98 Years of Tradition: Orsi’s Italian Bakery & Pizzeria

Orsi’s Italian Bakery & Pizzeria first opened their doors to the Little Italy community 98 years ago. It’s one of the last remaining landmarks in the historic area. In 2019 the company will be celebrating their 100-year anniversary. Nearly a century’s worth of memories, the bakery has adapted through many changes including many owners, some family and some friends. One thing has never changed though—the location. The neighborhood staple has remained on the corner of Sixth and Pacific Street.

The founder, Alfonso Orsi, started up the business in 1919, retired in 1949 and passed down the business to his son, Claudio Orsi, who ran the bakery until 1987. After that, Bob Orsi took over. His son, Bob Orsi Jr., continued the legacy and bought the bakery with Jim Hall and their wives in 2006. Four years later Bob Orsi Jr. sold his share of the bakery to Jim Hall. Jim, his wife and team have been running the place ever since.

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An entire wall in the entry of the restaurant is decorated with memorabilia of the restaurant and photos from the neighborhood over the years.

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The company rebuilt the entire bakery from the ground up after a fire burned down the place in 1997. A framed news clipping about the fire hangs on a wall of many photos in the front of the restaurant.

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In between answering phone calls and taking orders even during the slowest part of the day, Jim explained the process of making bread. The day starts early at 4:30 in the morning, when he starts mixing the dough.

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The dough rises in the large proof box for 25-30 minutes, and then they weigh it out and roll each loaf by hand. Fun fact: It’s the same recipe from 1919.

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The rolled dough then goes into a smaller proof box that can fit rows and rows of dough. After closing the box, they place it by the oven to help the dough rise.

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Because in the morning it’s a bit chilly in the bakery, they have to place the second proof box near the oven as the ovens provide the only source of heat. Dough is very tricky to play with depending on the heat and moisture levels in the air.

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After proofing one more time, the dough goes into the oven on one of five rotating shelves. They cook the bread at 425 degrees.

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After cooking, the bread sits and cools on the racks before being sliced and packaged.

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Jim is no rookie to making bread. Since 1967, Jim started coming down to work at the bakery at 8 years old where he’d help wrap up the bread and deliver to local grocers.

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On average, they bake 400 loaves of bread a day. On the weekend they bake 600 loaves of bread a day on average. In the past, they used to bake 3,000 to 4,000 loaves a day when they were still baking for grocery stores.

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Twitter Assignment Recap: Presidential Address to Congress

I found the #msuno Twitter experience different than the last time I did a live tweeting assignment. Overall I didn’t like the experience. I didn’t really get to enjoy (not that I really enjoyed it, but you know what I mean) watching his speech because I was trying to tweet at the speed of light and listen at the same time. I felt like Trump’s first Address to Congress went by really quick and it was hard to keep up with the tweeting.

Also, it was difficult because he changed topics so often one after another in between way too much clapping. He really was all over the place and before I could decipher what he had said, then the camera would zoom out to the crowd clapping every other minute for the entire live stream of the meeting, which was distracting. The organization of his speech could have probably been set up differently and easier to digest. Or perhaps he could have picked a handful of subjects instead of barely going into detail for each talking point.

Before tweeting, I had another tab pulled up to fact check some of his statements. That was hard to keep up on, too! He listed off a lot of numbers and statistics I wanted to check on before tweeting. I’m interested in hearing about the fact checking results tomorrow.

One way I might find value in keeping or maintaining my Twitter account after the semester ends is just following the news sources and comedians I already follow, and seeing what crazy think Trump tweets here and there. I’m also required to have a Twitter account for work reasons helping with leadership’s social media, so there’s that too for a reason why I’d maintain the account. Like Facebook, I don’t keep my Twitter public so it doesn’t really serve a purpose as far as networking goes. I know many people use Twitter for their own businesses, which I don’t have. I think LinkedIn is better for networking, etc.

My twitter: https://twitter.com/KaityJankovich – @KaityJankovich

February 27, 2017 Lecture Recap: The Basics of News Photography

Chris Machian, staff photographer for The Omaha World-Herald (OWH) and University of Nebraska at Omaha alumni spoke with our class about the basics of news photography.

“Your basic goal is to tell a story with photos,” Machian said. “Sometimes with one photo or many different photos.”

Machian led the class through a slideshow of some photos taken in his photojournalism career and gave insight on most such as why he took the photo, how he took the photo, why he chose a certain angle, certain lighting or chose to use a certain lens.

“There are three basic types of photos that you should try to incorporate into your assignment,” said Machian.

Those shots are:

  • Tight/detailed shot
  • Medium shot
  • Wide shot (establishing shot that gives a sense of time and place (i.e. using a wide angle lens)

“The medium shot is your standard shot,” said Machian.

For an example, he showed a medium shot photo of a woman digging out her child’s piggy bank from her home’s rubble after a tornado tore through the town.

“Always have a human or lively element to a photo,” said Machian.

When it comes to wide shots, Machian said, it helps show how many people are in attendance, for example at a sport’s game/arena or a council meeting.

Machian said there are other things to consider with photos aside from how wide or close a shot is such as including:

  • Background
    • Moving and waiting to position a subject and frame/capture the photo in the best way
    • Make sure to pay close attention to what’s in your background so it doesn’t take away from the subject
  • Lighting
    • Whether window light, natural light or flash

“Window lights are your friends in these assignments,” said Machian.

  • Lens Choice
    • i.e. Long lens to blur out background
      • Long lenses can visually compress things (the image)
    • i.e. Wide angle lens to capture everything
  • Layers
    • You’re playing with different fields of depth
    • Not everything has to be in focus
    • You get to pick what’s in focus, and in turn, what’s the most important part of the image
    • You can have multiple layers with a wide shot
      • i.e. With a sports photo on a golf course, you can have out of focus fans watching, but in focus of a man swinging his golf club
  • Captions
    • Make sure to identify the people in photo, include the date (month, day, year), and identify names using “left, right, center” or “from left to right”
    • Use a verb in the caption “So and so doing this…”
    • Unless you’re 100% sure, write only what you know. Be accurate. If you don’t know, ask someone.
  • Ethics
    • Minimize harm
      • “Ethical journalism treats sources, subjects, colleague and members of the public as human beings deserving of respect.”

Little Italy: Through the Eyes of the Community – Kindness and Culture

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Daniel Thompson III and his dog, Bob, resting on Grace University’s campus after a long summertime walk around and game of fetch-the-stick.

“I’ve lived in my current home in Little Italy for the past almost two years,” said Daniel Thompson III. “But I’ve lived in this area pretty much since I moved here from Michigan.”

After Thompson graduated with a degree in Photojournalism from Central Michigan University, he packed his bags and moved to Nebraska to work for his friend’s studio, Make Believe Studios. At first he found an apartment in the central part of Omaha, but it was noisy and didn’t have much culture attached to it.

It didn’t take long before he jumped at the opportunity to move to Little Italy with close friends, which a few have become business partners over the years. In 2011 Thompson moved into the area and hasn’t left since.

“Before the place I’m at now, I lived up the street close to Grace University’s quiet campus with some creative friends who were mainly into music and art,” said Thompson. “And before that house on Pine Street, I lived a few blocks in a row house on Hickory Street.”

Thompson said there’s something about the area that’s kept him here as opposed to other eclectic areas like Dundee or Benson. Part of the reason he’s enjoyed the neighborhood is living so close to his business. Thompson is the Creative Director and co-owner of Make Believe New Media (MBNM). He recently moved the business, but from early 2014 to December of 2016, the MBNM office—what he referred to as his second home—was on historic 10th Street.

“Living within a few minutes from and being able to walk to your work is something everyone probably would appreciate,” said Thompson.

Thompson also enjoyed the flexibility of being able to run home on lunch breaks and spend some quality time outside running around with his dog, Bob. There are many options of taking his dog on a walk whether through Dahlman Park, through Grace University’s campus, down to ConAgra Park or the Old Market.

“Bob loves running through this one open field at the campus. During the summer when the weather is perfect, it’s just what he needs,” said Thompson. “Border Collies need tons of exercise and with Dahlman and the campus so close it helps keep him busy whether he’s chasing squirrels or rabbits.”

Thompson joked that it’s not the dog that he’s walking but the dog that forces Dan to get out and enjoy the scenery.

“The views we have at the place we’re at now are great. If we walk up the street at the top of the hill we’re able to get a perfect view of downtown, the Old Market, and the ConAgra Park water fountain when it’s lit up at night,” said Thompson.

He said during the summer he’s even able to hear the Stir Cove concerts across the river.

“If it’s quiet enough you can hear some of the animals at the zoo early in the morning, too,” said Thompson.

The houses and older apartments down here aren’t for everyone. If you’re looking for stainless steel appliances, brand new flooring and Ikea cabinets look elsewhere, and expect to pay a ton. They’re old, he said, 100 plus years old.

“The place I’m at now is 102 years old,” said Thompson. “From what I’ve heard from the landlord and neighbors who’ve lived here for decades, these houses we live in lined up down the street used to have a tunnel connecting all the way down the street. They used it for bootlegging liquor beneath the streets during prohibition.”

In the basement there is a boarded up part of the wall covering that tunnel entrance. The history attached to the houses, the local shops like Orsi’s Italian Bakery & Pizzeria and more are a big reason he likes the area. Shop owners and neighbors have become friends—whether hosting neighbor-night bonfires, catching up with the neighborhood “grandma” down the street. The area is only getting better as time goes on. New families and businesses are settling in and it’s nice to see the progress, he shared.

“The places here have got so much character and memories attached to them,” said Thompson. “From neighbors who have given me dog food when I first got Bob as a puppy, or the bakery down the street that gives me an occasional free loaf of bread, I’ve never seen as much kindness anywhere in Omaha as much as I have down here.”

Little Italy: Through the Eyes of the Community – A Hidden Gem

“My last name is spelled P-I-E-R-C-E, just like the street down here,” said Christina Pierce.

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Map of Little Italy, Omaha

Pierce is a licensed massage therapist (LMT) in Little Italy—an Omaha, Nebraska neighborhood she’s spent nearly 30 years of her life growing up in. She’s lived through and witnessed three decades of change in the historic neighborhood and surrounding area.

Running her at-home practice, Omaha Ashiatsu & Bodywork, has its own special connection to the atmosphere of the neighborhood. Little Italy has its unique characteristics and sounds such as the train tracks just down the road.

“The sounds of the trains, even when I’m doing my massage I can hear them sometimes and it blends—to me, it’s like music to my ears—with the [background] music and everything else,” said Pierce. “Little Italy. It’s a hidden gem.”

Her parents moved into their home in Little Italy two years before she was born. At 17 years old, Pierce moved out from her childhood home for six years but didn’t move beyond east of 50th Street. She still stayed connected to the area. As you can imagine, a lot of change can happen in just five years, in ten, or thirty. With additions like Via Farina, the Blue Barn Theater, and soon-to-be Tenth Street Market it’s coming around to be a better area for business. Although the area is a few miles from the Old Market, it’s close enough to walk to and enjoy all the city has to offer but far enough away from the busy downtown hustle and bustle. The area is quiet, quaint, and it’s slowly changing.

“I’m just now seeing change,” said Pierce. “I suppose the biggest moment of change was when they tore down Caniglia’s where I worked as a busser when I was 16.”

The long-standing restaurant closed in 2005. The Caniglia family’s history in Omaha began in the 1910s running a bakery in Little Italy. From the bakery, it became Caniglia’s Pizzaria, then later became a steakhouse called the Original Caniglia’s, located near Seventh and Pierce Streets in 1946, according to the Omaha World-Herald.

Some of Pierce’s favorite memories through the years include sledding the snowy hills at Dahlman Park each winter, or visits to Olsen Bake Shop for doughnuts, eating great Italian food at Angie’s Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge (which closed in 2007), or celebrating special family events at Cascio’s Steakhouse—“a delicious Omaha landmark”. With its bright pink neon sign, Cascio’s Steakhouse is notably busy with packed parking lots every weekend. How does the steakhouse stay so busy?

“There’s no other reason. It’s tradition,” said Pierce.

Tradition has kept a lot of restaurants open and running in the neighborhood, but only few have remained. Orsi’s Italian Bakery & Pizzeria on the corner of Sixth and Pacific Street is one example. It’s truly one of the last remaining landmarks, founded in 1919. Staple restaurants have come and go, but Pierce believes the current changes and additions to the area are bettering the neighborhood.

“I see younger creative people taking to this area, which is heartwarming for me personally because I think there is such a beauty and a rarity in this part of town that takes a certain type of person to really appreciate,” Pierce said.

Pierce believes when the Tenth Street Market, a year-round indoor farmer’s market, officially opens it’ll shift many things in the neighborhood. For those who live in the downtown Omaha area there aren’t many options for grocery stores nearby. If you build it they will come.

“I see Little Italy becoming a new hot spot. Not like Benson because all the attractions or restaurants here aren’t on one street,” said Pierce. “Maybe like a new Blackstone district. Within the next five years I see this being an even better neighborhood for young families, with good grocers nearby, activities in the arts, and a thriving food industry. It’s still close to the zoo and as far as schools, they’re building an elementary school near Grace University soon.”

January 23, 2017 Lecture Recap: Advice From the Newsroom

On January 23, 2017, Monday night’s Media Storytelling class had a noteworthy first guest speaker take the floor – Josie Loza, manager of student publications for The Gateway. Loza is a University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) alumni, former Omaha World-Herald (OWH) staff writer and former Momaha.com editor. She shared how her career path has come full circle, and how persistency and networking has been key throughout.

The beginning of her journalism career happened shortly after graduating high school at OWH. They gave her a position as a messenger. She was a mail deliverer who handed out newspapers to every single reporter’s desk.

Although Loza didn’t begin her career writing, she enjoyed her next position at OWH archiving photos, where her fascination of archives and appreciation for history was sparked. Working in the OWH library she said she enjoyed studying the wealth of information.

When the opportunity arose to write her first piece, it was an obituary. Although it wasn’t breaking news, this opened her eyes to writing and the storytelling behind it.

“As reporters we have to stop and just listen to people. If you listen, all the showing details are right there,” said Loza.

Loza gave some great advice as far as getting started in the career of journalism, especially focusing on internships.

“Don’t wait until your senior year to do internships. Do it as a freshman,” said Loza. “My freshman year I knocked on the Gateway door.”

Persistency and (overcoming) failure were two key things Loza repeated throughout her lecture:

  • “Persistency will get you everything in life.”
  • “Your failures are your biggest learning lessons.”
  • “You will persevere and it will make you stronger.”
  • “There’s no such thing as being an annoying journalist.”

She learned the value of persistency during her time at The Gateway. When things didn’t go as planned she learned how to be clever, crafty and persistent to get what she needed. Networking was also a big part of the discussion toward the end of her lecture.

“Make the time to network. Call the Omaha World-Herald. Wherever. Tell them you’d like to shadow and breathe it all in,” Loza said.

Aside from networking, self-promotion was the last piece of advice Loza gave.

“There is no shameless promotion. Keep branding yourself. You are your own brand. You have to sell yourself to your employers,” Loza said.

Reward Your Ears with Waning Gibbous

Whether you’re trying to relax or stay focused during midterms, music is a great resource to turn to. According to Business Insider some of the best music to listen to stay productive is lyric-less. Luckily core band members Brett Kelly, Sam Burt, Jon Ochsner, Maya Khasin and Emily Wynn have a solution to your ambient music needs in the form of Waning Gibbous. The local Omaha-Lincoln band just dropped their self-titled album about a week ago.

Since November of 2014 the core group plus musical guests have made a conscious effort to meet and record during every full moon the past 15 months.

The group is fully open to new ideas, additional musicians, new instruments and all types of natural sound.  They’ve had 16 musical guests over the course of their 13-song album. With core bandmates traveling between Omaha and Lincoln to record sessions listeners get to hear the sounds of two cities, from season-to-season, a little over a year’s time. No sound is off limits.

So, if midterm studying has got you feeling tired or perplexed, take some time to energize and unwind to the sounds of Waning Gibbous‘ new lunar music. Click the photo below for the tunes:

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Moore Brothers, More Music: Musicology

Jordan Moore and David Moore, brothers, both co-own the music store Musicology located in downtown Omaha. Musicology officially opened up about a year and a half ago. Jordan opened up the place and David joined in to help a few months following.

Jordan drove by the historic building, which once was an office building for a major construction company years ago, and knew it was the one. He thought it was cool so he turned it into a music store. They started out with only their personal instruments and now the walls and shelves keep full with instruments and accessories.

“It’s been like a year of us double timing everything—working twice as much for half as less,” said Jordan.

Musicology offers lessons, has a full repair shop (all instruments), they provide a practice space that can be rented out and sell a variety of instruments. They also buy instruments too.

“We buy, sell and trade,” said Jordan.

They’ve met a lot of people since opening, and they’ve only really advertised by word of mouth aside from a few signs throughout town. Word spread quicker than they thought.

“It’s pretty humbling,” said Jordan. “It’s proof we’re doing things right.”

Buy your first guitar, necessary lessons and come in for repairs and accessories when you need them at Musicology. They do it all here.

You can find one of these two friendly faces behind the counter when you stop in. Brothers Jordan Moore (left) and David Moore (right) stay busy running the counter, teaching lessons and making repairs.

Owning a music store someday wasn’t a new idea for Jordan. Their father also ran a music store, instilling a love of music and knowledge of instruments at a very young age for the two of them.

“Since we were young our parents got us instruments to fix. We both started [playing music] when we were five or six years old,” said Jordan.

David Moore repairs a guitar. The Moore brothers are always working on different projects. Each week is different for them.

The waiting room is filled with vintage furniture to match the eclectic building and architecture. Timeless front covers of magazines from decades ago—like the moon landing—rest on the coffee table in the corner.

The music store has two lesson rooms. The Moore brothers have a consistent schedule of students coming in to improve their skills. While one brother teaches, the other works the front counter, switching off each night.

The music store has two lesson rooms. The Moore brothers have a consistent schedule of students coming in to improve their skills. While one brother teaches, the other works the front counter, switching off each night.

Lesson rooms are filled with instruments and endless learning opportunities for students.

Lesson rooms are filled with instruments and endless learning opportunities for students.

Need to practice with the band but lack the space to get loud and creative? Musicology also offers a large practice space with affordable rates.

Need to practice with the band but lack the space to get loud and creative? Musicology also offers a large practice space with affordable rates.

The Moore brothers are always trying to enhance the store and experience at Musicology. If you’re looking for a duo that works hard and treats people right, stop in and they’ll help with whatever need you have.

The Moore brothers are always trying to enhance the store and experience at Musicology. If you’re looking for a duo that works hard and treats people right, stop in and they’ll help with whatever musical need you have.

In the Studio With Jeremy Deaton

From teen years spent in a band, to handling the heat of being one of few interns (in about ten years) for a music studio, to making his own moves in co-owning a studio—what inspired Jeremy Deaton, Chief Operating Officer of Make Believe Studios (MBS) to make music a career?

“I knew I wanted to be involved in music but I knew realistically I wasn’t a good enough musician to do that as a career choice,” said Deaton. “So, somehow I kind of fell into it.”

Currently a co-owner and tracking engineer for MBS, Deaton started recording other bands in his youth and it gaged his interest. Yearning to make music more than a hobby, he headed to Full Sail University where he met Rick Carson, current CEO of Make Believe Studios.

Growing up in Spokane, Wash. Deaton made his journey to the other side of the country in Florida for school, then back to his home state afterwards working in Seattle for Studio X. There, he was an intern and assistant. He also worked with a live sound company, Carlson Audio Systems. It was during this time on his first day as a recording studio intern where his “Aha moment” hit him—this is what he was meant to do.

When Deaton was doing freelance work, the opportunity came about to start up a studio with alumni Carson in Omaha, Neb. He took the leap in 2009 and has been building up the company since. The new state-of-the-art studio in downtown Omaha is just wrapping up construction and set to open soon.

He’s all about sound and the gadgets required to gather it. A lot of the gear the studio has currently he’s had his eyes set on since starting in the industry ten years ago, and now his closet is full.

“One thing I really like is the Royer 121, a ribbon mic. That’s a new mic we have. We also have a lot of vintage gear,” said Deaton.

Earlier in his tenure, Deaton got some interesting experiences on the job. The Dalai Lama—yes, involvement with sound for the Dalai Lama—and Eddie Vedder were two projects that came to mind.

What advice does Deaton give anyone interested in entering the industry?

“Every day [in the industry] is a new challenge,” said Deaton. “You’re going to have to work really hard.”

Hard at work in one of Make Believe’s studios, Jeremy Deaton (left) examines his toolkit as Dojorok (right) practices what he’s going to record on the turntable for an original audio track for a UNO Mavericks Hockey project.

Deaton repairs a headphone jack; one of his many roles aside from COO and tracking engineer.

Lights gleam red and green on the mixing console. This is one of many pieces of gear necessary for Deaton to work from.

The studio helps everyone from local musicians, to national artists, commercial work and occasionally projects for TV and the movies.

Sounds from microphones and instruments enter the microphone preamp device before making their way into the mixer for Deaton to work from.

Deaton is all too familiar with the dedication entrepreneurship entails. It requires tiring, long nights and very busy days at the studio.

“Yes, that’s my BAE,” jokes Deaton. The BAE 1073 is one of Deaton’s favorite pieces of gear.

Essential components of a music studio are a pretty penny. “Two of those [units within the console] are more expensive than any car I’ve ever owned,” said Deaton.

Deaton’s knowledge in sound resonates clearly. Deaton explains the way the boards in the live room are precisely positioned, and how the amount of space in between determines which frequencies get absorbed into the wall and what sounds reflect back outward.

Having the perfect acoustics in a live room is important. Everything in the room holds a purpose. The architecturally eye-catching ceiling acts like a sponge absorbing just the right amount of sound.

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Ceiling lights mirror off the isolation booth glass. The ISO-booth sits patiently, eagerly waiting for the next recording artist to stop in and get audibly creative!