Maiden Voyage, Homelessness Rise, Pizza Party

FFP Omaha newsletter

Hey Omaha, it’s Chris.

If I could cue music in this email, you’d be hearing a thunderous drumroll. Or maybe the opening to “2001: A Space Odyssey.” The “Law & Order” theme song?


While we workshop that musical accompaniment, let me tell you about this email you’ll be getting every Thursday morning and why we’re doing it.

Flatwater Free Press started in 2021 with a goal of covering Nebraska better. In June 2023, Jeremy Turley became its first Omaha reporter. I arrived in October after three years reporting for The Reader, which closed last August.

Some of you may remember The Reader’s daily newsletter. It had Reader stories, featured events and need-to-know local stories from other media. Of all the things we did, people usually cited the newsletter as their favorite. John Heaston was on to something.

When I hopped aboard Flatwater we started talking about how to continue that.

We decided on a weekly briefing and added some big-name contributors. In addition to an Omaha-focused Flatwater story, every two weeks you’ll see a food review from Sarah Baker Hansen. Bart Vargas and Xavier Jackson have you covered with art picks on the first and third weeks of the month.

Each newsletter will also highlight the best stories we read from around the O last week as well as something that grabbed a staff member’s attention (could be a local event, a book, an Italian grandmother who cooks authentic meals on YouTube, anything).

We hope you enjoy it. We put a lot of work into making this something Omahans (and the Omaha curious) will find informative, personal and valuable. And if you have ideas for how we can make it better, email us. We’d love to hear from you.

So, without further ado (this is where the “Law & Order” music returns), let’s get into it.

Busby’s journey: Unsheltered homelessness is soaring in Omaha. Can one man and his dog find refuge?

Capone, a brown and white pitbull mix, lays on the ground of a homeless encampment near 40th and Decatur streets on Feb. 22, 2024.

The number of Omahans living homeless and unsheltered has skyrocketed in the last decade. It’s a costly, harmful issue that has ignited intense debate. Since February, we’ve followed Roland Busby on his tumultuous journey toward stable housing.

Read Roland’s story here (or click on the image above).

Just Add Salt - The SBH Review

Dolomiti has the pizza Omaha didn’t know it needed

Dolomiti pizza

I’m so excited to be a part of the first issue of FFP’s Omaha newsletter. My name is Sarah Baker Hansen, and I have been writing about food in Omaha for more than a decade, first at the Omaha World-Herald, and now for Flatwater. You can find my bi-weekly food reviews here and at, and all my previous work and extra goodies on my website, Email me at with food-related thoughts, ideas, questions or comments. Thanks for reading.

Up first: Dolomiti is a pizza spot that opened up quietly in north downtown in December but quickly earned serious neighborhood buzz. For my first FFP review, I ponder questions: Is Dolomiti launching itself into the top tier of top-end Omaha pizza? How leisurely is too leisurely on a drink order? And also, does a fancy bologna sandwich somehow steal the show?  

Read my review here (or click on the pizza above).

Sights and Sounds

The Peevish Tot
Indiana-based artist Michele Signorino returns to Omaha with his playful, interactive, mixed-media sculptures. Come join the menagerie and get your picture taken with one or all these mischievous beings.
– When: May 10 – June 7, Opening reception Friday, May 10, 6:00 – 10:00 p.m.
Where: Project Project – 1818 Vinton St.

Flags of Our Mothers & Black of Night
Indigenous artist Raven Halfmoon (Caddo Nation) explores identity, history, and tradition through her monumental ceramic sculptures. Atlanta-based artist Paul Stephen Benjamin investigates blackness through text-based work, installation, video, painting and sculpture; and poses the question, “If the color black had a sound what would it be?”
– When: May 18 – Sept. 15, Opening reception, Saturday, May 18, 4 – 6 p.m.
– Where: Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts – 724 S. 12th St.

The Art of Bob Hall
Tour a selection of original drawings by Nebraska native Bob Hall published by Marvel, DC, and Valiant Comics during his time in New York City, as well as oil paintings inspired by his time as artistic director of the Flatwater Shakespeare Company in Lincoln. 
– When: On view until May 27
– Where
: Ming Toy Gallery – 6066 Maple St.

Frida Kahlo and the Blue House (La Casa Azul)
An exhibition of more than 60 historical and contemporary photographs by Cristina Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Antonio Kahlo, Lola Álvarez Bravo, Florence Arquin, and Juan Guzmán documenting the Mexico City home where Frida Kahlo was born, lived and died. Accompanied by several of the artist’s iconic dresses.
– When: On view until July 27.
– Public tours May 18 in English (1:15 p.m.) and Spanish (1:45 p.m.).
– Lunch and a presentation of “Frida’s Mexican Identity” May 23 at noon.
– Sarah Banderas Martinez presents “Frida’s Letters of Love and Pain” at 1:30 p.m. May 25
– Where: El Museo Latino – 4701 S. 25 St.

Bart Vargas
What I'm Into
South Omaha's Cinco de Mayo celebrations

Finding weekend plans wasn’t much of a struggle: I’ll be with thousands of other revelers at South Omaha’s Cinco de Mayo celebration, which kicks off on el Diez de Mayo this year. It’s my first time attending the festival, and I’m especially excited to witness Sunday’s Mariachi Mass at Plaza de la Raza. ¡Viva México!

Jeremy Turley - Flatwater Free Press
Read This Next

An Arbor Day tornado razed hundreds of west Omaha homes, but incredibly, no Nebraskans lost their lives. Henry Cordes and Julie Anderson wrote a humanizing piece about the cataclysmic storm and its survivors. (Note: Some readers may need a subscription to read this story.)

Elkhorn residents are looking for help to rebuild their homes. FEMA agents surveyed the wreckage earlier this week, and county officials waived building permit fees for damaged properties, WOWT reported.

There’s a statewide election on May 14, and it’s the first where voters must present an ID to get their ballots. Poll workers will accept a wide variety of identification, including driver’s licenses, passports and university IDs, the World-Herald’s Chris Burbach wrote.

3M’s production facility in Valley, NE, will get a $67 million facelift and add 40 jobs, KMTV reported.

Police identified remains found in North Omaha as belonging to Levi Blake, an 80-year-old man who went missing in August, KETV’s Quanecia Fraser reported. For Blake’s friends and family, the discovery marks a tragic end to months of searching

Flatwater Free Press