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

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.

Nebraska Democratic Party holds second presidential nominating caucus

Apr 16, 2012
photo by Rob McLean/KIOS-FM

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, affected turnout.  Despite the challenges, he says North Omaha had the largest turnout with over 100 registered voters caucusing there.

Eight present and past outstanding Omaha area business leaders will be inducted into the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce’s Hall of Fame on April 24th.   

Chamber President and CEO David Brown says the honor is meant to recognize the work these business leaders have done in the community. 

He says it is also a nod to the volunteer and philanthropic work these individuals did while they were still running their businesses or, in some cases, continue to do today.

When UNO dropped its wrestling and football programs last year, students who were recruited were left without an opportunity to play, or take advantage of other scholarship opportunities. 

This morning, attorney Mike Degan of Husch Blackwell filed a lawsuit on behalf of 13 former UNO football players and recruits.  The lawsuit is being filed under Nebraska’s public records act. 

Degan says he filed the lawsuit after several unsuccessful attempts by the law firm to get UNO to share its documentation about the decision to terminate football and wrestling.

Increased productivity and decreased absenteeism are just two of the benefits for employers that create a culture of health and wellness.

Rebecca Vinton Dorn is Executive Director for Wellness Council of the Midlands.  WELCOM sponsors an annual awards lunch honoring metro area companies for their efforts in promoting worksite wellness.  This year’s lunch will honor eight companies. 

Courtesy of icactaskforce.org

April is National Child Abuse prevention month, and the Nebraska Internet Crimes Against Children task force is working to keep them safe. 

The ICAC task force is comprised of 50 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, as well as prosecutors. The purpose of the task force is to investigate cases of child exploitation facilitated by the Internet or technology.  

Just put one foot in front of the other…it’s that easy to participate in the 6th Annual National Walk at Lunch Day.

Kathy Nellor is a wellness business consultant for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska.  She says Blue Cross Blue Shield hopes 25,000 Nebraskans will participate for 30 minutes on April 25th. 

Nellor says Blue Cross Blue Shield wants people to make walking a regular habit.   She says walking is an easy and inexpensive way to exercise that still yields great results.

Courtesy of ezinemark.com

Girls Inc. of Omaha will hold its 12th Annual Lunch for the Girls on Tuesday, April 24th at the CenturyLink Center.

First Lady Michelle Obama will give the keynote address at this year’s event.  Roberta Wilhelm is the Executive Director for Girls, Inc.  

She says the girls will present a special video in support of Mrs. Obama’s Let’s Move! Initiative, which is dedicated to fighting childhood obesity.

The city’s largest ecological celebration takes place Saturday, April 21st in Elmwood Park from 11 to 6.  Dennis Bryars is the Chairperson for the event.  

He says they hope to show people ways they can live a greener, more sustainable lifestyle.  Bryars says there will be between 75 to 100 exhibitors taking part in Earth Day Omaha.

The Nebraska Department of Roads has posted a draft of Vision 2032, the state’s new long-range transportation plan.

The public is encouraged to review the plan and make comments through May 11th.  Spokesperson Mary Jo Oie says the department has been working on the plan for months. 

Experimental percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani performs at the Bemis Center Saturday, April 7th.

Joel Damon, Underground Curator, says Nakatani plays a traditional gong with a bow.  He says it creates an atmospheric sound that can be felt and experienced on multiple levels. 

Damon says Nakatani also plays singing bowls, and uses cymbals in new ways.  He says the Bemis is always interested in performers and artists who may not fit comfortably within traditional concert venues.

Last year, more than 2.4 million people visited the 12 Omaha Public Library branches.

Executive Director Gary Wasdin says the libraries continued to see every measurable aspect of use going up in 2011. 

Though people still use the libraries for books and reading, Wasdin says residents are often surprised to find out just how much more there is to find and do in the library.

April 2nd through the 6th is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Iowa. Lucinda Robertson is Public Information Officer for the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. 

She’s encouraging all Iowans to be prepared for year-round emergencies by attention to local news and investing in a weather radio. Robertson says individuals should also make an emergency plan because a family may not be together when an emergency happens.  Finally, she says it’s important to create an emergency supply kit.

The candidates for Nebraska’s Second Congressional District participated in their second debate Friday. With more here’s Omaha Public Radio’s Cheril Lee…

A recent survey released by the Salvation Army found 56% of Salvation Army Youth Programs are operating at or beyond their capacity.

Susan Eustice, Director of Public Relations for Salvation Army Omaha, says the survey covered more than 80 cities, including Omaha.  Results show that more than 80 percent of youth programs saw an increase in demand from children and families in the past year, due to unemployment issues and funding cuts.  Eustice says Omaha North Corps has been especially busy.

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

Sheri Bowen is the Agency Administrator for the Mills County Public Health Department.  She says Iowa is fifth in the nation when it comes to percentage of late stage colon cancer diagnoses.  

Bowen says when colon cancer is caught in an early stage, it’s 90% treatable.  Currently 64% of Iowans over the age of 50 have been screened. Bowen says the Iowa Get Screened Colorectal Cancer Program wants to increase that to 80% by 2014.

US News and World Report has ranked five UNO graduate programs in the top 20 nationally.

John Bartle is the Acting Dean for the College of Public Affairs and Community Service at UNO.  He says the rankings show how strong UNO is at the graduate level.  

Bartle says the rankings are done by deans and directors of graduate programs.  Five programs within public administration were recognized, including criminology and criminal justice, social work and business.

UNMC rose in the 2013 US News and World Report rankings of the nation’s top medical schools.

Chancellor Harold Maurer says out of the 149 medical schools surveyed in the latest rankings, UNMC ranked sixth in primary care, up from seventh last year.  He says 83% of the students who attend medical school at UNMC are from Nebraska and many opt to work in the state when they finish school. 

Chancellor Maurer says he’s especially proud of the rural medicine program which tied for 12th this year, up from 15th last year.

UNO’s 7 Days of Service began on Saturday and continues through Friday.

Bri Exstrom, PR Student at UNO, says this is the 10th anniversary of 7 days of service. 

Held during spring break, the 7 Days of Service offers UNO students and community members the opportunity to work on 12 projects with 14 nonprofit organizations. 

Exstrom says volunteers will be working with the Stephen Center, the Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity, among others.

Weysan Dun, Special Agent in Charge at the FBI’s Omaha office, will be the guest speaker for Creighton’s upcoming Asian World Lecture. 

Maorong Jiang is the Director of the Asian World Center at Creighton.  He says Dun is the longest serving special agent in the Omaha division.  Dun’s assignment as a field agent includes investigating national security matters, high technology theft investigations, and criminal enterprises. 

The state of Nebraska has mandatory education laws in place until a student reaches the age of 18. 

An exception to the current law allows students to withdraw from school with a notarized statement from their parents.  LB 996, a bill sponsored by Senator John Wightman, seeks to eliminate that exception. 

He says even with a notarized statement, a student would not be able to be withdrawn from school by a parent or legal guardian.  There now would have to be an exit interview between the parent, the child and the principal.

Five researchers from Nebraska and Oklahoma will study the role of nutrition in cancer prevention.  The researchers each received a $50,000 seed grant to conduct their research over a one year period. 

Grants were awarded through a collaborative project between the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition in Omaha and the Peggy and Charles Stephenson Cancer Center in Oklahoma City.  

Terry Kroeger, Publisher and CEO of Omaha World Herald, was the guest speaker at February’s Omaha Press Club Noon Forum.      

Kroeger talked about the recent sale of the newspaper to Warren Buffett’s company Berkshire Hathaway.  He also discussed how the sale will affect the paper in the future as well how it came about.   Kroeger says the World Herald editorial writers won’t be influenced by the paper being owned by Buffett.

UNO has a long history of working with military and veteran students as well as their families.  In the fall of 2010 UNO’s Mav USO office conducted a survey of military and veteran students. 

The results of the study showed that military and veteran students knew UNO had a lot of great programs and services to support them. What they didn’t know was how to access those programs. 

Hayley Patton, Director of Military and Veterans Programs at UNO, says that will change in a few weeks as UNO opens a new military and veterans university services office to assist these students.

Gas Prices on the Rise

Mar 7, 2012

Motorists may have noticed a recent increase in gas prices in the metro area. 

John Deskins, Associate Professor of Economics at Creighton University, says there’s no need to worry.  Though he does anticipate gas prices will rise in April, May and June as they usually do when summer approaches, he expects the prices will also decrease by fall.  

According to Deskins, it is difficult to pinpoint one specific reason for the recent run up in gas prices.

Happily Ever After: Wedding Dresses and Traditions is the title of the Douglas County Historical Society 2nd annual luncheon and runway show.

Cassandra Novotne, Coordinator for the Douglas County Historical Society, says the show highlights wedding gowns, bridesmaids’ dresses and other matrimonial clothing from the 1890’s to the 1970’s. 

The rock and roll musical is set in 1987 around a club on the Sunset Strip.  Actor Matt Ban plays Dennis Dupree in the production. 

He says Dennis is the 70’s leftover in the show and owns the rock club.  Ban says this is the first rock show he’s ever done and he’s having a good time singing some of the 80’s best hair metal music.  

He says the show gets big reactions wherever it goes and he thinks it’s because the music is so much fun and so well-known.

Researchers at UNMC’s College of Public Health released an initial community report last June on issues surrounding Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender individuals. 

Dr. Christopher Fisher is an Assistant Professor in the College of Public Health. He says the goal of the study was to examine the physical, mental, social and sexual health of the LGBT community.  

Pages