Morning show co-host is signing off

By Guy D’Astolfo

Laurie Lehosky is leaving the television position she’s held for almost a decade.

YOUNGSTOWN — It’s Take 2 for Laurie Lehosky.

After nine years as co-anchor of “WFMJ Today,” TV 21’s morning news magazine, Lehosky is resigning to begin a new phase of her life. Her last day will be May 23.

Lehosky and her husband, George Kukurin, will be be splitting their time between Phoenix and Pittsburgh as Kukurin expands his chiropractic practice into Arizona. He currently has a practice in Pittsburgh, which he will continue to operate.

“He’s supported me for years, and now it’s my turn to take some time off and support him,” said Lehosky who spoke to The Vindicator last week on the WFMJ news set between promo tapings. She has no immediate plans to get back into the news business, although she doesn’t rule it out for the near future.

“It’s a huge decision and a bittersweet one,” she said of her resignation. “I love what I do, and Youngstown has become my home just as much as Pittsburgh.” Lehosky and her husband live in Pittsburgh, but also keep a second home in Poland for bad-weather nights. Although she starts work at 4:30 a.m., Lehosky still commutes most mornings from Pittsburgh. She says she’s a coffee addict who loves getting up in the middle of the night.

Lehosky came to the station in 1999, and almost immediately became the co-host of “WFMJ Today,” along with Scott Schneider. The two have been a pair ever since.

“I always saw Laurie as the sister I never wanted,” said Schneider, who jokingly noted that he sees her every morning without makeup. “But we’ve grown close over the years. She’s a big reason why [“WFMJ Today” has] been No. 1 [in the ratings].”

The station is currently conducting a search for Lehosky’s replacement.

A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, Lehosky worked as a hard-news reporter at stations in Johnstown, Altoona and State College, Pa., before coming to Youngstown.

The morning magazine format, with its conversational tone, was a switch that she fully embraced. “I think in some small way we contribute to the lives of our viewers every day, whether it’s reporting the news, having fun cooking, or doing something to spice up their day.”

Lehosky said she loves the Arizona desert and the warm climate, but will never forget the Mahoning Valley.

“I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for the Mahoning Valley and the terrific people I’ve met in my time here,” she said. “I would like to thank our viewers one more time for making us No. 1 year after year.”

What are Lehosky’s strongest memories? For starters, the Canfield Fair. “I love the people, the animals, the food ... it’s a great representation of the Mahoning Valley,” she said.

Food, in fact, may some day be a lure back to the area for Lehosky — especially the local specialties. “I was introduced to wedding soup and greens,” she said. “Now I’m hooked.”

Lehosky also remembers her first day at WFMJ. “I was assigned to cover a news conference and met the colorful congressman [Jim Traficant] on my first day reporting.”

She called her co-anchor Schneider “a class act. I always laugh when I think about Scott and I dressing up as each other for Halloween on the morning show in 2000. Scott looked great in his blond wig!”

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