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Dustin Koca

Projects from YouTube UNO Journalism Site & Web Stories

Caniglia Field still being used
By Dustin Koca

Caniglia Field played host to college football games for more than sixty years but in 2011 it won’t.

Omaha Creighton Prep has continued to play their home football games at Caniglia, but the only college football being played at Caniglia is of the intramural type.

In fact the field is getting more use than ever from students that are a part of sports clubs and intramural teams.

“It’s great to have the field,” said Assistant Director of Campus Recreation Mike Kult.  “It’s a shame that there is no more football here but the lack of a team has allowed us to use the field more than ever.”

Speculation of whether Caniglia Field will continue to exist after 2011 is still being discussed by university officials.

Options for more student housing, classrooms, and parking have all been mentioned and a feasibility study for turning Caniglia into a soccer field was recently done.

“I think an on-campus soccer field would be great,” said UNO Senior James Fonda.  “No one really knows that the soccer teams play on south campus and I think an on-campus field would be a great addition for the university.”

Turning Caniglia into a soccer field would allow the university to keep its giant Daktroniks scoreboard in place and it would provide stability to the men’s and women’s teams as far as home games are concerned. 

University officials won’t make a decision until later in the year and many options are still possible according to Kult. 

“At this point it could be made into just about anything.”

By Dustin Koca

1965…President Lyndon B. Johnson launched the war on Poverty.  2011 is eerily similar to the way things were going during Johnson’s time in office.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that in 2010 one out of every six U.S. citizens lived in poverty.  That equates to 46.2 million people living the hard life to say the least.  The more than 46 million people are the largest number ever recorded by the Bureau in more than fifty years of collecting data. 

The poverty rates have risen in every state including Nebraska who has more than 11 percent of its population living in poverty. 

More and more people are beginning to live the hard-knock life like Omaha resident Tori French.

“I’m being evicted from my apartment.  I have no place to live, I have no family here, and I have nobody to go to.”

French is one of the nearly 10 percent of U.S. citizens who are currently jobless as is Omaha resident Lori Harris. 

“There is one job and thirty of us applying for it,” says Harris. “It’s tough, I’ve been called back for interviews maybe three times in six months.”

Lack of jobs leads to another major issue….lack of health insurance.

The Census Bureau reported that more than 16 percent of people in the U.S. are without health care coverage and much of this is due to a lack of job-related health coverage. 
Harris says not all jobs even offer health insurance.

“My nineteen year-old daughter just started working part-time; she has to work full-time to even qualify for the health insurance.  Heaven forbid she gets hurt because we have no way to pay for it.”

If there is one positive at all, 18 to 24 year olds without health insurance actually dropped from 29 to 27 percent due to President Obama’s Affordable Care Act which allows young adults up to 26 years-old to be covered by their parents health insurance. 

If the economy can shape up in the next few years there will be more people with jobs and more people with health insurance. 

Talks of Growth for UNO’s Future
By Dustin Koca

John Christensen is now in his fifth year as Chancellor at the University of Nebraska-Omaha and every year he hopes to have more and more students enrolled at the university. 

UNO hopes its move to Division 1 will help bring more new faces to the school.  Creighton University and Nebraska-Lincoln are stiff challenges for UNO when it comes to enrollment numbers but Christensen has set high expectations for the university.

“We want to be one of the nation’s leading metropolitan universities,” said Christensen.
Many renovations are under way to buildings across the campus and some additions are even completed. 

It makes sense.

If you want more students you have to have top-notch facilities.  UNO has added 832,000 square feet of new space and they have renovated more than 700,000 square feet of already existing buildings on campus. 

Christensen hopes to improve upon the university’s last enrollment plan which he described as “under-funded and un-focused.”

They plan to do this by retaining students who start their academic careers at the school, going to surrounding states for students, and finding individuals who have college credits from other schools but don’t have their college degrees yet.

“Competition for students is fierce! Enrollment management must be a priority,” said Christensen.

The university’s goal is to reach 20,000 students by the year 2020. 


Graffiti has become an evident problem in Omaha.  The city known for its cleanliness is now infested with spray paint drawings and writings. 

Omaha city councilman Garry Gernandt recently made it public that there are tens of thousands of graffiti markings throughout the city.  South Omaha alone has recently had more than two-thousand markings covered up.

The city is hoping for more than four-thousand volunteers to help with clean-up and they’ve received much help, but they’re getting help in a rather unique way from the Kent Bellow’s Art Studio.

The art studio made up of local artists and aspiring high school artists has been given the authority to create murals under every overpass on the Keystone Trail. 
“The mayor gave us this great opportunity to express ourselves with urban art, said Executive Director of Kent Bellows Art Studio Anne Meysenburg.” 

Artists and students from the art studio have finished four murals on the Keystone trail and they intend to paint four to six every year from here on out until all of the underpasses are finished. 

“It’s great!  It allows many of our young adults, some of which have been in trouble for graffiti in past, to express themselves artistically and legally with this decision by the mayor, said Education Manager Weston Thomson.”

With the help of volunteers and the work done by those from the Kent Bellows Art Studio Omaha has cleaned up much its graffiti problem.

The problem with graffiti is that you may be able to contain it, but it will never be stopped.

Web Story

By Dustin Koca
Omaha News
UNO recently played host to a professional artist’s artwork.

Ning Zhao, a member of the Society of Canadian Artists and professional artist for more than 30 years displayed his paintings at the Criss Library from October 3rd to November 3rd.

“We are honored to have the work of Ning Zhao at the Criss Library,” said Dean of the Criss Library Steve Shorb.

Zhao, who is of Chinese decent, moved to Canada in 1999 in search of beautiful landscapes and ideas for his paintings.

The move was a good one for Zhao.

He has been honored with awards in each of the last 8 years for his paintings at different award ceremonies.

“Not only does he enjoy getting his work out there, we benefit by having people come in to look at it,” said Shorb.

And many students are taking notice.

“It’s great!  Zhao’s work has really inspired me to continue my goal as a professional artist and I’ve learned a lot just from viewing his work,” said UNO student James Henry.

The Ning Zhao gallery has concluded but UNO will continue to display different unique exhibits throughout the remainder of the school year.

For more information visit