Club Information
Omaha Downtown

Established Leaders, Emerging Leaders, Developing Leaders

We meet In Person
Wednesdays at 12:00 PM
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral
113 N 18th St.
Omaha, NE 68102
United States of America
Latest News
Mellissa Helligso
UNMC Human Identification Lab
 
Mellissa Helligso (Hell-ig-so), is employed at UNMC as the manager of the Human DNA Identification Lab.  She has over 20 years of experience of testing over 1000 criminal cases and testifying to her findings in trial.  Well-known cases include:  Jessica O’Grady, Dr. Anthony Garcia, Sydney Loofe, and Cari Farver.  She will be discussing a new technology that has just earned accreditation in the UNMC lab, called Forensic Investigative Genetic Genealogy, which was utilized to capture the Golden State Killer.
 
Mellissa Helligso remembers when she first became interested in forensic pathology. It was in 2000. CBS had just released the television series “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” and Helligso, a DNA analyst in the molecular diagnostics section of the UNMC Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, had just had her first child. 
 
“I remember being up with the baby late at night and watching the show,” Helligso said. “It really piqued my interest how the investigators were able to identify crucial facts that ultimately solved the case at hand.” 
Today, Helligso, who is now the manager, technical lead and forensic DNA analyst with the Human DNA Identification Lab at UNMC, has taken part in hundreds of forensic investigations. Most recently, Helligso and her team received news that the Human DNA Identification Lab, under director Jesse Cox, MD, PhD, has earned accreditation to perform Forensic Investigative Genetic Genealogy (FIGG), which will allow them to assist in cold case investigations.  “We are one of six labs in the country that are accredited,” Helligso said. 
 
The technology will enable them to assist law enforcement with identifying unknown DNA, she said, and potentially help solve several cold cases. “You may have heard of this technology, as it was utilized to catch the Golden State Killer and more recently the suspect for the Idaho University murders, among hundreds of others,” Helligso said. 
 
In early 2023, Helligso said, the lab obtained funding from a private donor to bring the FIGG technology into the lab.  After testing the technology for most of the year, the lab was ready in November to move forward for accreditation, and after an audit by the American National Standards Institute National Accreditation Board, the lab was given approval.
 
Since then, Helligso said, she has been doing forensic DNA work for the Omaha Police Department, through a prosecution of cold cases grant, identifying DNA profiles to utilize the new FIGG testing.
 
“What we are looking for are DNA samples that don’t already have a hit in the national DNA database, CODIS (Combined DNA Index System), to help law enforcement identify potential suspects,” Helligso said. 
She currently is working on more than a dozen cold case homicides with the Omaha Police Department. 
 
“This is very exciting, because the cases we weren’t able to solve always linger in the back of your mind, and now we have another tool to use to help bring closure for families and justice for the victims,” she said.
Presiding Officer: Larry Guenther
Secretary: Deb Skinner
Invocation & Pledge: John Sullivan
Sgt at Arms: Okley Gibbs
Digital Experience: Adam Leong
Navigator: Josh Todd
Cashiers/Check-in: Bob Keefer & John Mock
Admin Support: Mitch Hunt
Greeters: Paul Cohen & John Ewing 
Speaker Host: Bill Harvey
Speakers: Mellissa Hellisgo
 
Location Alert: Back to Trinity Episcopal Cathedral
 
Trinity Function Hall
113 N. 18th St., Omaha, NE 68102
Remember to enter through the red door between 17th & 18th Streets
                                                                                                                                   
04/17/24 Menu: Buffet of Meatballs, Penne, Marinara, Alfredo, Cheese, Breadsticks, Sweet Kale Salad, and Macarons.
 
Lunch is $14 for members and $17 for visiting Rotarians and guests. We offer the best deal for Rotary lunch in the metro.
 
Name: Sean Kelly
Classification: Ag Real Estate 
Position/Company:  Ag Real Estate Broker / Cargill
Proposed by: Jim Cavanaugh
 
For comments or objections, please send them in writing to director@omaharotary.org by April 19, 2024.
 
On behalf of the Rotary Club of Omaha, it brings us great joy to extend our heartfelt congratulations to your outstanding 8th Grade Honor Roll student. Your dedication to academic excellence is truly commendable, and we are honored to recognize this remarkable achievement.
 
As our annual event gains momentum and the associated costs rise, we find ourselves reaching out to our esteemed attendees for their valued support. Your generosity and commitment to fostering the growth of our future leaders are instrumental in ensuring the continued success of our endeavors.

Should you be willing to contribute, we kindly invite you to explore the various contribution levels outlined below:
Your support will not only help us cover the costs for the upcoming 2024 event but will also pave the way for the sustained recognition and encouragement of our promising young leaders.
 
To make your donation, please click on the link on your desired contribution level and assist us in shaping a brighter future for education. Thank you for your unwavering dedication to nurturing the future of education. Together, we can empower and inspire generations to come.
 
The 8th Grade Rotary Honor Roll fund is managed by the Omaha Downtown Rotary Foundation, a 501c3 organization, making your donation fully tax-deductible.

The Rotary Club of Omaha
director@omaharotary.org
(402) 577-0091
The Rotary Club of Omaha has been honored with the esteemed Rotary International Citation for the Rotary Year 2022-2023, during the tenure of President Sean Connolly. This recognition was presented at the culminating Rotary District 5650 Conference. Our club surpassed the expectations set by RI, particularly in the domains of Developing and implementing sustainable service projects, Contributions to The Rotary Foundation, Membership Engagement initiatives, and Raising awareness of Rotary within the community. Congratulations to all our dedicated Rotarians!
R. Gordon R. McInally is president of Rotary International. He was educated at the Royal High School in Edinburgh and at the University of Dundee, where he earned his graduate degree in dental surgery. He operated his own dental practice in Edinburgh until 2016. Gordon was chair of the East of Scotland branch of the British Paedodontic Society and has held various academic positions. He has also served as a presbytery elder, chair of the Queensferry parish congregational board, and commissioner to the general assembly of the Church of Scotland. Read President McInally's biography.
 
Watch the video below of President McInally's address to the Rotary International Assembly:
 
Due to the continual markets downturn, the Downtown Rotary Foundation has made the difficult decision to take a one year moratorium on grant distributions to nonprofits for the 2022-2023 year. We look forward to renewing the grant process for 2023-2024 when the markets start to recover. If you have any questions, please reach out to Foundation President, Sean Olson at solson@sonburst.com.
If you attend another club's meeting in person or virtual, please email Yolanda for attendance credit
Thank you!
Club Executives & Directors
Club President
Club President-elect
Immediate Past Club President
Club Administration Director
Club Secretary
Club Treasurer
Club Foundation Chair - TRF
Club Foundation Chair - Club Foundation
Club Membership Chair
Club Polio Chair
Club Program Chair
Club Public Image
Club Service Projects
Make Up Opportuntites
Monday: Omaha Millard Rotary, 12:00 pm, German American Society, 3717 South 120th St.
Tuesday: Omaha Morning 7:00 am, 88 Tactical, 15350 Shepard St., Omaha, NE 68138
Tuesday: Omaha Northwest, 12:00 pm, First Responders Foundation, 10605 Burt Circle, Omaha, NE 68114
Wednesday: Omaha Downtown, 12:00 pm, Field Club of Omaha, 3615 Woolworth Ave.
Thursday: West Douglas County, 7:00 am, Elkhorn Common Ground Community Center, 1701 Veterans Drive
Thursday: Omaha Suburban, Noon, Legends Patio Grill, 6920 Pacific St., Suite 100
Thursday: Council Bluffs, 12:00 pm, The Center, 714 Main Street
Friday: Omaha West, 12:00 pm, Biaggi's, 13655 California St.

 

Rotary Honor Roll
2024 Rotary Scholarship
Weekly Meeting Duties
Upcoming Speakers
Club Vision Rollout
Apr 24, 2024
President Larry Guenther
No Rotary Meeting
May 01, 2024
Every Rotarian is to Attend Honor Roll Luncheon April 30
Steve Schmidt
May 08, 2024
Elder Law Issues
Luci Foster
May 15, 2024
JDRF Mission and Impact
Senator Brad von Gillern
May 22, 2024
Nebraska Unicameral
Martie Cordaro
May 29, 2024
Omaha Storm Chasers/Union Omaha
NO MEETING
Jul 04, 2024
Happy Independence Day
Guest Registration
Upcoming Events
Club Calendar
April 2024
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