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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Feb. 17, 1997)
sports_ *_i_i_ MONDAY
Corralled! Roll the dice February 17, 1997
The Husker basketball team won with a 79-67 vie- “Vegas Vacation,” the latest installment in Na
tory over Texas on Sunday. It avenged a loss the tional Lampoon’s “Vacation” series, gets laughs, ®“"*v ^
Longhorns handed to it in November. PAGE 7 but doesn’t live up to its predecessors. PAGE 9 Sunny, high 53
VOL. 96 COVERING THE UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA-LINCOLN SINCE 1901 NO. 102
Editor’s note: In honor of Black
History Month, the Daily Ne
braskan is profiling prominent
black leaders in the Lincoln
community. Today is the first of
a five-part series.
By Anthony Caskey
For black leaders in Lincoln, it
seems there is little to solve the
problem of professional solitude.
And Donna Polk is one of the
“Being a black executive is
lonely,” said Polk, director of the
Nebraskan Urban Indian Health
Coalition. If she wants to talk with
another black colleague, she said,
she only has one other co-worker
she can turn to.
It is a trend she finds disturb
ing and is a situation she tries hard
But as a black woman running
a clinic for people who have little
or no money to pay for medical
treatment, she said the road to
achieving equality in the work
place —as well as building confi
dence—is long and difficult.
“Over the years, we’ve tried to
develop support groups, but it
never works,” Polk said.
Polk’s work as director of the
coalition has won the respect of
her co-workers and Lincoln com
According to Libby Raetz, di
rector of St Elizabeth Emergency
Services and Outpatient Clinics,
Polk was the person who con
tacted St. Elizabeth to start a
health clinic with die coalition. The
result of the collaboration between
the two organizations, the Ne
braska Urban Indian Medical Cra
ter, has been operating at 1935 Q
St. since March 4.
And Polk is the key to the
center’s success, Raetz said.
“Donna walks the walk,” Raetz
said. “I’ve seen her leave meetings
early so she could drive people to
a funeral, which took several hours
— these people are casual ac
Renee Geller, clinic supervisor
at NUIHC, said Polk is not just an
advocate for blacks.
“She is for everyone. She
works for all cultural groups and
for people who are at a lower
socio-economic level,” Geller said.
Polk takes her accolades in
stride, however. Competency at a
job is not the only ingredient for
success, she said.
“It’s not what you know but
who you know,” she said. “I knew
the president of the board of this
organization, Syd Beane, and he
thought I would do a good job.
“It's the best career move that
I’ ve ever made.”
In addition to one’s connec
dons, Polk believes that mentors
are important to a person’s career.
“It doesn’t matter how much
you know; if you are in uncharted
territory, you need someone to
show you where die traps are,” she
But preparation for success lies
in the standards of the community,
Polk said. The University of Ne
braska-Lincoln, for example,
should be responsible for promot
ing strong leadership, she said.
“I believe UNL could play a
greater role in preparing minority
executives,” Polk said. “I see that
UNL has the responsibility for cre
ating an environment that pro
motes leadership and community
participation by minority faculty
Please see POLK on 3
may see ameeds
By Brian Carlson
Two bills designed to make it easier
for convicted murderers of police of
ficers to receive the death penalty met
no opposing testimony Thursday, but
one senator’s absence at the hearing led
Testimony on LB422 and LB774,
sponsored by Sen. Jerry Matzke of
Sidney and Sen. Kate Witek of Omaha
respectively, was heard by the
Legislature’s Judiciary Committee.
Both bills are designed to amend
current law, which stipulates that a
murder victim’s status as a police of
ficer may only be used as an aggravat
ing circumstance if the accused was
already in the officers’ custody at the
time of the murder.
Under the proposed legislation, a
criminal who knowingly killed an on
duty police officer would face the ad
ditional aggravating circumstance in
Jimmy Wilson SrM whose son
Jimmy Wilson Jr. was murdered in
August 1995 while working as an
Omaha police officer, testified in sup
port of both bills.
Before a joint hearing on the twb
bills began, Sen. Ernie Chambers of
Omaha, a Judiciary Committee mem
ber, left the room and did not return.
Wilson expressed frustration at Cham
“I would like to have a chance to
face that individual senator,” he said.
“He did the same thing to me last year.”
Wilson said he favored the law not
because police officers’ lives were more
important than those of other citizens,
but because of their role in preserving
order in society.
“We’re not asking you to help just
policemen,” he said. “We’re asking you
to allow us to make a start, by legislat
ing some tough laws and doing the
things that it takes to turn things
Gov. Ben Nelson, who asked
Matzke to sponsor his bill, asked com
mittee members to crack down on “a
crime against all society.”
“We must provide die opportunity
for maximum punishment for those
who kill on-duty officers,” he said. “We
can do that by clearly spelling out that
the killing of an officer while in the
performance of his or her duties is an
aggravating circumstance under which
the death penalty can be applied.”
Nelson said die legislation was not
meant to renew the debate about the
death penalty. Since most murders of
Please see POLICE on 3
Medical center surgeons
use television technology
By Erin Gibson
Two University of Nebraska Medi
cal Center surgeons made history Jan.
30by removing two cancerous kidneys
from a man in Omaha.
They did it while watching televi
Inderbir Gill, a UNMC doctor who
performed the surgery, said the televi
sion is necessary for organ removal
with a laparoscope. A laparoscope is a
small camera inserted inside a patient
through a small incision.
The camera projects what it sees
inside the patient on a television screen.
Surgeons perform surgery watching the
screen, not the patient, Gill said.
As a result, surgeries like the kid
ney removal can be performed with
out large incisions, he said. Patients’
incisions are typically small enough to
be covered with a small bandage. Pa
tients recover with less pain in less time,
The patient was walking and eat
ing the next morning.
Tom O’Connor, UNMC public af
fairs officer, said the surgery was the
first time doctors removed two cancer
ous kidneys simultaneously while us
ing a laparoscope in surgery.
As far as the patient
is concerned, it’s
definitely a much
Gill joined surgeon Martin Grune
in performing the nearly five-hour pro
cedure, O’Connor said.
Gill said removing cancerous kid
neys is more difficult than removing
non-cancerous kidneys for both sur
geons and patients. He said all fat and
adrenal glands surrounding the kidneys
also must be removed to prevent the
spread of cancer cells.
Typically, in such an operation, an
8-inch incision is made along the side
of the patient, Gill said. The incision
cuts through important muscle tissue.
“That’s disfiguring,” Gill said. ‘That
hurts and that requires a lot of healing
Please see KIDNEYS on 6
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