KIOS-FM

Cheril Lee

News Director

My broadcasting career began in the most unlikely of places…Okinawa, Japan.  I was interviewed one afternoon while I was in college and, on a lark, I asked if the TV station needed any volunteers.  They said they could use a weather person who would stick around for at least six months.  Two auditions and one meeting later, I was in front of the cameras Monday through Friday night, giving the weather forecast for the island. 

Did I mention that FEN was the ONLY American TV station on the island?  Well, let’s just say that I got to know what being a celebrity was like, really quickly.  Since I was the only civilian on an all-military newscast, I stood out just a little bit.  It was one of the best times of my life and I worked with eight different news anchors.  This taught me that every broadcaster has a different way of approaching the craft. 

After Japan, I made my way back across the ocean, by way of plane, to the great state of Mississippi.  While there, I anchored daily newscasts at a local station, Northland Cable News.  The station was located in Starkville, the home of Mississippi State University.  While there, I got to attend football games in the press box, which was quite cool until the day they tapped me on the shoulder and informed me that cheering was not allowed in the press box.  Oops.  Again, I learned a little something about retaining one’s professionalism in every situation. 

While in Mississippi, I also made appearances on other TV stations’ breakfast and lunch time shows, usually talking to the hosts about various plays I was appearing in onstage.

My next broadcasting gig was right here in Omaha at KVNO, Classical 90.7 where I became the News Director in 2000.  I remember that my first day was right in the middle of a fund drive.  The Program Director asked me if I wanted to jump in and pitch and I thought, “What the heck is pitching?”  I deferred, telling him I’d participate in the next one.  And participate I did.  While I was there, I did more than 20 fund drives.  Additionally, I anchored several daily newscasts, wrote, produced and delivered the Arts at 8:30 and at the end, hosted a two-hour on-air shift in addition to my other duties.  I learned a lot about classical composers, including the correct pronunciation of Dvorak.

After a decade at KVNO, I decided to pursue my Master’s Degree at UNO, so I left the station to take classes.  But it wasn’t long before the siren song of public radio lured me back.  I started working for KIOS in January of 2010 as a news anchor, reporter and on-air host.  The Saturday morning programs are among my favorites and I love talking with listeners who are as passionate about public radio as I am.

When I’m not talking on the airwaves, I love to act in community theatre productions, rock out to concerts and write.  Traveling has always been a passion of mine.  I’ve been to several countries, including Italy, Japan, Albania, Slovenia, England and my personal favorite, Ireland.  Up next, are the Dominican Republic, France and Scotland. 

Ever the optimist, you will usually hear a smile in my voice when I’m hosting.  It is my goal to be good company as you move through your day.  

Ways to Connect

The May Press Club featured Lincoln Senator Kathy Campbell, Chairwoman of the Health and Human Services Committee and Carolyn Rooker, Executive Director of Voices for Children in Nebraska.

The two talked about the changes the legislature has made dealing with the safety and well-being of abused and neglected children in Nebraska.  Senator Campbell guided the legislation through the Unicameral. Rooker is an advocate on child welfare issues.  She says nationally there are three main things the child welfare system strives to do.

Six recent cases of flesh eating bacteria are not connected, according to the Director of The Nebraska Medical Center’s Hyperbaric Oxygen Unit.

Dr. Jeff Cooper says all six individuals were infected with different organisms.  He says though some individuals, such as those with diabetes, those who smoke, and the obese are more susceptible to flesh eating bacteria, contracting a virus is largely a matter of bad luck.  

The director of UNMC’s Adult Cystic Fibrosis program says he’s excited about a new treatment called Kalydeco.

Dr. Peter J. Murphy says Kalydeco is a drug that specifically targets a certain class of genetic mutation that causes cystic fibrosis in some patients.  Cystic fibrosis is a disease that primarily affects the lungs, with thick secretions that may sometimes become infected and make it difficult for patients to breathe.  

Omaha’s KANEKO has a new board chairman and new plans for programming.

In March, then-Executive Director Hal France stepped down. Jim Linder, Incoming Chairman of the Board, says France stepped down as part of a planning process.  Linder says the board believed a different structure was needed for KANEKO as it looked at integrating administrative leadership, fundraising and programming.

KANEKO’s mission, to promote creativity and explore innovation will not change.  What will change, according to Linder, is that programming in the new season will follow four major themes.

Nebraska Appleseed and the National Health Law Program filed a class action lawsuit last Friday in Lancaster County District Court over services provided to disabled children. 

James Goddard, a staff attorney for Nebraska Appleseed, says the suit was filed on behalf of two children who were denied necessary behavioral health treatment.  

A Creighton University oncologist is critical of an announcement by the United States Preventive Services Task Force about PSA-based screenings.

The Task Force announced this afternoon its recommendation against prostate-specific antigen or PSA-based screenings for all men regardless of age. Dr. Henry Lynch is the Director of the Hereditary Cancer Center at Creighton. 

Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson was the guest speaker at Creighton University’s Asian World Center Presidential Lecture.

Rajmohan Gandhi's lecture, “Larger than Politics, the World of Lincoln, King and Gandhi,” took place last month in the Harper Center. 

Gandhi says when he picked the title of his talk; he didn’t intend to talk about the three leaders’ capacities in areas other than politics.  

But he says the goals of these three men went beyond capturing office or power.

Douglas County is replacing two vehicles with Compressed Natural Gas or CNG ones.

In April, the Douglas County Board of Commissioners voted to replace two high mileage vehicles with CNG vehicles. Chairman Marc Kraft says CNG vehicles are more efficient and run cleaner than gas or diesel vehicles.  

He says the vehicles pay for themselves within 2 ½ to 3 years after purchase.  Kraft says the purchase is part of Douglas County’s efforts to find environmentally friendly solutions.

Former Omaha mayor Mike Fahey is putting his support toward the University of Nebraska Foundation and UNO’s Department of Political Science.

Randall Adkins, Chair of the Political Science Department, says Fahey’s gift will allow the department to do three things.  He says the department will develop a course in Omaha city government and politics.  

Courtesy of UNO Democrats

John Ewing has won the democratic nomination for Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District, defeating Gwen Howard.

Ewing is the Douglas County Treasurer and a former Omaha police officer who entered the race last summer. 

I caught up with Ewing during his celebration and he says he’s excited to win the nomination and gives a lot of credit to his hard working staff. But he says championship teams don’t celebrate during half time.

Courtesy of UNO

Paul Landow, a professor in the Political Science department at UNO, says the economy is the main issue on voters’ minds.  Landow says people are concerned about their jobs, their bank accounts and what direction things are heading in terms of their personal financial life.  

He says anything voters can do to better their own personal financial life at the ballot box is what they’ll do...and if that means voting for new leadership in the House and Senate, they will.  Landow says turnout should be above average for the primary.

Polls are open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. today. 

Today is Nebraska’s Primary Election and Dave Phipps, Douglas County Election Commissioner, says they predict a turnout of 21%.  He says that would be about 66,500 people voting, with early ballots and votes cast today. 

Phipps says he doesn’t expect voters to have many issues with the new polling places.  He says the election commission sent cards in March advising people of their polling places.  Phipps says the election commission has been busy with a higher than usual rate of early votes.

The Malcolm X Birthday Celebration features three days of events this week.

Walter Brooks is the Administrative Director for the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation.  He says the festivities kick off Thursday night with a program called “Verbal Gumbo.” 

The evening features spoken word artists and live music at the House of Loom.  Brooks says that’s followed by a presentation from a dynamic African-American motivational speaker on Friday called “Mental Liberation.”  

The guest speaker Friday is Nationally-acclaimed poet and author Basheer Jones.

State Senator Gwen Howard and Douglas County Treasurer John Ewing are vying for the democratic nomination in the Second Congressional District race. 

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha is offering a non-partisan guide for metro area voters who want more information before they cast a ballot next Tuesday.  The voter’s guide has information on candidates running for races in Douglas County. 

Bev Traub, current president for the League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha, says the guide is meant to assist voters in gaining a more complete view of the candidates who are running for office.  She says not all candidates are equally familiar to the public.

The Douglas County Health Department’s Chief of Community Health and Nutrition Services is in Washington DC for the Weight of the Nation Conference.

Mary Balluff says the purpose of the conference is to figure out how we as a community are going to combat the obesity issue.  A recent article in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine predicts an increase in the percentage of obese and very obese Americans over the next twenty years.  

Balluff says Douglas County has done a number of things locally to try to stem the tide of obesity in the Omaha area.

The Salvation Army's annual D.J.’s Hero Awards Luncheon happens Monday, May 14th.

Steve George, Chairperson for the event, says there are three goals of the event. One is to raise money for the Salvation Army’s programs. Another is to award scholarships to high school seniors who have overcome hardships in their lives, and the third is to feature a dynamic speaker. This year’s luncheon will be held at the Century Link Center.  George says there will be two guest speakers, Bob and Lee Woodruff.

The Omaha Farmer’s Markets kick off this weekend.  The markets offer attendees a variety of items, including local produce, flowers, meat, and cheese.  Project Manager Heidi Walz says there are also local vendors with non-food items, including handcrafted jewelry and wooden toys. 

This year’s downtown Omaha Farmer’s Market will feature 110 vendors. The Farmer’s Market at Aksarben Village has expanded to 75 vendors.  Walz says the mission of the markets goes back to community, and that’s why they accept SNAP cards at all their locations.

Courtesy of Omaha Symphony

The Omaha Area Youth Orchestra will play popular pieces from Rimsky-Korsakov, Delius and Mendelssohn at its annual Side by Side program.

The Side by Side Concert takes place Sunday at 7:00 in the Holland Center.  OAYO Executive Director Aviva Segall says the program offers the Youth Symphony the chance to perform alongside Omaha Symphony musicians. 

She says Maestro Thomas Wilkins will conduct the majority of the concert.

Courtesy of Cheril Lee

There are approximately 1500 homeless veterans in Nebraska and around 200,000 nationwide.

A new partnership announced this morning would work to make Nebraska the first state to end veterans’ homelessness.  Mayor Jim Suttle and Mike Fornear of the Homeless Veterans Project, were joined by civic and business leaders to discuss the new project called “Vets Town.” 

The U.S. News & World Report 2012 Department of Finance ranked Creighton University’s college of business finance program 19th in the nation.

Anthony Hendrickson, Dean to the College of Business, says the program is up two points from last year.  He says Creighton boasts more Certified Financial Analyst charter holders on its faculty than any other institution in the world. 

Hendrickson says he thinks the visibility of the master’s in security analysis has attracted a lot of attention.

Heyday on May Day!

Apr 26, 2012

The number one priority on the City of Omaha’s Transportation Master Plan is the Market to Midtown Connector.

The connector would convert Harney Street, from midtown to the Old Market, into a street that supports multiple modes of transportation, including biking and walking.  

Courtesy of Cheril Lee

First Lady Michelle Obama gave the keynote address at the Lunch for the Girls this afternoon, telling young women to work hard and surround themselves with positive people.

Mrs. Obama thanked the parents, Girls, Inc. staff, volunteers and community for their support of the girls. The First Lady says girls being strong, smart and bold isn’t just about getting good grades, but also about being a good friend, taking care of your body by getting active and eating right, and giving back to the community.

Dr. Adi Pour, Director of the Douglas County Health Department, says they’ve known since 2004 that the rate of STD infections in Douglas County is at an epidemic level.

She says the health department wants to take every opportunity to keep young people healthy.  Dr. Pour says one of the ways to do so is to increase screening rates. 

She says often these types of infections are asymptomatic, so people may not know they are infected.

The federal deficit was on the minds of the GOP candidates for Nebraska’s Second Congressional District at a debate Friday. The Omaha Press Club and League of Women Voters sponsored the debate.

Incumbent Congressman Lee Terry has three challengers. One is financial advisor Brett Lindstrom. UNO mathematics professor Jack Heidel and former Douglas County Republican Party Chairman Glenn Freeman are also running for Congress. 

Donate Life Nebraska is inviting everyone to link hands on the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge on Saturday to celebrate national Donate Life Month.

Joey Hoffman, Spokesperson for Donate Life Nebraska, says in 18 people die in America each day due to a lack of donor organs.  She says Donate Life Nebraska is joining the national campaign to sign up 20 million organ donors in 2012.  Hoffman says becoming a donor because is one of the only opportunities you’ll have in your lifetime to save someone else’s life.

Herbert Karliner, Philip Freud, Hans Fisher and Sol Messinger will present a special lecture at the Durham Museum on Friday morning at 10:30.

The four men are survivors of the tragic 1939 voyage of the SS St. Louis.  After trying to dock in several countries, including the U.S., the ship was forced to return to Europe.  

Many passengers subsequently found themselves under Nazi rule, and many died as a result. The majority of the passengers that were granted refuge in Great Britain survived the ordeal.  Shawna Forsberg is Director of Marketing for the Durham.

Courtesy of Creighton University

In honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day Thursday, Creighton University in collaboration with the Omaha Jewish Community, will present the original docudrama, “The Trial of Franklin D. Roosevelt.” The docudrama is about the 1939 voyage of the SS St. Louis. 900 Jewish men, women and children were adrift at sea for 30 days and were denied entrance into the U.S.  

The passengers were told the United States had reached its immigrant quota, so they were sent back to Germany and other European countries, many of them occupied by Germany.  

Innovative Aging

Apr 17, 2012
Courtesy of ricochet.com

The Visiting Nurse Association is offering a series of lectures centering on the Age Explosion issue.

With the baby boomer generation growing by more than 50% in the next five years, VNA President and CEO Jamie Summerfelt says the VNA decided to create this educational series.  

He says the Innovative Aging series covers topics such as health, social connections and transportation issues related to

The executive director of the Nebraska Democratic Party says turnout for Saturday’s second presidential caucus was lower than expected, but still encouraging.

Jim Rogers attributes the lower turnout in part to the primary being non-contested. He says the red and white game and the storms that broke out across the Metro also affected turnout. 

Despite the challenges, he says North Omaha had the largest turnout with over 100 individuals caucusing there.  Rogers says a variety of issues were discussed during the caucus.

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