Community Building

Love on the Run

The following is a guest post by David McGee. David is a native of Omaha, but has been in Lincoln for nearly 15 years and now calls it home. He is a recent graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha where he majored in Nonprofit Administration. David works for the State of Nebraska in the Purchasing Department and also covers University of Nebraska athletics for as a writer and photographer. He has been actively involved at Grace Chapel for nearly his entire time in Lincoln and during the spring and summer months spends many evenings playing in various recreational softball and volleyball leagues. He is also on Twitter at @dpm917. David talks mostly about sports so if that isn't your thing, you've been warned.

Love on the Run: Spreading the Love in Lincoln

This Saturday, February 7, join in on the love spreading! From 10:00am to 6:00pm, Porridge Papers will be hosting the 8th Annual Love On The Run Event. The event is open to everyone, so come early and enjoy! For more information, check out Love On The Run on Facebook.

Why Do We Love Lincoln?

...because Lincoln cares. About our businesses. About our people. And about what makes our community, ours.

Lincoln values building community and does so by inviting AND including the people of Lincoln in the efforts to make Lincoln better in the future.

You may have already seen this link floating around on social media, but if you have not already taken part, please take 5 minutes and share your vision for Lincoln:

For more information on Downtown Lincoln, please visit their website.

Recap: Peach Park Carnival

In case you were not able to join us last Sunday, here's a quick recap of the fun that was missed. The Near South Neighborhood all joined up together in Peach Park for some family-friendly afternoon entertainment. It came complete with a bounce house, face painting, and not one, but two dunk tanks! Check out the photos and be sure to join us next year!

Also, be sure to be looking for some flyers about more neighborhood events for the first part of August. I hear there will be a splattering of block parties rippling through the Near South.

Photo Credit: Valerie Jensen

Interview with an Outlaw

The U.S. men's national soccer team has advanced to the knock-out round of the World Cup, surviving the "Group of Death." They face Belgium this afternoon at 3:00pm.

If you're in Lincoln and looking for a place to watch today's game, let me suggest that you make a trip to the Haymarket and watch it with the American Outlaws at Barry's Bar and Grill. You simply won't find a better atmosphere in our city and, even if you wouldn't describe yourself as a soccer fan, this is an experience worth having at least once. 

The Outlaws, founded right here in Lincoln, typically call Captain Jack's Bar home. Due to popular demand, however, they've moved their watch parties temporarily to accommodate exceptionally large crowds U.S. soccer fans for the World Cup.  

I recently sat down with long-time American Outlaw, Scott Butler, to talk about the AO community and what to expect at their watch parties:

How long have you been a part of the American Outlaws?

Six years. 

As someone who is from the city of Lincoln, how significant is it that the American Outlaws were founded in Lincoln?

You can just chalk it up as another great thing about Lincoln. It means a lot and it’s kind of fun going around from game to game and city to city. First questions are: 1) Where are you from? 2) How many games have you been to?

When you say Lincoln people are like, “That’s awesome! Thank you! You’re one of those guys who helped start everything.”

I’d be an American Outlaw no matter where I was from, too.

What is like to be a part of the American Outlaws community here in Lincoln?

It’s a bunch of happiness, high fives, and rallying around one certain cause that we all believe in.

It’s truly like a second family to me. You have your family, you have your friends, but every game you can count on receiving those texts from your buddies beforehand: “Hey, are you going to Captain Jack’s for the game?” It’s a great community. Great people. Always a kind-hearted, open bunch. It’s always something you can rely on—every game day. 

So Captain Jack’s is home base?

Home base! Where it all started.

Describe the atmosphere at Captain Jacks on a game day.

Electric and infectious. It grabs ahold of you—it’s so much fun. Everyone staring at the TVs, so intensely. They know the starting lineup. They know who’s playing. 

I bet it’s a little intimidating for people who have come for the first time. And that’s why we try to have an open arms attitude about it, too. The game is a serious matter while it’s on, the hour before and the hour after are just as much fun though. 

It’s a lot of fun!

What would you say to someone who isn’t a fan of soccer about going down to Barry’s for the World Cup Watch party?

Give it a chance. Just give it a chance. Come have a beer and watch some soccer. You’re going to enjoy it. It’s dang near impossible not to—unless you’re a fun hater. 

Which is your favorite moment watching a game with the Outlaws? 

My favorite first-hand experience would have to be last September in Columbus, OH when we beat Mexico by the once-again famous score of “dos a cero.” 

If someone is interested in checking out the American Outlaws, how would they find you for a World Cup game and how would they join?

During the World Cup, they’re having their viewing parties at Barry’s, but any other U.S. Soccer game, c’mon down to Captain Jack’s. 

I could tell you all about the website, I could tell you all about how to sign up, how to get your membership scarf and all that, but before you do any of that come down and just watch a game. You’ll always be welcome. You’ll always have a good time. 





Meet the Near South Neighborhood

We may not be a large, well-known community, but we know how to play some serious softball. This past Saturday, eight different teams came together from throughout the neighborhood to compete at the 2nd Annual Chicago Style Softball Tournament at Prescott Park.

Last year Near South Neighborhood resident, Todd Bumgarner, organized the first tournament in an effort to build community with fellow residents and to bridge the surrounding churches, businesses and schools together to cultivate a wider sense of community in the Near South Neighborhood as a whole. As the pastor at 2 Pillars Church (also located in the Near South), Todd's vision is to see the Near South community be just that, a community that knows one another. So he decided to make it happen...and I think it has been a huge success.

Despite the heat, the turnout for 2014 was twice as big as last year and twice as much fun. Adults battled it out on the field while the kids took refuge in the mud puddles left over in the playground from the rain storm the night before. In the end, the Near South Naturals won the tournament, earning bragging rights for next year and the honor of bringing the best beer to the BBQ later that evening. 

Photo credit: Kelsey Sittler & Valerie Jensen

Looking for Something to do Sunday?

Have you ever wondered why the first Sunday of every May it is incredibly hard to drive anywhere in Lincoln without being delayed by an enormous amount of runners? If you have, you know where this is going. If you haven't....I probably just jinxed you and you'll find out tomorrow (you are welcome). Tomorrow marks another year of the Lincoln Marathon, and if you have never experienced this event, you should come out and join the fun tomorrow morning.

This Sunday thousands of feet will pound the pavement of Lincoln’s streets.The 37th Annual Lincoln Marathon will commence at 7am on May 4 at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln City Campus. The course spans all across Lincoln, beginning at 16th and K and ending at Memorial Stadium.

While the course is clearly marked, here are some fun landmarks of Lincoln for the strolling spectator to enjoy along the way:

  • The State Capitol

  • South Street (grab a cup of coffee at Meadowlark Coffee & Espresso as you cheer the first round of runners on!)

  • Lincoln Country Club

  • Sunken Gardens

  • Antelope Park

  • Holmes Lake

  • Union College (grab the second round of coffee from The Mill across the street)

  • Memorial Stadium

The number of entrants totals 12,500, and that doesn’t even account for all the spectators who will be cheering them on. (Fun fact for your weekend: The marathon usually sells out within hours on opening entry day.) Every year hundreds of friends, family and volunteers create an atmosphere of camaraderie that help inspire the runners to race over 26 miles, or 13 miles for the half marathon runners.

For more detailed information about the schedule, awards, and even the weather, visit the website!

Photo Credit: Stuart Grout

The Haymarket Farmer's Market: The Tradition Continues

There's a timeless feel to what goes on among the old warehouse buildings down in the Haymarket on Saturdays during the summer and fall—a local community coming together, folks from both the city and the farm, enjoying the exchange of hand-crafted and homegrown goods. Every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon, from May 3 through the summer and fall, the streets of the Haymarket will once again close to traffic and fill with local produce, fresh-baked goods and crafts, and of course, the crowds of people who thrive on the festive atmosphere that surrounds the Haymarket Farmer's Market.  

Anyone who grew up on or near a farm, or who has benefited from a friend's over-abundant garden knows that there is something special about produce that was in the ground just a day or so ago.  You can expect a different flavor from zucchini that has dirt still clinging to it or a tomato that smells pungently like....a tomato.  Farmers and gardeners from all over the area get up at the crack of dawn to load their trucks with fresh seasonal produce, and some of the favorites (like sweet corn) can go pretty fast.  

Louie Hanson and his wife Arla, of Fairbury, started bringing their metal crafts and custom lawn signs to sell at the market in 2002, and the appeal of the farmer's market is no mystery to him.  “I'm sure it's relaxing for people who have to work in an office all week to come and get a good dose of the outdoors.  We don't understand that, living in the country, but for us it's our excuse to go to the big city, catch up with the people we know, and of course make a little money on the side.”

Louie and Arla drive from Fairbury as early as 5:30 a.m. to ensure lots of time to set up and shoot the breeze before the opening whistle blows at 8:00.  Louie has become such a fixture at the market that manager Linda Hubka designated him the official opening whistle-blower.

Linda Hubka, the on-site market manager, stands in the Haymarket where the streets will begin to be lined with tents.

Linda Hubka, the on-site market manager, stands in the Haymarket where the streets will begin to be lined with tents.

Linda came on board as the on-site market manager in 2001, and she and business manager Jeff Cunningham have since worked tirelessly to preserve the tradition while allowing the market to grow and adapt to the city as it changes.  The last few years those changes have come in the form of construction on the Pinnacle Bank Arena and West Haymarket development.  Before it was the Railyard, the block northwest of the market was a big parking lot they could use, and they feel that loss keenly.  On the flipside, the farmer's market now has the go-ahead to expand into Canopy Street if needed, although Linda's not sure how much of that new space will be filled this year.

Even the inconveniences of construction and volatile weather haven't frustrated the momentum of the farmer's market, in Linda's experience.  “One of the biggest surprises is how well we get through the challenges.  We've set up in rain that turned into a downpour, then stood in water nearly up to our knees watching flats of plants go floating by.”  With 24 markets to schedule every year from May through October, in a state where weather is unpredictable at best, they have never canceled.  Rain or shine, the tents go up, and people do come.

Photo Credit: Christina Case

The Haymarket Farmer's Market: One of Lincoln's Original Traditions

The Haymarket Farmer’s Market represents an open-air market tradition that has been revived just within the last 30 years.  The original Lincoln “farmer's market” was in existence in 1867.  That was the year that the Nebraska Territory officially became a state and Lancaster, a small town of about 2,000, came out on top in the political fight with Omaha to move the location of the state capitol.  (Lancaster was actually renamed after recently-assassinated President Lincoln under the influence of Omaha supporters, who hoped it would create opposition to the move, since many people south of the Platte River had been sympathetic to the Confederacy).  

At the time, Market Square, the block between O and P streets from 9th to 10th, served as an outdoor market for produce and livestock and became a central gathering place for the growing community, as well as a camping ground for the wagon-loads of immigrants passing through on their way west.  A decade later the city moved the market a few blocks north and named the area Haymarket Square, in order to make space for the post office and courthouse that the federal government decided to erect.  

Haymarket Square continued to serve as a hay and livestock market until 1886, when it became the site of Lincoln’s first City Hall.  Lincoln exploded in growth throughout the 1880’s, due in large part to the railroad and the scores of manufacturing jobs that came along with it.  Several of the original warehouse and hotel buildings that characterize the Haymarket now have been preserved from Lincoln's boom town era (like the Creamery Building, Apothecary Building, and Lincoln Station.)

The Haymarket district was designated a landmark by the City of Lincoln in 1982, and began undergoing a process of revitalization.  As part of it, a small farmer's market that had started in another downtown location moved to the historic district around 1990 and has grown from about 10 vendors to over 200.

Think the history of the HayMarket Farmer's Market is great? Stay tuned to read how the Farmer's Market has grown to what we know today. To dive deeper into the history of the Lincoln HayMarket, check out:

Photo Credit: Hydephine

Lincoln Investing in More Technical Talent →

Mike Reinmiller, a member of the 2 Pillars community and lead developer with Honest Policy, was featured in the Lincoln Journal Star article about a class he'll teach in web development, coding and programming this summer based at Turbine Flats. The demand for programming and web development talent is great. To supplement the talent supply, classes such as the one that Mike will be leading are an avenue to better Lincoln companies and keep Lincolnites in Lincoln. Read the full article here.



Now that the NCAA Tournament is over, and the dust has settled, let's take time to reflect on this new Nebraska basketball phenomenon and what it means for Lincoln.  As a relative newbie to Nebraska, it didn't take long for me to get caught up in the excitement that is Husker football. Having no prior allegiance to any football team, college or otherwise, it was easy to drink that red Kool-aid and shout "Go Big Red!" The same rang true as 'Nebrasketball' swept over the city this season, and I was hooked.  

Pinnacle Bank Arena  

Pinnacle Bank Arena 

Before I get started, though, I want to get one thing out of the way. Pinnacle Bank Arena ... have we decided what to call it yet? Personally, I prefer The Vault to PBA, so that's what I'm using in hopes that it will gain traction.

Before Coach Miles, I only attended one UNL Men's Basketball game. It was well-attended, but for someone who knows nothing but the basics about basketball, it wasn't very fun. I couldn't tell you who we played or whether we won. It is no secret that Coach Miles was brought in to build this program, but I don't know anyone who expected the kind of season we experienced this year to happen so soon. My first basketball experience at The Vault was when we beat Illinois. To say that the atmosphere was exponentially more intoxicating would be an understatement.

I love Nebraska football as much as the next guy, but there is something in the air at The Vault during a basketball game that cannot be rivaled. Does a roof make that big of a difference? Or is it the inherent excitement that comes with being the under-dog who keeps coming out on top? I'm putting my money on the latter because Devaney didn't have the same magic. Whatever the source, there is an intimacy and enthusiasm at The Vault that I have not experienced at other college sporting events. That excitement is not merely contained by The Vault, though. It spills over into the quickly developing West Haymarket area without abandon.

Canopy Street

Canopy Street

It is a little known fact that early in the season, if you were to approach the entrance to The Vault after half-time, you could get in for the remainder of the game without a ticket. For the last home game, we met some friends for dinner across the street from The Vault, waited until after half-time and made our attempt with no luck. Disappointed, but not defeated, we made our way over to Canopy Street. We spent the remainder of the game outside with hundreds of other fans who watched, screamed, cheered and chanted as though we were court-side. It was an amazing experience I am eager to repeat

So, what happens now?  As we settle into the post-season for basketball, heading into the Spring Game and impending football season, Nebrasketball seems so quickly forgotten. Is it already a thing of the past? I think not. I think Coach Miles and his team of underclassmen are just getting started. In his unfortunately titled piece on, senior writer Tom Dienhart writes, "With this coach, with this fan base and with those sparkling facilities, Nebrasketball appears to be on solid footing for the future. It’s going to be fun to see how far Miles can take this program." This newly converted basketball fan couldn't agree more.

Photo credit: Sarah Frederick

Stabat Mater

Less than a week away from the performance, I am finding the true heart and soul of Stabat Mater. Consequently, I am also getting a glimpse of the heart and soul of Antonín Dvořák.. And Mary, mother of Jesus

Singing with the Abendmusik Chorus - and with Doane Choir as a senior in college - has always been challenging and rewarding. It’s hard work and I highly recommend it. There’s just something about singing with 30+ other people that teaches me to be aware of my surroundings, makes me want to succeed and follow instruction, yet flourish in my own way. A crowd of people learning the same work of art so well that we can reproduce it, and reproduce it well, is a feat that always amazes me.

I have had the great privilege of singing with the Abendmusik Chorus at First Plymouth Church since last fall. Our director, Tom Trenney, has led us through a trying and growing journey to learn Stabat Mater. His insight, experience and teaching ability have transformed us. We walked into rehearsal in February as individuals, each with our own problems, our own egos and, admittedly, varying degrees of familiarity with the piece. When we walk up to the front of First Plymouth on Sunday, we will be one body brought together by one woman, whose heart broke for her dying son, the Lord, who paved our way to paradise.

The first phrase of Stabat Mater translates, “The grieving Mother stood beside the cross, weeping, while on it hung her son.” Even to those of us who don’t speak fluent Latin, the feelings of Mary are made clear in that moment by Dvořák’s emotive composing and our director’s thoughtful instruction. The first movement sweeps you up and carries you through the movements, the emotions, the prayers of Mary. But it ends with glorious hope. “When my body perishes, grant that my soul be given the glory of paradise. Amen.”

The Abendmusik Chorus will join with Doane Choir, the Wesleyan University Chorus and the Abendmusik Orchestra for this performance of Stabat Mater. I’ll be the one wearing a choir robe.


Stabat Mater (“Mother Mary at the Cross”) by Antonín Dvořák

4pm | Sunday April 6

First-Plymouth Congregational Church

20th & D Street

Tickets: $20 Adults | $18 Seniors | $10 Students


Love on the Run

Each year, Porridge Papers serves the city of Lincoln by hosting Love on the Run, a free event founded on the idea of giving love back to the local community. Last month marked the event's seventh straight year.

In the video above, Lincoln photographer David McGee captures some of the action from this year's event, including interviews with Porridge Papers owner, Christopher James, and other Love on the Run volunteers. 

As you'll see in the video, Love on the Run is a great event for the Lincoln community! If you haven't participated in years past, I suggest you take a few moments now to mark your calendar for 2015. It's only eleven months away, you know.

Until then, check out Porridge Papers and Love on the Run online:

Porridge Papers website

Porridge Papers Facebook page

Love on the Run website

Love on the Run Facebook page