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Ashley Lefevre

Projects from YouTube UNO Journalism Site & Web Stories

Ashley LeFevre

OMAHA- The childhood obesity epidemic in this country is on the rise and two local organizations set out to change that by educating South Omaha families on the importance of living a healthy lifestyle.

Hyvee dietician Whitney Ceas visited the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in South Omaha on February 23rd and held a class to teach parents about preparing healthy meals for their children. Ceas says this event is special because a lot of these events typically require a doctor’s referral.

“A lot of these classes require the children to already be obese, but our classes are open to anyone. We focus more on prevention and educating parents is a great way to do that,” she said.

Maverick PR, the UNO student public relations organization, was also on hand promoting  their  upcoming event Ready Set Start to a Healthy Heart, which will be held at the Century Link Center on Saturday, February 25th at 6 p.m. Maverick PR Media Relations Director Tiffany Riggs says the event will be both fun and educational for the entire family.

“We are going to have fun family friendly activities that will be interactive. Families that participate can also win fun prizes,” she said.

Families that attend this event can make a fun night of it as the UNO hockey team will be taking on the University of Minnesota immediately following this event.

To find out more go to and search Ready Set Start to a Healthy Heart.

Murder Rate

OMAHA- With the New Year upon us we are often looking to start the year off in a positive way, but in the area of crime Omaha is not fairing so well. Areas outside of the crime ridden neighborhoods in North Omaha are seeing an increase in homicides.

Early Saturday, February 18th, police were called downtown to 16th & Harney and heard gunshots. Matthew Voss, 34, suffered fatal injuries, and Antonio Washington, 38, was transferred to the Nebraska Medical Center.

Officer Michael Pecha of the Omaha Police Department says that the crime statistics for the first quarter of this year are not available yet, but that, outside of homicides, violent crimes actually seem to be on a downward trend.

“There has been an increase in homicides, but we find it more accurate to gage the levels of violent crime in the city on aggravated assaults. The levels of aggravated assaults seem to be trending the same, and possibly going down,” he said.

Nobody really knows why there seems to be a sudden increase in homicides but one local citizen believes the economy may be partially to blame.

“I think a lot of it is happening because people are broke and depressed about their situations….they jump to doing things just because they feel that they have to,” says Omaha resident Robert Hunter.

According to Officer Pecha, the police department is doing everything they can to make Omaha a safe place to live, and strongly urges anyone who feels they are in danger to not hesitate to call the police.

Ashley LeFevre
Organ Donation and Leap for a Cure

OMAHA- UNO Maverick fans are known for their passionate love for hockey, but two local organizations are hoping they also have a heart when it comes to helping others.

Nebraska Organ Recovery is a local organization that provides support for Nebraska families that either received or donated an organ, and also assists medical teams in whatever way they can.  They have a goal of collecting 700,000 new donors by July and that means 31,000 new donors in Nebraska alone. 

They set up a booth at the hockey game on Friday, February 24th hoping to recruit some new donors. Public Relations Coordinator, Andrea Eischen is hoping to make a dent in their 700,000 goal at the game.

“We are hoping to get at least 200 new donors tonight,” she said.

Leap for a Cure was also on hand hoping to do some fundraising for brain cancer research and awareness. They were selling small stuffed frogs with the brain cancer ribbons on them for a five dollar donation. The frogs will be thrown on the ice during next week’s game with Denver.

Heather Roberts says Leap for a Cure has a goal of raising $40,000 this year and they say that Maverick fans have been one of their biggest supporters.

“We have always been very lucky because UNO hockey fans have been great and instrumental in us meeting our goal every year,” Roberts said.

If you would like to find out how to become an organ donor visit, and visit to find out how you can support brain cancer research.

Gays and Church

OMAHA- Two groups of local churches speak out about the bible and its views on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Heritage Coalition recently printed a full page ad in the Omaha World Herald apologizing to those in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community, and vowed to no longer discriminate against them in their churches.

The coalition does include a quote that still denounces homosexuality as a sin and this has another group of local churches responding with their own proclamation.

This proclamation, known as the Heartland Proclamation, presents the opinion that “homosexuality is not a sickness, not a choice, and not a sin.”

Pastor Tom Emmett, of Metropolitan Community Church, signed this proclamation along with 200 other area clergy. He appreciates the Heritage Coalitions support, but doesn’t necessarily agree with their view that homosexuality is a sin.

“They are dead wrong. Homosexuality is not a sin and the Bible does not condemn same-gender relationships as we know them today,” he says.

Pastor Emmett does feel like this is a step in the right direction toward gaining civil rights for the LGBT community, and is delighted that the issue is being discussed at all.

If you would like to find out more about the Heritage Coalition Proclamation you can visit

Tri-Faith Initiative

OMAHA- The annual Rabbi Sidney H. Brooks lecture was held on Tuesday night at the Thompson Alumni Center on the campus of the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
The UNO department of religion puts on this event to honor the late rabbi and this year titled the lecture “The Tri-Faith Initiative: Beyond Dialogue to Cooperation.” The lecture featured a panel of representatives from the three Abrahamic faiths:  Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
The Tri-Faith Initiative is a partnership between the three faiths, and they share a common goal of interfaith cooperation and unification.

The Initiative is in the planning process of building a campus on West Pacific that will house a temple, a mosque and a church, and will also have a main building where all three faiths can interact.

Event Coordinator Dr. Paul Williams says the primary goal of the lecture is to educate and honor the memory of Rabbi Brooks.

“The goal is to educate the public and the university about developments in religion in Omaha and around the world,” he says.

The lecture gave representatives from the three faiths a chance to speak about their views on the initiative and ended with a question and answer session with the audience.
To find out more about the Tri-Faith Initiative visit


OMAHA- In a world over run by technology and video games it is becoming difficult to get kids interested in their education.

With this in mind, the UNO department of math held a workshop on Friday that focused on using the internet, social media and games to teach math to students of all ages.

The workshop was led by Muskegon Community College math professor Maria Andersen. She has spent time recently building video games to teach algebra to students and provided great advice to those in attendance.

Andersen discovered that students have an unparalleled ability to master video games and that this could be used to teach math. She believes that video games and math are very similar, thus using games to teach math makes perfect sense.

“They have the whole lay out of some of these games memorized and they know where all the special powers are in different levels. Learning exponent rules can’t be that difficult,” she says.
To find out more about using games to teach math you can visit Maria Andersons blog at