though the property has had two disasters a fire and a tornado, the wood arches that make up the cathedral ceiling are original. When you arrive at 633 Old Lincoln Highway, as you walk in the door you notice a large open room, with a couple old player piano’s to the left and a bar area in the middle of the room.

Tonight I had had the Top Sirloin for $17.95, which comes with a potato (I had hash browns), soup, salad, bread and they offer free refills. The steak was good sized, cooked to a nice pink medium and juicy. They offer two soups of the day, except for Monday as they are closed. The night we were there it was Potato that was good with large chunks of potato and a savory broth. The complimentary bread is homemade that everyone liked, as we had to keep asking for more. 

Beck ordered the Alaskan King Crab Legs (8oz.) with baked potato for $17.50. When they bring out the crab legs they also bring out a stand with the small candle to keep the butter warm for dipping the crab meat in. She really enjoys the crab legs and for the price you cannot go wrong. Check out for more information regarding Pink Poodle’s menu.

After compiling the surveys from the other foodies the pop-we Dinner Club gives Pink Poodle: 3.53 star average on a scale of 1-5.

Atmosphere/Decor – 3.14

Cleanliness – 3.14

Wait Staff – 3.57

Menu – 3.57

Food Presentation – 3.71

Food Portions – 3.71

Food Taste – 3.71

Cost (was the cost worth meal?) – 3.43

Noise Level – 3.71

Overall Experience – 3.57

Fellow population-we™ readers, if you’ve been to the Pink Poodle leave us a comment and tell us what you thought?

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.
Pink Poodle Restaurant on Urbanspoon

-population-we™ blog post by Brian Brown
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Monday, November 19, 2012

Nebraska AIDS Project Presents 20th Anniversary Event Dec. 1

Hundreds of people are expected to dance and raise money to support the work being done by Nebraska AIDS Project (NAP) on Saturday, Dec. 1, from 9 a.m. to midnight.

Attendees this year will be honoring the gala’s 20th anniversary at the historic Magnolia Hotel, 1615 Howard St.

This gala event has helped raise more than $3,000,000 to meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS and their families across Nebraska, southwest Iowa and eastern Wyoming. Nearly 1,000 people living with the diagnosis receive help from Nebraska AIDS Project every year. The organization also provides confidential testing of sexually transmitted diseases in response to an alarming rate of infection in our community.

As part of this year’s gala, there will also be a silent auction, featuring works by notable and emerging Omaha artists. About two dozen works will be up for auction from such recognized names as Thakoon Panichgul (shown below), Eric Post, Amy Haney and Shari Post.
Thakoon scarf auction item.

Helping to make the evening unforgettable are honorary chairs Dianne and Allan Lozier and event chair Carol Wang.

The Loziers chose to support this event because, “[The Nebraska AIDS Project]’s belief in educating the community and providing client services, prevention education, outreach and advocacy tools shows their determination to provide strategies to reduce risky sexual behaviors in our community thus reducing HIV/AIDS and STD’s.”

Sponsors of "Night of a Thousand Silver Stars" include Lozier, ConAgra Foods, The Nebraska Medical Center, Cox, Ginger’s Hang-Up, The Holland Foundation, P.J. Morgan Real Estate, Methodist Hospital and Delinea Design. Benefactors include Mayor Jim Suttle, Hastings College, US Bank, Omaha GLBT Sports League, Good Samaritan Hospital-Kearney and University of Nebraska Medical Center.

"I hope people come to the Magnolia, fall in love with a piece of art, and dance until their feet are sore, celebrating that for the last 20 years, they've been a part of an effort to help our neighbors live longer, healthier lives," said Carol Wang, event chair.

To attend, visit here for R.S.V.P details.

- population-we™ blog post by Becky Bohan Brown
© 2012 population-we, LLC
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Monday, November 12, 2012

Elections of 1860, 1862 and 1864 Revisited

As we put another presidential election cycle behind us in the United States, the last thing many of us want to hear about is politics. Both parties have put forth their visions and the people have chosen. It has been another bitter struggle played out on the Internet, on the radio and on television. Hopefully all of you had the opportunity to chose who you felt was best by voting. As we look around the world we should realize what a gift we have to elect our leaders. Millions do not have that choice. Our own country offers some incredible examples of the power of the vote. Perhaps there is no greater example of this than the elections of 1860, 1862 and 1864.


The country was bitterly divided in 1860. John Brown’s Raid of Harpers Ferry in 1859 crystallized the slavery issue. In the South, slave owners fears of an insurrection were piqued when Brown attacked Harpers Ferry. In the North, a growing abolitionist movement continued to gain steam. The Democratic Party could not agree on a candidate, splitting the electorate. An opportunity presented itself for the relatively new Republican Party and Abraham Lincoln prevailed in a close vote. Shortly after, in December 1860, South Carolina became the first of several states to leave the Union. The stage was set for civil war.


The year 1862 brought Senate midterm and local elections. In the midst of civil war, the nation moved forward with the vote. The war had not gone as quickly as most predicted, and it was obvious the end was a long way off. In the Eastern Theater, Union armies were pushed back from the gates of Richmond in a series of bloody battles. The Confederate army under Robert E. Lee humiliated the Union army under John Pope and pushed the war into Maryland. Lincoln returned George McClellan to command to drive Lee back. McClellan gained a hard fought victory over Lee at Antietam in September and the Confederates retreated across the Potomac.

In the Western Theater, Union armies found more success. Early victories at Pea Ridge, Arkansas, Island Number 10 on the Mississippi River, and Forts Henry and Donelson allowed for the capture of Nashville, Tennessee, an important state capital. Fighting in the West also brought the nation its first shocking casualty figures in a Union victory at Shiloh, Tennessee. In September, Confederate armies invaded Kentucky and threatened Louisville and Cincinnati before being pushed back at Perryville.

Fall 1862 found the Union fighting back invasions in border states that threatened major cities, potential foreign intervention from England and France and growing casualty lists. Predictably, the elections did not go well for the Republican Party.


1864 was a presidential election year. Union armies were having success but the end was still a long way off. General Ulysses S. Grant led Union armies against Lee in Virginia. Hard fought battles at The Wilderness and Spotsylvania pushed Lee down towards Richmond. Grant continued to press Lee at Cold Harbor, but was stopped in a vicious battle. Grant continued to press on. By mid June, Grant threatened Lee at Petersburg, Virginia. He would still be there in November, locked in siege warfare. A Confederate army invaded Maryland and threatened Washington D.C. before finally being pushed back in the summer.

In Georgia, Union General William T. Sherman pushed towards Atlanta. Sherman battled General Joseph Johnston most of the spring and summer. North of Atlanta, Sherman suffered a bloody setback at Kennesaw Mountain. Sherman continued to push towards Atlanta. Confederate President Jefferson Davis grew frustrated with Johnston’s retreat towards Atlanta and replaced him with General John Bell Hood. Hood came with a reputation as a fighter from the East under Robert E. Lee and joined the western Confederate Army of Tennessee in September 1863. Hood launched several desperate attacks to drive Sherman back. 

In the midst of continued fighting the presidential election was held. The Democratic Party nominated former Union General George B. McClellan as their candidate and ran on a platform to end the war. Lincoln felt he was likely to lose the election in 1864 and feared the country would be permanently split with the recognition of the Confederacy. Casualty lists continued to mount with no end in sight. Lincoln’s presidential hopes looked grim in late summer. September finally brought some good news. Sherman finally took Atlanta. Later that fall, the Confederate army that threatened Washington earlier in the summer was defeated. These victories helped propel Lincoln to a second term in 1864. The citizens of the United States voted to continue the war and victory came in 1865. Lincoln lost his life shortly after Appomattox, never getting to put in place his ideas for bringing the country back together.

Elections of today are filled with partisan bickering. If you look at American elections through history you will find not much has changed. During our nation’s darkest hour, people still were able to make their voice heard through voting. It is important that we as citizens remember this fundamental obligation now, and in the future, regardless of your political affiliation.

- population-we™ blog post by Ron Wiley
© 2012 population-we, LLC
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Monday, November 5, 2012

Native American Heritage Month: Book Review About Indian Mascots

As someone with Irish ancestors, I do not mind the “Fighting Irish” mascot of Notre Dame University -- so people of Native American descent should not mind mascots depicting Native Americans, right? I was able to quickly find weaknesses in my reasoning as Irish in 21st Century America are not in my estimation widely stereotyped; while, there are still pervasive stereotypes towards Native Americans. After reviewing Mascots That Honor Indians: The Audacity of a Dope For Suggesting Schools Change Their Indian Mascots by Edouardo Zendejas, I know that the reasons are much deeper.

By studying the book, I learned that Indians find it very offensive to have sacred Indian rituals performed at sporting events. As a people they may wear regalia or perform dances and rituals when they honor their heritage as they understand the special symbolism.

The tone of the book is predominately congenial and recognizes that many schools that use Indian mascots are ignorant as to how demeaning they are to Indians. After being enlightened, it is hoped that schools will select an alternate mascot to honor Indians.

Some may believe that the image of an "Indian Warrior" pays homage to the proud fierceness and competiveness of their past leaders. The text quotes, Barbara Munson, who is a member of the Oneida Nation and the chairperson of the Wisconsin Indian Education Association. Munson explains how some Native Americans feel about the use of "Warriors" as mascots. She said, “Yes we are proud of the warriors who fought to protect our cultures from forced removal and systematic genocide and to preserve our lands from the greed of others. We are proud, and we don’t want them demeaned by being ‘honored’ in a sports activity on a playing field.” She also has concerns that this image keeps Indians in the past and ignores their contemporary experiences.

Furthermore, Munson feels that focusing on tragic parts of the history when men fought as warriors for their survival ignores the beautiful aspects of their cultures during times of peace. She adds, Many Indian cultures view life as a spiritual journey filled with lessons to be learned from every living being. She also shares the attributes revered by many Native American cultures where their good men are patient, learned and gentle. In addition, She shares how many Native American cultures are child-centered and women are highly esteemed as mothers.

In the dedication, Zendejas recognizes the Indian students who have had to “endure the chants, tomahawk chops and other words and actions that mock and degrade their culture.” When I read this, I was not really aware exactly what a tomahawk chop is or why a Native American student would be so offended. A couple weeks later, my radar was up as I viewed a recent video of staffers of a politician who were doing the tomahawk chops. Their demeanor and their behavior seemed to overtly insult Native Americans.

In the book, there are illustrations of "Indian Mascots," which to me range from caricatures with negative images to warriors depicted in a noble manner. It also gives examples of mascots that honor the rich heritage of the Indian people are Omaha Nation High Blackbirds in honor of Omaha leader and educator Elmer Blackbird or Minatare Mustangs in honor of the horse skills of the high plains.

People may argue that their individual school may show respect in their behavior towards their Indian mascots. However, the book demonstrates how they cannot control the behavior of the other teams who may have signs or shouts with racial slurs suggesting their opponents go back to the reservation or relive the “Trail of Tears.”

In addition to suggesting that schools voluntarily change mascots, the book also shows how the curriculum of schools often fall short in teaching about Native American history. In fact, some of the students surveyed in the book seemed to draw their limited knowledge of Native Americans from the mascots and activities associated with the mascots at the events that they attended saying such things as “Indians paint their face.” Other students may recall a book report in grade school or a week or two on a given tribe in grade school, but nothing in the higher grades.

As I am in my forties now, I believe the cumulative effect of images is important and that we do need to start young in giving a fair and balanced history. Yet, our reasoning skills improve with age and we need to be exposed to the histories as we grow older so that we can process it on a higher level.

I had little familiarity with U.S. Indian Policy prior to reading the book. The book does give an overview of the various stages starting with the Indian Treaty Era and ending with the Indian Self-Determination Policy implemented by the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975. While people who knew very little about Indian history including myself are generally aware of grave miscarriages of injustice towards Native Americans. This book shares important landmark decisions and background regarding the United States Government as it relates to Native American Tribes. According to the findings of the book, non-Indians may have sympathy towards the past treatment of Indians but rarely think about Indian issues and many have stereotypical views. It said, “Few non-Indians understood that Indians have a distinctive legal status based on a long history of treaties.”

I knew Zendejas prior to his leaving Omaha with his family to complete law school at Brigham Young University. Upon his return, I was aware that he was a Chief Judge for the Omaha Tribal Court although I may have been sketchy on the exact title or details. While I was attending the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), I would sometimes visit with him in the hallways and considered taking his class. I believe I was only taking classes in my major at that point, but I do regret not taking his class. I am grateful that he published a book to help me begin the journey to fill this void. By reading his brief biography, I learned that Zendejas is a member of the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska. His biography and the book made me aware that I seldom associate the name of my city (Omaha) with the tribe for which it was named. It has piqued my interest to learn more of this tribe and other tribes of North America.

I am probably not alone in wondering whether Indian or Native American is the correct term to use. In the book, I learned that neither term is politically incorrect or offensive. They do not derive their sense of identity from either term. As the book states, "Our sense of identity comes from our Tribal membership or affiliation, and our extended nuclear families."

Members of Native American tribes do not want stereotypes perpetuated by mascots, in books, media, or Hollywood. They also do not want a romanticized view of their history. They simply want opportunities to tell their own story.
(Editor's note: This article is in honor of Native American Heritage Month. To find out more, visit

- population-we™ blog post by Barb Bohan
© 2012 population-we, LLC
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Monday, October 29, 2012

pop-we Dinner Club Reviews Malara’s Italian Restaurant

Malara's Italian Restaurant in South O.
In a South Omaha neighborhood, there is what appears to be a house but it is not. This seemingly grey house on the corner, except for the Italian multi-colored awning is Malara’s Italian Restaurant hidden away off the main streets. The restaurant is located at 2123 Pierce Street, in an older part of the city. When you walk into Marlara’s there is a little waiting area with a bar. To the left is the hostess stand along with a few benches. There are statues and many pictures along the walls, mostly of family. There was an empty picture frame on the wall, which was reserved for the newest member of the family, who happened to be at the restaurant not even a week old.

This night I thought I would try the Chicken Parmesan that came with a vegetable, pasta and a salad. The chicken was moist and tender. Malara’s uses a sweet marinara. We also had an order of the ravioli’s in which I thoroughly enjoyed. They were crisp and the filling was delicious. I liked my dish and others enjoyed what they had. The staff was friendly and attentive.

After compiling the surveys from the other foodies the pop-we Dinner Club gives Malara’s Italian Restaurant: 4.18 star average on a scale of 1-5.

Chicken Parmesan dinner at Malara's.
Atmosphere/Decor – 4.3

Cleanliness – 4.25

Wait Staff – 4.25

Menu – 3.87

Food Presentation – 3.87

Food Portions – 4.5

Food Taste – 4.25

Cost (was the cost worth meal?) – 3.75

Noise Level – 4.25

Overall Experience – 4.5

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.
Malara's Italian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

- population-we™ blog post by Brian Brown
© 2012 population-we, LLC
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Monday, October 22, 2012

Halloween with a Heart Haunts

When one thinks of Halloween they usually don't equate it to giving. In the Omaha and Lincoln metropolitan area many attractions this year have partnered with local charities. Some Halloween haunts are collecting items for their local food banks and others are donating a portion of their proceeds to a designated charity. Some area nonprofits are even getting into the Halloween spirit by offering spooky attractions. Still looking for that perfect pumpkin? A few area churches are also selling pumpkins this year for what organizers are calling "Pumpkins for a Cause." Proceeds go to missionary work and operating costs for these area churches.

Omaha's Great Pumpkin courtesy of Lutheran Family Services

Here's a list of what a couple population-we™ staffers are calling "Halloween with a Heart." Visit often for updates:

Now through Halloween (Oct. 31):
- Pumpkins for a Cause, First United Methodist Church, 7020 Cass St., Omaha, NE
Pumpkin patch, pony rides, face-painting, music, hayrides, petting zoo, apple cider and food.
Details: Admission $7 per person. Children ages two and younger are free. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 31. Bring a canned food item to donate to the Omaha Food Bank and receive 50 cents off admission.
More info: 402.238.2696.

- Big Red Barn and Pumpkin Farm, 132nd Street and Bennington Road, Bennington, NE
The pumpkin patch is open to the public on the front lawn of First United Methodist Church.
Details: For a nominal donation, stop by the patch and pick out your favorite pumpkin. Hours are Monday through Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
More info: 402.556.6262

Oct. 2-31:
- Cobweb Castle: The Omaha Children's Museum, 500 S. 20th St., Omaha, NE Open thru Oct. 31
Cobweb Castle, Omaha Children's Museum G-Rated Haunted House, offers a maze of the Ghostly Graveyard, creepy trees in the Find-Your-Way Forest and the castle's Vampire's Batty Bedroom, Pirates Parlor, Kooky Kitchen and Casper's Closet. 
Details: Admission is free with regular museum admission. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays; and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.
More info:

Oct. 1-31:
- Mystery Manor, 716 N 18th St., Omaha, NE
Mystery Manor one of Omaha's favorite haunts
Mystery Manor, Omaha's oldest haunted house. Built in 1887, it has been widely rumored that the ghost of William Hall still wanders these halls every October waiting for strangers to come so that he might resume his terrible vengeance upon any soul who enters Hall Manor. To this day, the murder of John Martin remains a mystery – hence the name "Mystery Manor." Supports Matt's Dream Foundation.
Details: General admission is $10 and Fast Manor Pass is $20. Every Wednesday is buy one and get one free admission. Dates and times vary check website.
More info:

Oct. 28
- Nebraska Wildlife: Nebraska History Museum, 15th and P Streets, Lincoln, NE 
Make a wildlife mask to use for Halloween 
Details: Admission is free. 2 to 4 p.m.
More info: or 402.471.4754.

Oct. 27
- Village Pointe Shopping Center, 17151 Davenport St., Omaha, NE
Join Lutheran Family Services where hundreds of pumpkins will be carved making up Nebraska’s largest pumpkin display -- Omaha's Great Pumpkin. Each pumpkin will represent a foster care children waiting for a good home in Nebraska. 
Details: Free. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. “Shining the light” celebration at 7 p.m.
More info:

Oct. 28
- Village Pointe Shopping Center, 17151 Davenport St., Omaha, NE
Children put on your costumes and join us for fun Halloween games, face painting and candy. It’s about safe, friendly Halloween trick or treating at the stores and restaurants of Village Point. Bring along a canned food donation to benefit the Food Bank for the Heartland or a donation of new or gently-used coats to be eligible for a drawing for a $25 Village Pointe Gift Card. All coats will benefit the Omaha Salvation Army.
Details: Free. 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
More info:

Oct. 28
- Annual Enchanted Forest: Hitchcock Nature Center, 27792 Ski Hill Loop, Honey Creek, Iowa.
Costumes welcome. Meet one of your favorite “Alice in Wonderland” characters in the forest. After the hike, visitors can enjoy refreshments, apple bobbing, pumpkin painting and carving (while supplies last).
Details: For admission, meet at the Trailhead, near the Loess Hills Lodge. All ages welcome. Admission: $10 per family. 1 to 3 p.m.
More info: Call Tina Popson at 712.545.3283.

Oct. 26-30:
- Boo at the Zoo: Lincoln Children's Zoo, 1222 S. 27th St., Lincoln, NE 
Annual fundraiser for the zoo, offers kid-friendly trick-or-treating. 
Details: Admission is $6 (free for children under 2); $3 extra if you wish to collect treats and $2 for a train ride. 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
More info: Buy tickets in at advance at or 402.475.6741.

Every weekend throughout October:

- Camp Fontanelle, 9677 County Road 3, Fontanelle, NE 68044

Come get lost in a nine-acre giant corn maze, which is in its sixth year of operation. Plan at one-hour in the maze, then stay for other attractions: petting animals, pony rides, lawn games and camp fires to mention a few. Pumpkins available with donations.
Details: 12 years of age and older $6; Kids three to 11 years of age $4. Open Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
More info:

*If we missed your organization we apologize. This an annual list, contact either of the population-we™ Bloggers below this time next year to be included.

So, this Halloween pint size ghouls and goblins will not be the only one's receiving gifts this Halloween season. The gift of giving has infiltrated this hauntingly fun time of the year, which is definitely population-we™ news worth reporting about. Whether you're looking for that perfect pumpkin to carve, a place for date night or to take the kids--why not patronize one of these "Halloween with a Heart" haunts.

- population-we blog post by *Brian Brown and *Becky Bohan Brown
© 2012 population-we, LLC
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Monday, October 15, 2012

A Victim's Account from Benson's Zombie Walk Omaha 2012

Marquee at The Waiting Room.
B-R-A-I-N-S! Could be heard echoing from the streets of Benson on Oct. 13; however, screams did not follow. Downtown Benson was again the site for the fifth annual Zombie Walk Omaha 2012. This year’s charity walk benefited the Siena/Francis House.

Founded in 1975, the Siena/Francis House is an agency who serves thousands of families annually in the Omaha/Council Bluffs metropolitan areas. The agency provides a variety of services to protect children, help adults and strengthen families. The shelter provides food to the homeless through its Meal Provider Program, clothing as well as case management outreach services. In an average year, Siena/Francis House will provide more than 20 tons of clothing to persons who are homeless. So, remember next year to bring some spare change for the Siena/Francis House collection buckets.

The charity walk began in 2008. This year, all ages participated in the walk both as spectators and zombies. The zombies were dressed in torn and blood ridden clothes. The streets were not barricaded so -- onlookers and zombies -- were in very close proximity with each other at all times on the sidewalks. Rules of sidewalk etiquette for zombies were outlined on the walk’s website: “SIDEWALKS: Speaking of sidewalks, STAY ON THEM! Don’t run out into traffic. Don’t jaywalk. When crossing at an intersection, let cars through when it’s their turn.”

My 2012 Zombie Walk Omaha horde.
Brian and I strictly wanted to be bystanders. However, inspired by the enthusiasm from other onlookers I of course decided to jump in and participate. A "victim," as outlined on the walk's website, is a non-zombie whose purpose is to be attacked by the zombie horde. Some “victims” like to dress up in military garb and attempt to stop the horde. I was dressed like an ordinary citizen with the exception of my Supernatural shirt. I didn’t duct tape my clothes like the official rules requested. Instead, I wanted to handpick my horde who would turn me into a zombie. It was the torn shirt and hot pink Cindi Lauper leggings that drew me to my zombie horde. That is how I truly remember the 80's Rock 'n' Roll scene (which was this year's theme). I noticed the group across the street and when they got closer politely asked if I could get a picture. Quickly the horde knew -- I was fresh game -- and asked if they could have my brains (picture of my horde is above). So, my very first zombified moment is captured on my iPhone to share with all of my twitter followers. In that moment, the zombie horde welcomed me into the world of the living dead -- all for a good cause. After the brief playful encounter, my new zombie horde only steps away from their final destination continued to the The Waiting Room Lounge and Brian and I made our way down the street.

Once the walk was over, Brian and I found refuge at the BEERCADE. Zombies seemed to be on their best behavior except for when enticed by BEERCADE patrons. At the front we were playing PacMan and a Transformers pin ball machine where on occasion we’d witness a zombie rub their face on the window. I went outside to send a tweet and overheard one of the zombies comment about BEERCADE patrons. She said, “They think they’re safe in there?” Yes, that zombie was still in character; even though the walk had ended.

Fun was had by all. Perhaps next year, Brian & I will get some friends and population-we™ readers together and participate as a zombie horde for this charity walk. Want to learn more about the Zombie Walk Omaha? If so, connect with the carnage at

- population-we™ blog post by Becky Bohan Brown
© 2012 population-we, LLC
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Monday, October 8, 2012

Meet Armless Archer and Olympian Matt Stutzman

On Sept. 15 and 16, the Nebraska hills of Ponca State Park was the site of the annual Missouri River Outdoor Expo.

Mission of the annual expo:

• Preserve the future and heritage of natural resources and outdoor recreation.

• Provide families with hands-on opportunities to learn about outdoor skills, ethics, safety, respect and stewardship.

• Celebrate outdoor traditions.

• Provide opportunities to showcase outdoor products, art, tourism and organizations.

For Brian & I it was a working vacation. We volunteered along with our Greater Omaha SCUBA Club to clean up a lake and staff a both. The club's goal, to introduce our outdoor sport to future SCUBA divers at the expo.

The weekend consisted of some firsts. Besides diving in the coldest water – we got to witness the most amazing feat -- World-Record Archer and Olympian Matt Stutzman. Stutzman is not like most archers, he was born without arms.

The Kansas native was born in 1974 without arms. He still gets along like most. “I drive with my feet. Nothing in our house is modified,” he said. “I can adapt, just adapt myself to make it work."

Today, Stutzman lives in Fairfield, Iowa, with his wife and three sons. He has changed all of his boy's diapers with his teeth. With this tidbit of info, he brought humor to his demonstration and poked fun at himself.

He said:

• "I can’t vacuum."

• "Have no fingerprints."

• "I don't wear gloves in the winter. I can be outside two hours longer than everybody else."

Stutzman commented on his prosthetic arms, which he has only wore a couple times. He said: "I brought the most expensive show and tell in my school’s history." He wore his fake arms to class. Someone also once asked his oldest son: “What happened to your dad’s arms?” He responded, “They’re hanging in the garage."

He told all the bright-eyed kids in attendance, he did odd jobs around the farm to pay for his very first bow. Next, he had to figure out how to shoot it with his feet, which everyone in attendance got to witness.

He told the crowd, “I don’t recommend doing this with your feet – I am a trained professional."

Olympian Archer Matt Stutzman at 2012 Missouri River Expo.
The target at the expo was 70 meters, same as the London 2012 Paralympic Games where Stutzman won a silver medal in archery. He shot from a seated position and used his left foot to put the arrow in place. He pushed the bow away with his right foot and pulled the arrow back with a release aid that's strapped to his body. His first attempt was shot with a regular bow and after that a compound bow -- all while using his mouth only to guide the release onto the string.

He is also a Guinness World Record-holder. In 2011, he earned the longest accurate shot with a mark of 230 yards.

A role model to all the kids in attendance, his message to everyone: Don’t give up no matter what's ahead keep going forward.

- population-we™ blog post by Becky Bohan Brown
© 2012 population-we, LLC
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Monday, October 1, 2012

Project Pink'd Inc. Exposed Calendar Sales Continue for October Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Today, Oct. 1, officially marks the start of Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) around the globe. BCAM is an annual international health campaign organized by breast cancer charities in October to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research, prevention, cause, diagnosis, treatment and cure. BCAM also provides a platform for breast cancer charities to raise awareness of their work and of the disease. BCAM is also a prime opportunity to remind women to be breast aware for earlier detection.

Nebraska ranks in the top quarter of the nation for the highest incidents of breast cancer. Iowa doesn't fall far behind Nebraska. Iowa ranks in the 40th percentile. It is estimated that Nebraska will lose 200 women and Iowa will lose an astonishing 380 women this year to breast cancer.

Right here in the heartland there is a local nonprofit who offers information and support to those affected by breast cancer. Project Pink'd, Inc. is a local 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the mind, body and spirit of those diagnosed with breast cancer, ultimately focusing on improving their quality of life.

The nonprofit was founded by breast cancer survivor, Cynthia Sturgeon; however, in order for the nonprofit to grow it needed to network and partner with cohorts in the Omaha metropolitan community. To date, a core group of individuals, Project Pink’d, Inc. Board of Directors, is now collectively taking on the nonprofits’ responsibilities and “vision of hope.”

Meet Breast Cancer Survivor Erika Waggener -- Ms. February.
To commemorate BCAM, Project Pink’d, Inc. opens its Project Pink’d, Inc. Exposed: Real Women for a Real Cure calendar sales to population-we™ readers. Wherever you reside in the world you can purchase a calendar or donate a calendar to a breast cancer survivor. Calendar Girls -- local breast cancer survivors, family, friends and significant others bare it all (PG-13) in the calendar. Calendar sales fund breast cancer programs in the Omaha and Council Bluffs communities. So, while supplies last, individuals and groups anywhere can purchase 2012-13 Exposed calendars at

"I feel so passionate about helping inform others about breast cancer and what I have learned through my experience," said Erika Waggener, a Pink'd Calendar Girl and one-year breast cancer survivor.

As this month highlights, early detection is paramount to beating this disease. Waggener (pictured above) also agree and provides a checklist for population-we™ readers:

  • First is that breast cancer is not a death sentence. There have been so many advances and there are still more to come thanks to organizations such as Project Pink’d.

  • Second, (if possible) know your family’s history. After my diagnosis, my sister and I were able to contact a distant cousin through Facebook to find that she had breast cancer for the first time in her early 20’s and she and another of her sisters are Braca1 positive.

  • Third is, know your body. Do your self-breast exams. Knowing how your body looks and feels today will help you notice if it changes tomorrow and then act!

  • Fourth is, get a second opinion! Being told you have cancer is such overwhelming news that you are almost in a daze. If not for my sister in law, I would've gone ahead and did as the first surgeon suggested and my story may have turned out so different.

  • Lastly, cancer does not discriminate. I have met so many women who have no history of cancer in their family. Go to your annual appointments and do your self-breast exams. Until there is a cure "WE" are our best chance for early detection and prevention.

Project Pink’d, Inc. is run entirely by volunteers. The pool of volunteers (including this blogger) comes from breast cancer survivors, co-survivors and community members. You will meet some of our Friends of Project Pink’d -- Calendar Girls and board members -- at our nonprofit’s website. ”

No matter where you hail from, you’re invited to join our Project Pink’d, Inc. movement dedicated to supporting the mind, body and spirit of those diagnosed with breast cancer; ultimately focusing on improving their quality of life. Become a Friend of Pink'd. Find out all of the latest breast cancer news and learn about what the Pink'd staff and volunteers will be doing all year long by becoming connected to Project Pink’d through our official Facebook page. Those who tweet, can follow the We are Pink’d movement @ProjectPinkd.

This BCAM,  as we do everyday, we live by and hold true to our non-profit’s motto: "Support the fighters, honor the taken; and never, ever, ever give up Hope."

- population-we™ blog post by Becky Bohan Brown
© 2012 population-we, LLC
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Monday, September 24, 2012

pop-we Dinner Club Reviews Finicky Frank's Cafe

Finicky Frank's in Ponca Hills.
Just north of Omaha, NE., on the other side of I-680 next to a carwash there is a little place called Finicky Frank's Cafe. Located at 9520 Calhoun Road, which is by the Ponca Hills area population-we™ (pop-we) foodie Michelle found this little gem. Based on a Ponca legend about a man who grew up in a nearby cabin, having picky eating habits and throwing large parties for neighbors and friends. In keeping with the legend Finicky Frank’s uses the freshest ingredients whenever possible.

Finicky Frank’s was established in 2007 at the end of a very small strip mall. It is a small restaurant but cozy with a friendly décor, from my understanding it was recently renovated from a drab shell of a place to what it is today. When we walked in, the first thing that caught my eye was a big, beautiful dark stained bar. As you keep looking about the room, you see some fun paintings that give it that relaxing atmosphere. When dining here, reservations are strongly encouraged since it such a small, popular place.

Finicky Frank’s has daily specials, crafted beers, wine and outdoors seating. The night we dined the daily special was a rib-eye steak with five types of mushroom accompanied by mashed potatoes with an au jus sauce. Three of us ordered the special, once we figured out whose was whose; one was well, one was medium and one was basically raw (I mean rare). From previous posts -- you will know I like mine medium. This steak was absolutely delicious. From the way it was prepared; it was tender, juicy and the mushrooms with the au jus just made it a real treat. Other foodies commented that the onion rings were excellent as were the curry fries.

After compiling the surveys from the other foodies the pop-we Dinner Club gives Finicky Frank’s: 3.975 star average on a scale of 1-5.

Rib-eye steak with mushroom special.
Atmosphere/Decor – 4.33 

Cleanliness – 4.5

Wait Staff – 3.833

Menu – 3.833

Food Presentation – 4

Food Portions – 4.16

Food Taste – 4.25

Cost (was the cost worth meal?) – 3.416

Noise Level – 3.33

Overall Experience – 4.08

If you would like more information regarding Finicky Frank’s or just want to check out their menu, go to

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.
Finicky Franks on Urbanspoon

- population-we™ blog post by Brian Brown
© 2012 population-we, LLC
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