» A recent edition of Swimmer magazine showed how impressed folks were with our town after a national Masters meet this summer.
The cover headline: “Oh, my, Omaha!”
Omaha attorney Roger Holthaus, 73, said the meet for older swimmers was held at the CenturyLink Center after the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials.
Calling it the world's fastest pool, the magazine said that “leaping from the crazy-cool start blocks and seeing images and race stats flash up on the JumboTron” was spine-tingling.
No, the times weren't as fast as those of the younger folks. Holthaus said: “My time in the 50-meter butterfly was almost as good as my time in high school — in the 100 butterfly.”
» A Kansas City Star columnist wrote recently that the lack of new downtown apartment projects in the construction pipeline threatens to stall the return of young adults who are vital to that city's future.
“It's not that way in Omaha,” wrote columnist Kevin Collison, who knows the Big O from his time as a World-Herald reporter in the 1980s.
For some people, he said, “tax incentive” is a dirty term. But in the past four years in Omaha, he said, nearly 900 apartments have been built or redeveloped with the help of tax-increment financing.
“And many of our neighbors to the north think it's a good thing,” he wrote. “Every housing project in downtown Omaha has gotten help.”
» Speaking of K.C.: In a successful campaign last year for voter approval of a sales tax to help the Kansas City Zoo, officials there often noted that they didn't have penguins and that the Omaha zoo has had them for years.
The tax was approved, and now the Friends of the Zoo has announced that another $4.1 million has been raised privately to help pay for a penguin exhibit.
At a groundbreaking ceremony last week, zoo director Randy Wisthoff said: “This is something we've dreamt about for a long, long time.”
Wisthoff was assistant director of the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium in Omaha before taking the top job in Kansas City in 2003.
» The Omaha-based Union Pacific Railroad celebrated its 150th birthday this year, and this weekend the party happens in Sacramento, Calif.
Among other things, Locomotive No. 844, the last steam engine delivered to U.P., will be on display.
President Abraham Lincoln signed the Pacific Railway Act of 1862 and gave U.P. the mission of building the Transcontinental Railroad west from Omaha. The Central Pacific was tapped to build eastward from Sacramento.
The Sacramento Business Journal this month noted that Omaha was rated No. 3 in the nation out of 102 metropolitan areas in a new index measuring economic health, based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Sacramento Bee, meanwhile, noted that the real estate market in Sacramento has lurched from boom to bust — in contrast to “the gradual growth in home prices in areas such as Indianapolis or Omaha.”
The Bee earlier listed Omaha among cities rated as “most livable or as having the highest level of happiness,” along with Madison, Wis., Austin, Texas, and Raleigh, N.C.
“Few of these happy places host major league sports,” the article said. “They have the imagination to grow their fun locally.”
» The Summit League, the NCAA Division I conference that the University of Nebraska at Omaha joined, has decided to call three of its teams by the last name of the university on first reference.
That means the University of Missouri-Kansas City is just “Kansas City,” Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne is just “Fort Wayne” and the University of Nebraska at Omaha is just “Omaha.”
No problem. Locally, most of us call the local university “UNO.” But for years in the old North Central Conference, the coaches, athletes and fans from other schools unofficially but commonly referred to UNO as “Omaha.”
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