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Kelly: Media mogul Cathy Hughes will be honored in Omaha, her hometown

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Cathy Hughes, who should be a household name in her hometown of Omaha, is eager to return next week for two full days of public activity — both serious and fun.

The 1964 graduate of Duchesne Academy, who once lived in an Omaha housing project, became the founder and chair of black-oriented radio, TV and digital networks now called Urban One. Based in Washington, she is one of the wealthiest black women in America.

On Thursday in Omaha, a street-naming ceremony in her honor will be held at 11 a.m. at the Fontenelle Park Pavilion. A community reception will follow from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Love’s Jazz & Art Center, near 24th and Lake Streets.

On Friday, Hughes will speak at the Empowerment Network economic conference at the Hilton Omaha downtown. For reservations, go to or call 402-502-5153 by noon Monday.

That evening, she will be humorously roasted at the Omaha Press Club, open to the public. Her old friend Johnny “The Jet” Rodgers will emcee. Call 402-345-8008.

Watch early next week for my interview with the remarkable woman who grew up in Omaha as Cathy Woods. By the way, on June 7 she will join Oprah Winfrey for an event at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Ricketts hopes you 'vote 10 times,' but not the Chicago way

Gov. Pete Ricketts’ comment at the National Rifle Association convention urging people to “go out and vote 10 times” drew attention in Chicago.

The old joke about the Windy City is that people there vote “early and often,” sometimes from the grave.

The Chicago Tribute reported Friday that a YouTube transcript of Ricketts’ speech in Dallas last week showed that he clarified what he meant by voting 10 times.

“Not the Chicago way 10 times,” he said. “I want you all to make a commitment in this election year that you will go out and vote, and that you will get nine other of your friends and your family, your coworkers, to go out and vote as well.”

The Republican governor is part of the billionaire family that owns the Chicago Cubs.

Approaching 90, Nebraska City man still fighting retirement

It seems like every time I wonder if it’s time to retire, I run across someone like Allen Paap, still on the job as he prepares to celebrate a birthday Monday — his 90th.

“I like working,” he said Friday from Paap’s Sport Shop in Nebraska City. “I’ve got to have something to do. I’ve seen farmers retire and move to town, and in two or three years, they’re gone. They were used to working all their lives.”

Allen also likes to fish and to provide everything fishermen need, including fishing tips. His world-record black crappie, 4 pounds, 8 ounces, is mounted on a store wall.

He and his late wife, Phyllis, who died in 2015, raised seven children. He fights retirement, he says, “like a bass fighting a hook.”

I buy that line of thinking hook, line and sinker.

Katie Kelly and I are 'no relation'

A few folks asked if I was related to Katie Kelly, whose obituary I wrote this week. I’m not, but she used to tease me about our Irish name.

Katie, who grew up in Albion, Nebraska, wrote five books and made it big as a New York entertainment reviewer on TV. She moved to Omaha in 2002.

When I’d mention her in a column, I’d say on second reference: “Kelly (no relation) … ” So she started calling me “no relation.”

After Katie’s death from Alzheimer’s disease at 81, Albion native Pete Fritton of Norfolk, Nebraska, shared memories of his “dear family friend.”

Katie once told of walking in Ireland when someone hollered her name. It was Carroll O’Connor, famous for his portrayal of Archie Bunker.

“What stories she had,” Pete said. “What a hoot she was!”, 402-444-1132

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Related to this story

This week Hughes, chairwoman of Washington, D.C.-based Urban One — the nation’s largest distributer of radio, TV and digital programming for black audiences — returns home. Hughes will take part in events Thursday and Friday — an honorary street-naming, a keynote speech at the Empowerment Network’s “Rebuilding the Village” conference and a humorous roast in her honor at the Omaha Press Club.

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