Thomas C. Marfisi
Aug. 11, 1947 – Dec. 31, 2018
His Legacy Is Peacekeeper
Tom Marfisi represented a kinder, gentler kind of governing in Omaha. He got along with everyone.
Marfisi served under mayors of both parties, 10 of them in all, from his hiring by Mike Boyle in the ’80s to his retirement under Jim Suttle in 2011. He spent those years negotiating contracts with police and firefighters and civilian employees, all while maintaining their respect and admiration.
Retiring seven years ago as the City of Omaha’s labor relations director, he had set the standard for fairness and sensitivity.
Boyle said he knew Marfisi’s work in Sarpy County as a labor lawyer, arguing for both sides, and decided to recruit him for the city. “He was out-of-this-world,” Boyle said. “He was one of life’s great characters. He was a generous, nice man.”
Boyle said he used to end his meeting with the question, “Is there anything you hope I don’t ask you?” He said Marfisi would always roll his eyes, and answer the question. “He hated that question!”
Not only was he an employee, but he was a good friend, Boyle said. “And those meals! He would prepare them at his home and invite everyone involved after labor negotiations. So good. He was an Italian with an Irish mother. He was very proud of that.”
Boyle laughed as he recalled one incident.
“Tom lived just down the block from me and one night he pulled into my driveway to rearrange something in his car. It went on for some time and finally a police cruiser pulled up and asked him what he was doing there. Afterward, he said, ‘Jeez Mike, thanks for calling the cops on me.’”
Retired Douglas County Human Resources Director Lee Lazure recalled that Marfisi not only negotiated with the city’s unions, but at one time also negotiated with the county’s 17 unions as well.
“We worked together on a project to try to bring our hiring practices out of the dark ages,” he said. “We researched a number of online application systems, but couldn’t find one that was affordable. But we tried. After that, I’d see him in the building from time to time and he was always a nice guy,” Lazure said.
Marfisi was a graduate of Creighton Prep, Creighton University and Creighton School of Law.
Bill Miskell wrote this tribute on the website for Heafey Hoffman Dworak & Cutler, “I have such great memories working with Tom at the City; me as the Finance Director and Tom as the Personnel Director. We had such a close relationship that we could disagree yet always respect each other’s opinion. Tom was such a great storyteller – I would revel in the descriptions he gave. Then there was golf – we always had a great time on the course needling one another and enjoying the game. Since my move to KC, I would talk to Tom every year or two but whenever we did talk, we just took right up like we had never been in different cities. Tom, I will miss that I cannot pick up the phone and call you.”
Tom died on New Year’s Eve after a long illness. He was 71. He is survived by his son John; daughter Anne; brother Jerry; and two grandchildren.
Services were held Jan. 5, 2019. Memorials are suggested to one of his favorite interests, Film Streams.
– By Lorraine Boyd


Oaths Taken, It’s Back to Work For County Commissioners
By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record

The 2018 election of Douglas County Board of Commissioners resulted in all three incumbents returning for another term, bringing a wealth of collective knowledge to the county’s governing body.
Democrat James Cavanaugh, running for his second four-year term in District 2, was the only candidate who had faced an opponent.
Mary Ann Borgeson and P.J. Morgan, both unopposed Republicans, were also re-elected to the board.
Borgeson has served on the board since 1994. She was the first woman elected chair of the board and serves District 6. P.J. Morgan was elected to his third term in District 4.
Cavanaugh took the oath of office on January 3, with his wife Leslie at his side, by Douglas County Court Judge Craig McDermott (top).
Borgeson and Morgan were sworn in on January 8. Borgeson noted that this was the seventh time that Douglas County Court Judge John Huber had sworn her in. She was accompanied by her husband, Bob (middle).
Morgan stood with his wife, Annie, to take the oath administered by Douglas County District Court Judge Thomas Otepka (bottom).
The Douglas County Board has seven members who serve four-year terms and have staggered elections. The other members of the board are Mike Boyle, Chair Chris Rodgers, Mark Kraft and Clare Duda.


Richard E. Croker
Aug. 14, 1923 – Jan. 2, 2019
One of the Nicest Guys in Omaha
Retired Omaha attorney Richard Croker, whose name is still synonymous with his law firm, has died at 95.
Ask any colleague or acquaintance about Dick Croker and you will hear one thing – as J. Terry Macnamara said – “What a great guy!”
Their praise for him was effusive.
Macnamara continued, saying that Croker had followed him as president of the Omaha Bar Association in 1988.
“Dick led with a steady hand, was an all-around outstanding person, as a lawyer, a friend and an administrator of the bar. He was a wonderful guy.”
Attorney Rich Gilloon called him “one of the nicest guys, and lawyers, I ever met in Omaha.”

Special agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) executed a series of criminal arrest warrants in 2018 for various individuals connected to an alleged conspiracy related to the exploitation of illegal alien laborers for profit, fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering in Nebraska and Minnesota. (Photo by ICE)

ICE Takes Criminals Off Streets of Omaha
By Andy Roberts
The Daily Record

Shawn Neudauer knows his agency is not always popular.
As the Minnesota-based spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the upper Midwest, he also knows it provides a vital law enforcement service that protects and saves lives annually.
ICE is a branch of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. They often are the target of criticism for their immigration enforcement work. However, few people would argue we are better off with the person featured in the following narrative on the streets.

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The new American family of Ryan Zleik, daughter Anastasia and son Theodore celebrates the naturalization of Ryan’s wife Lillian Haddad Zleik in December. (Courtesy photo)

New Year, New Start
Zleiks Now a Truly American Family
By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record

The New Year is indeed a promising one for one new American family.
But to understand their hope for the future, you have to know a little about their past.
Imagine that you are living in your hometown, practicing as a dentist, with a lovely young wife. Then the civil war that has been raging in your country for the past year catches up with you. You must leave your friends and family and flee to another country, not knowing if you will ever return.
Your country, your home, is Syria and it is currently one of the most dangerous countries on Earth. It is beset with terrorism, civil unrest and armed conflict. Several countries, and terrorist organizations, are fighting for supremacy.

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Gollobit, left, and Paul Gollobit stand behind the sales counter at American Shaman, 1517 Farnam St. American Shaman has been selling hemp oil products since October. (Photo by Scott Stewart)

CBD Retailers Hope Farm Bill Clears Up Legal Issue
By Scott Stewart
The Daily Record

Products derived from the family of plants used to manufacture marijuana have been openly sold in Omaha, despite legal warnings from the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office, but may soon have their legal status clarified as part of the federal farm bill.
The farm bill, passed recently by Congress, would legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp – a variety of cannabis plants that produces strong fibers and nonpsychoactive
chemical derivatives. Products made from industrial hemp would also be legalized, allowing products like hemp oil to avoid classification as an illicit drug alongside heroin and LSD.

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Scheer Named Partner at Woods & Aitken LLP
Woods & Aitken is delighted to announce that Kari A. F. Scheer has been named a partner in the firm. Scheer joined the firm as an Associate in 2013.
Scheer practices primarily in the areas of construction law and commercial litigation. She advocates for businesses of all sizes throughout court proceedings, mediations and arbitrations.
She also has experience litigating personal injury and labor and employment matters.
Scheer is admitted to practice law in the state and federal courts in Iowa and Nebraska, as well as the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. She is an active member of the Eighth Circuit Bar Association where she serves on the Board of Directors. In 2008, she received her J.D. from the University of Nebraska College of Law with high distinction. She will be working from the Lincoln office.
For more information about Woods & Aitken LLP please visit their website at

Kutak Rock Elects 24 Attorneys To Firm Partnership
Kutak Rock has elected 24 new partners from its attorney ranks in 10 of the firm’s offices – Denver, Fayetteville, Irvine, Kansas City, Little Rock, Omaha, Philadelphia, Scottsdale, Spokane and Washington, D.C. The promotions became effective on January 1, 2019.
“Our clients will benefit from the knowledge, experience and service our new partners bring to Kutak Rock every day,” said Jay Selanders, Chair of Kutak Rock. “These accomplished lawyers are dedicated to a collaborative, collegial culture and to the overall growth and success of our firm. We thank them for their contributions and are proud to welcome them to the firm’s partnership.”
The attorneys, in Omaha, elected to the partnership are:
Jason M. Caskey concentrates on intellectual property protection, technology law, commercial transactions, copyrights, IP development and related transactions. With experience leading an in-house legal team and as a litigator, he keeps a pragmatic and practical focus on assisting his clients to close deals while minimizing applicable legal, business and economic risks.
Michael S. Degan is a first chair trial lawyer who handles commercial and business disputes, product liability, insurance and financial services litigation. He has tried more than two dozen jury trials and has appeared in more than thirty state and federal jurisdictions. His practice includes state and federal litigation, multidistrict litigation, arbitration, mediation and regulatory matters. Degan also represents renewable energy developers in regulatory and transactional matters. He is recognized by Chambers USA, Best Lawyers, and Super Lawyers and is a fellow of the Nebraska State Bar Foundation.
Robert H. Grennan focuses his practice on technology and intellectual property law with a primary concentration on advising clients from a diverse array of commercial sectors in all aspects of complex technology transactions.
Erika E. Lynch acts as bond counsel to municipal issuers, as well as underwriters’ counsel, in connection with the issuance of municipal bonds. She works in the areas of single-family housing and state and local government finance. She also serves as bond counsel in financings for cities, counties, school districts and other political subdivisions in Nebraska in connection with general obligation and limited-tax financings for various public facilities and projects.
Ryan D. Portwood covers a broad spectrum of general technology transactions, specifically, health information technology, healthcare regulatory compliance, and privacy and data security. Prior to joining the firm, Portwood served as counsel/compliance officer for two healthcare organizations.
Clete P. Samson focuses his practice on business immigration, worksite compliance, employment law and litigation. Having previously served for seven years as a federal trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, he has extensive knowledge of the Immigration and Nationality Act and the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, including the proper preparation and maintenance of the Form I-9, worksite enforcement and business immigration law issues which impact all types of employers.
For more information about Kutak Rock LLP please visit their website at

Fraser Stryker Announces New Partner
Fraser Stryker is pleased to announce attorney Sarah L. (Sally) McGill has become a shareholder and partner of the Firm as of January 1, 2019.
McGill received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Xavier University, summa cum laude, and her law degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law, summa cum laude. Sally practices in labor and employment law, workers’ compensation and federal court litigation. She counsels employers on a range of labor and employment law issues, including hiring, workplace investigations, discipline, terminations, leave of absence issues, workplace
policies and procedures and wage and hour issues. McGill also defends employment-related litigation, workers’ compensation matters and administrative charges.
For more information about Fraser Stryker PC LLO please visit their website at
Emily Jung Joins Koley Jessen
Estate Planning Team
Koley Jessen has bolstered its growing Estate Planning team with the addition of Emily Jung.
As trusted counsel to families, business owners and individuals across the Midwest, Jung helps clients manage, protect and transfer their wealth in a tax-efficient manner while accomplishing their personal and financial objectives.
“Emily is a wonderful addition to our team,” says Brandon Hamm, Chair of Koley Jessen’s Estate and Business Succession Practice. “She brings nearly 15 years of experience in working with clients on estate and succession matters and is focused on providing exceptional client service.” Jung received her J.D. from St. Louis University School of Law and her B.A. from Southern Methodist University.
For more information about Koley Jessen P.C., L.L.O. please visit their website at

Baird Holm LLP Announces Four New Partners
Baird Holm LLP is proud to announce that Aaron B. Johnson, Kimberly A. Lammers, Eli A. Rosenberg and Vanessa A. Silke have been promoted to Partners with the Firm.
Johnson has a broad-based transactional practice, focusing on commercial lending, real estate, corporate finance and general business matters. Aaron regularly represents lenders and borrowers in various types of financing transactions, including acquisition and construction financing, asset-based lending, syndicated credit facilities, tax credits and working capital lines of credit. He also routinely represents clients in real estate acquisition and divestiture transactions.
Lammers assists clients with advice and representation for issues relating to Federal health care program fraud and abuse laws, regulatory compliance, Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, clinical denials and appeals including RAC audits, contracting, medical staff, licensure, credentialing, conflict of interest and human subject research and IRB issues.
Rosenberg counsels both industry leading and start-up FinTech companies as well as financial institutions with respect to their financial services products. Eli routinely advises clients on numerous financial services issues including electronic banking, merchant-acquiring, electronic fund transfer, credit card, debit card and prepaid card businesses.
Silke’s practice encompasses all areas of real estate law, as well as water, energy and natural resources law. Her focus is on traditional real estate acquisition and disposition, leasing, environmental compliance, water rights, land use, development and zoning issues. Vanessa also maintains an active practice as a lobbyist, and provides government relations counsel to a wide range of clients.
“We are very pleased to have these four excellent attorneys join our Partnership,” said Baird Holm LLP Managing Partner Richard E. Putnam. “They bring diverse skill sets to their respective practice groups and we look forward to their continued contributions to our clients.”
For more information about Baird Holm LLP please visist their website at

Baird Holm LLP Welcomes J. Scott Searl
Baird Holm LLP is pleased to welcome J. Scott Searl to the firm. His practice focuses on advising business owners and managers on a wide variety of corporate legal matters, including acquisitions, divestitures, commercial contracts, corporate governance, ethics and compliance, and dispute resolution. He also provides outside general counsel services to businesses which have legal needs but do not have in-house counsel.
Searl received his Bachelor’s Degree from the College of the Holy Cross before graduating from Creighton University Law School in 1989. Searl previously served as general counsel for two companies, most recently as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer of a large media company with responsibility for all legal matters, human resources and other administrative functions. He also served as general counsel for a technology data center and systems integration firm.
“Baird Holm is proud to welcome Searl back to the firm,” said Baird Holm Managing Partner, Richard E. Putnam. “His many years as corporate general counsel provide a unique and important asset to our firm and our clients; he has lived and dealt with all of the issues our business clients experience.”
For more information about Baird Holm LLP please visist their website at

Living the Values of MLK
Awards Recognize Government Employees, Community Leaders

By Scott Stewart
The Daily Record

The vision of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the actions of those who put his vision into practice will be celebrated today with the presentation of four awards to employees and citizens of Douglas County and the City of Omaha at a joint city/county event.
The awards will honor employees SongQuenetta Neal of Douglas County’s Department of Corrections and Orentheian Everett of the City of Omaha’s Recreation Department as well as civic leaders Maria Garcia Vazquez of Metropolitan Community College and Omaha City Council President Ben Gray.
Selection of the recipients of the annual awards, organized by the city and county human resources departments, were made based on nominations by employees of both governments.
Karen Buche, director of the Douglas County Human Resources Department, said the recipients model their lives around the values espoused by Martin Luther King Jr.
“The goal of the program is to honor our employees who portray the ideals and values and beliefs of Martin Luther King Jr.,” Buche said.
Franklin Thompson, director of the Omaha Human Rights and Relations Department, said the awards typically recognize a city worker, a county worker and a community member, but this year there was a tie for the community member category so two selections were made.
“We try to find one person who just sticks out the most,” Thompson said. “
The awards will be presented during an MLK celebration today at noon at the Civic Center, 1819 Farnam St., in the legislative chambers. The agenda includes musical tributes from the Omaha Central High School Women’s Chamber Choir and inspirational speeches. The event is open to the public.
Here’s a look at each of the four honorees:

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New MLK Event to Honor High School Students

The City of Omaha is launching a new Martin Luther King Jr. event this year aimed at fostering
the development of the city’s youth.
Community members are invited to attend the free “Living the Dream” High School Competition on Martin Luther King Jr. Day Monday, Jan. 21 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Doors open at 5 p.m.
“It will be a prestigious event,” said Franklin Thompson, director of the Omaha Human Rights and Relations Department. “We’re doing it up big.”
Students from Omaha, Westside, Millard and Ralston public schools, plus Cornerstone Christian School, will compete in poetry, vocal music, instrumental music and interpretive dance contests. Entries are original pieces created by the students on subjects connected to civil rights and social justice issues as well as promoting positive peer culture along the lines of the metro-area’s #BeKind theme for schools.
The event will conclude with winners being announced and the naming of a $1,000 grand prize winner and a Social Justice High School of the Year Trophy Cup, which goes to the high school that submits the most inspirational
material on a collective basis.                 – By Scott Stewart

From left, Nick Juliano, Lt. Tracy Scherer, Sarah Hayek and Hon. Doug Johnson kick off the New Year with the first 2019 Youth Impact! Brown Bagger on January 9.
(Photo by Lorraine Boyd)

Missing Youth Subject of 'Brown Bagger' Meeting
By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record

January’s “Brown Bagger” lunch meeting was a full house, covering one of the hottest topics facing law enforcement today.
PromiseShip Family Engagement Manager Sarah Hayek and Omaha Police Lt. Tracy Scherer shared the latest information on the new Missing Youth Initiative in Douglas County.
They emphasized that many “missing” youth are runaways, but all are treated with the same diligence.
Repeat runaways invariably get into criminal activity and/or are victimized, Scherer said. But it is only when they enter the juvenile justice system that the various youth services organizations and/or the courts have been able to intervene officially. Until then, kids are returned to their homes, often to repeat their behavior until they land in the system.
“It’s terrible to say that we have rooted for repeat runaways to get arrested, but that was the only way we could get them help,” Hayek said. Her emphasis is on 13- to 17-year-olds.
With growing concern, both police and youth organizations sought a way to intervene before that happened.
They convened a Runaway Task Force concentrating on prevention.

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MLK Events at Creighton Feature
Panel Discussion with Local Politicians

By Scott Stewart
The Daily Record

A trio of prominent African-American politicians will participate in a panel discussion at Creighton University later this month as part of celebrations remembering the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.
Douglas County Board of Commissioners Chairman Chris Rodgers, Omaha City Council President Ben Gray and Nebraska State Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha will discuss “Advancing Community Issues Through Government Service” and answer questions from the audience at the Jan. 18 event.
Jamel Walker, a second-year law student and president of the Black Law Students Association, will moderate the event. Walker said she will ask the panel how to make progress on public policy issues.
“They will be able to talk about the challenges and the opportunities that they see moving forward on issues that are important to all of us, but to the African-American community in particular,” Walker said. “It affects everyone, so anyone can come out. Government is something that controls and regulates, so there is information for everyone.”
Rodgers said he plans to discuss issues in the context of Martin Luther King Jr. and how black elected officials affect King’s policy agenda in different areas of the United States.

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Concept art showing the entrance from Leavenworth Street to the National Center for Health Security and Biopreparedness. The center will collaborate with and leverage the capabilities of the iEXCEL program within the Global Center for Advanced Interprofessional Learning. (Courtesy University of Nebraska Medical Center)

Preparing for a Pandemic Outbreak
UNMC to Host National Summit for Courts
By Scott Stewart
The Daily Record

Courts would play an important role in overseeing efforts to save lives during a pandemic outbreak of a deadly disease, balancing the rights of citizens against the need to act swiftly.
Officials have been exploring scenarios where an outbreak of a contagious disease leaves public health responders scrambling to stop the spread of infection amid the panic following airport closures, broad travel restrictions and other emergency measures. Facing such a scenario, courts could be asked to approve and monitor broad searches, destruction of personal property, breaches of medical confidentiality, closures of businesses, quarantine restrictions and other legal actions.
A national summit in Omaha this summer will bring together officials to consider appropriate responses and work through tabletop exercises so courts are ready to respond to a pandemic, as well as other scenarios such as the quarantine of physicians traveling abroad exposed to an illness like Ebola who need to be monitored and potentially isolated if they show signs of infection.

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MORE ONLINE:  Read “Preparing for a Pandemic: An Emergency Response Benchbook and Operational Guidebook for State Court Judges and Administrators” from the National Center for State Courts online at


Trading skinks for spokes, Adam Blowers relishes his job running the Community Bike Project Omaha. (KETV)

Community Bike Project Rolling Along
By Elizabeth A. Elliott
The Daily Record

If you are familiar with the terms freewheels and cassettes, chains and chainrings, headsets, cranks, bottom brackets, wheelbuilding and derailleurs, there is a place for you at the Community Bike Project Omaha.
If you want to learn those terms, there’s a spot for you there as well.
The Community Bike Project Omaha, located at 525 N. 33rd Street in the Gifford Park neighborhood,
has been providing access to bicycles, along with education on repair and safety, since 2007.
Founded by Emerick Huber when he was a student at Creighton University, the goal was to help kids be safe on their bikes. Volunteers and community activists in the Gifford Park neighborhood joined him as a neighborhood-based community involvement program that focuses on the transportation needs of neighbors.

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Carl Ashford surrounds himself with the tools, er books, of his trade at the Jackson Street Booksellers store. (Photo by Emily Kerr)

Jackson Street Booksellers
Find Your Own Piece of History in the Stacks

By Emily Kerr
The Daily Record

Upon entering Jackson Street Booksellers, one is greeted by the familiar, ancient scent of books that entices avid readers and collectors alike.
As the holiday season draws near, attorneys and locals alike can enjoy giving the gift of a well-enjoyed First Edition or a unique addition to any collector’s inventory.
In fact, a history book about the Supreme Court renders a meaningful gift when given to a newly graduated law student.
After more than 30 years in the trade, owner and operator Carl Ashford has rarely come across a title he doesn’t know and can easily assist with finding rare and unusual books from across the country.
Having studied history and political science in college, Ashford said he “grew up in retail,” working at his family’s store, The Nebraska Clothing Company.
After high school at Brownell Talbot, Ashford left Omaha to attend Macalester College, a private liberal arts college in St. Paul, Minnesota. After college, he moved to San Francisco.

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Judge Laurie Smith Camp helps Nick Batter unveil the portrait of Judge Joseph William Woodrough, the longest serving federal judge in history. (Photo by Lorraine Boyd)

A History of Three Judges
Portraits Discovered, Unveiled at Courthouse

By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record

The Roman L. Hruska United States Courthouse was the setting for one of the more unusual continuing legal education programs in recent memory.
The two-hour event Nov. 30 presented “A History of the Federal District Court” for the first hour, with a surprise “field trip” in the middle. The second hour offered “Lessons Learned from Practicing before the Honorable Laurie Smith Camp.” She took senior status that day and the Honorable John Gerrard took over as Chief Judge.
The first hour explored the development of the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska from its inception in 1867 through 1933, the year marking the end of Prohibition.
Co-authors of the book Echo of Its Time, Professor Emeritus of History John R. Wunder, Ph.D., University of Nebraska – Lincoln; and Dr. Mark Scherer, Ph.D., J.D., University of Nebraska at Omaha history professor; and attorney/historian Nick Batter discussed the social and political context of the most notable cases of the era. Not coincidentally, their remarks introduced three titans of the bench – Judge Joseph William Woodrough, Justice Samuel Freeman Miller, and Judge Elmer S. Dundy.
Judge Smith Camp had come across three large professional portraits of those three men languishing in storage at the Nebraska State Historical Society. She thought they might be appropriate to hang in the federal courthouse, if they could be restored.
Enter Kenneth Bé, paintings conservator at the Ford Conservation Center. He undertook the task and restored the portraits to their original glory, even patching a hole in the face of one of the judges. Each of these judges was examined by the presenters then, at the end of their remarks, the entire courthouse spilled out and descended to the third floor where the paintings were hanging. Each was unveiled with a flourish, as befitting these influential jurists.
Editor’s note: The book Echo of Its Time by Dr. Wunder and Dr. Scherer will be available for purchase in February 2019.

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Joe Kelly grew up in Lexington, Nebraska, and worked his way all the way to the United States Attorney’s office in Omaha. (Photo by Antone Oseka)

Nebraska Roots Serve Kelly Well
By Andy Roberts
The Daily Record

You can almost feel the warmth in his heart when Joe Kelly talks about growing up in Lexington, Nebraska, a place about as centered in the American Heartland as any you can find.
“It was a great experience,” he said.
Life in Lexington included grandparents and extended family from both sides of his family tree. The family didn’t farm; his maternal grandfather owned and ran the local newspaper – The Lexington Clipper – and Kelly’s father took over the daily operations of the paper after World War II.
A typical Midwestern boy growing up, Joe Kelly played football and golf in high school. He went on from high school to attend the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and graduated in 1978 with his bachelor’s degree in political science. From there it was straight into law school.
“I think the thought of doing trial work was the most prominent among the reasons,” he said when asked what drew him to the practice of law and his role as a prosecutor. “The excitement and fast pace of trial work as compared to other types of law.”

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Owner Richard Messina poses for a photograph at the front of his store, Play It Again Sports, just off 84th and Center Streets in Omaha. Messina is a retired veteran that revived the franchise in Omaha four years ago after several local Play It Again Sports locations closed.
(Photo by Antone Oseka)

Boots to Business
Play It Again Sports Thriving
Under Messina’s Ownership

By Andy Roberts
The Daily Record

The warm, cozy office in the back of the Play It Again Sports store off 84th and Center tells you a lot about the man who owns the place.
You can figure out he’s been to dozens of countries from the collection
of flags on one shelf. The collection of Red Sox, Bruins, Celtics and Patriots memorabilia provide a strong hint of his New England roots.
You’ll also see some items linked to his military service, because, in addition to a world traveler and a sports fan, Richard Messina is an Air Force veteran.
His transition to an entrepreneur came about, in part, through the Boots to Business program, a national initiative of the Defense Department’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP) which partners with Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) and the Small Business Administration. But more about Messina.
He grew up north of Boston and went to school in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. At the age of 17 he went to the University of New Mexico where he enrolled in Air Force ROTC. Graduating in 1991, he went on active duty the following year and spent 22 years serving our country. In 2010 Messina and his family moved to Offutt Air Force Base for his final assignment.
He refers to his service career as “a great adventure,” and recounts having learned a lot of leadership and management skills that aided his transition to civilian life.

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Minardi Named State Probation Administrator
Lincoln – The Nebraska Supreme Court announced the appointment of Deborah Minardi as Nebraska’s new State Probation Administrator. Minardi, the sixth administrator in 60 years, will direct the statewide delivery of all juvenile and adult probation services in Nebraska. The appointment is effective immediately.
Minardi has worked in Nebraska Probation for 39 years, most recently serving as Deputy Administrator responsible for statewide evidence-based programs and services. Her programs include: Alternatives to Incarceration/Adult Intensive Supervision Probation, Problem-Solving Courts, Reporting Centers, Sex Offender and Domestic Violence Management, Behavioral Health, and non-clinical services.
As a leader in the movement to transform Nebraska probation into the era of pro-active programming and evidence-based practices, she has been heavily involved in Juvenile and Adult Justice Reform and Problem-Solving Court expansion. On the national stage, Minardi serves as Vice President of the American Probation and Parole Association.
Minardi was integral in developing the nationally-recognized, award-winning Specialized Substance Abuse Supervision program that serves as one of Nebraska Probation’s flagship prison alternative programs. Statutorily, the Office of Probation Administration functions to provide central management of probation services for the Court.


Roger R. Holthaus
Feb. 16, 1939 – Dec. 18, 2018
Attorney Combined Love of Law and Swimming
Retired Omaha attorney Roger Holthaus died December 18 at the age of 79.
He loved his law practice, but in his later years, Roger also relished being feted for his prowess at competitive swimming.
When he was 74, he brought home six medals – four gold and two silver – from the Nebraska Senior Games. His love of swimming started back in high school in Hastings, where he was state champion. In later years, he was a familiar figure at the “Y” keeping up with his swimming skills. He made sure that his son, David Randall Holthaus, and foster son, Scott Carroll, both were taught to swim by his own early coach. Scott developed into a nationally ranked swimmer.
Besides his athletic endeavors, Roger was also an Army lieutenant, a teacher, a Douglas County prosecutor, owner of Holthaus Law Offices and a member of the Coordinating Council of the Learning Community of Douglas and Sarpy Counties.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at Carlton College in Minnesota, a master’s degree in political science at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and a law degree at Creighton University.


Pastor Brad Hoefs founded Fresh Hope for Mental Health, an organization
that offers mental health services for people in jail, homeless shelters or hospitals. (Courtesy photo)

A Pastor With a Past
Hoefs Giving Hope for the Future

By Andy Roberts
The Daily Record

Salvation and hope are two of the greatest gifts to receive any time of year, but especially during the holiday season. Often, they come from a time and place where no one would imagine.
Such is the case for one Omaha-area clergyman.
From the offices of his Elkhorn church, Brad Hoefs can claim to be many things.
He is a Lutheran minister, a husband of 39 years, a father, a grandfather and a mental health peer support counselor. He also lives with a bipolar disorder.
Marked by rapid shifts in mood, it is estimated that roughly 2 million Americans – or a number roughly equal to the entire population of Nebraska – face this challenge on daily basis. About one in four Americans suffers from a diagnosable mental illness in any given year. Of course, there is help, and that is what Pastor Brad Hoefs brings to those he serves.
It wasn’t something he always realized, and that realization came at a price.
The Wisner native moved to Omaha in 1985 as associate pastor for King of Kings Lutheran Church. Three years later, he was senior pastor of one of the nation’s fastest growing congregations. In 1995, as the church was moving to a bigger facility, it all fell apart during a major bipolar episode.
“Of course, it’s stress that sets it off,” Hoefs said.
Seeking relief from stress, he used to drive the hills on the edges of Omaha, sticking his foot out the door or window and using the mania to address his condition.

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U.S. Marshal Scott Kracl poses for a photograph in front of the Marshal’s seal in his office. Kracl took over the position earlier this year. (Photo by Antone Oseka)

Scott Kracl – U.S. Marshal for Nebraska, Hometown Boy
By Andy Roberts
The Daily Record

Scott Kracl wasn’t on the new job long before he was reminded why he opted for a career in law enforcement.
Walking into the federal courthouse in Lincoln, the new U.S. Marshal was welcomed by a familiar face who told him to have a good day.
It was “Mr. Hanson,” a Nebraska State Trooper who often came to the courthouse in Schuyler for court. The older man gave the young Kracl advice about making good decisions and staying out of trouble if he wanted to be a state trooper, advice he valued and took to heart.
It also connected him to the strong Nebraska roots the Omaha native counts on in his new assignment.
Kracl grew up in the metro area near 40th and Chandler, where he attended Gilder School and Omaha Bryan High. In 1981, his family moved to Schuyler as Kracl’s father took over the family farm.
“A little bit of culture shock,” he said. At the time of the move he wondered, “Why?” but that’s where he met Susan, his wife of 31 years. The couple have two adult children in their late 20s and an eight-month-old granddaughter.
“I just love it,” he said of being a grandfather.
The new job as U.S. Marshal also meets with his favor. Founded by George Washington, the Marshal’s service is celebrating 228 years of operation. The main job is to make sure the federal judiciary and all who participate in the justice system can work in safety. In a word, or two, providing security.

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Meetings & Seminars
For the Legal Community
JANUARY 15, 2019
Ralston Area Chamber of Commerce
January Members Luncheon
Guest Speaker – Sean Callahan
11:30 AM until 1:00 PM
Ralston Arena
For More Information:

JANUARY 16, 2019
Nebraska State Bar Association
Personal Resilience and the Workplace
12:00 PM until 1:00 PM
Hruska Law Center, Lincoln
For More Information:

JANUARY 18, 2019
Nebraska State Bar Association
Creighton: Community and Government Panel and Reception
MLK Panel
Advancing Community Issues Through Government Service
4:30 PM until 5:30 PM
Ahmanson Law Center, Omaha
For More Information:

JANUARY 19, 2019
Nebraska Legal Professionals Association
NLPA Winter Board Meeting
12:00 PM
For more Information:

JANUARY 21, 2019
University of Nebraska Medical Center/Nebraska Medicine
Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Event
“All Life is Inter-related”
by Ben Grey, Omaha City Council President
12:00 PM until 1:00 PM
Clarkson Tower, Lower Storz Pavilion
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JANUARY 22, 2019
Business Ethics Alliance
Busting Blind Spots
8:00 AM until 9:30 AM
Creighton University, Harper Center, Omaha
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JANUARY 23, 2019
Nebraska Paralegal Association
District I Luncheon – How to Respond to a Serve from the NEOC
11:30 AM until 12:30 PM
Anthony’s Steakhouse, Omaha
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JANUARY 24, 2019
Nebraska Legal Professionals Association
LLPA January Board Meeting
12:00 PM
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JANUARY 25, 2019
Omaha Bar Association
Annual OBA Wine Tasting
5:30 PM
The Barn at the Ackerhurst Dairy Farm, Bennington
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FEBRUARY 20, 2019
Omaha Bar Association
29th Annual “Lunch with Fenner”
11:45AM until 1:00PM
Omaha, NE
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