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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Not Yet

The U.S. women's soccer team captured the World Cup Sunday night, which is beyond fantastic.

I set out to do a reaction story Sunday morning, and met up with the nice kids at Old Forge High School.  20 on the team.  Five girls.

All saw what happened in Vancouver Sunday night as an inspiration.  Many plan to continue playing when they get to college.  Again, fantastic.

What about the rest of us?  I remember hearing of the impending soccer revolution in the 70's.  It never happened and I doubt it ever will.

Parts of it make sense, especially for schools.  Fewer injuries.  Equipment doesn't cost as much.  Even smaller kids can do well.

The time appears to be right.  Cable stations are dedicated to soccer.  The sport is getting a lot of attention.

But, remember where you are-- the U.S. of A.  Gridiron football is part of the culture.  It will be awfully hard to displace.  Soccer has low scoring games, and Americans seem to like a lot of offense-- be it football, baseball, or hockey.

There might not ever be a soccer revolution, but it could win a battle or two.

Monday, July 6, 2015

I Came, I Saw, I Circled

I just had to see for myself.

Penndot just had a contractor install a traffic roundabout at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport.  Penndot stresses it's a roundabout, not a traffic circle.

Opening reviews are absolutely horrible, so I decided to leave for work extra early, on a morning last week, and check it out.

They were right.

It's counter intuitive and it just doesn't make sense.  On top of that, it's not going to be the only roundabout at that interchange.

As I noted earlier, it was a fine interchange.  The only issues were short acceleration and deceleration ramps at Interstate 81.  They were fixable without throwing the driving public into a tizzy. 

Credit where credit is due:  part of the project involves extending Navy Way into the industrial park, a great idea that should have been done years ago.

It's unfortunate that the powers that be took something that was working just fine, and turned it into something people hate.

Like anything else, it takes getting used to.  It would be nice to see a quick and easy learning curve, pardon the pun.


Sunday, July 5, 2015

Andy's Angles: The Tank

This one has been on the blog before, but never the view in the darkness.

Dunmore has a big, old tank at the intersection of South Blakely and Short Streets.

Like Providence Square yesterday, this area is well maintained.  It might not be the most scenic location, but it is one that gets a lot of traffic, and therefore, your attention.


Saturday, July 4, 2015

Independence Day

I was driving around yesterday morning, and I thought it would be a good fit for today, Independence Day.

There's a nice display of flags, inserted in the planter at Main and Market in Scranton-- Providence Square.

I like communities that have a center piece, a focal point-- like Providence Square.  It;'s always nicely maintained.  I'm told PennDOT regulations forbid a Christmas tree here because of traffic visibility issues, they do decorate one in a parking lot just to the left of where this photo was taken.

Have a happy and safe weekend as we celebrate our independence.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Hot Dog!

I was looking for something All American as we approach Independence Day, and the hot dog came to mind.  Yes, I know it has its roots in Germany, but America has adopted it and adapted it to serve our needs.

I know there are healthier choices out there, but I like them.

Today's entry is not about the frank, but rather, the bread.

I have no problems with folding over a plain slice of sandwich white and fashioning a bun out of it.  It tastes just fine.

However, a hot dog tastes so much better when it's on a hot dog bun.  Don't ask me why.  It's essentially the same thing as a slice of white bread, only in a different form.

Just something to ponder this weekend as you celebrate our independence.

Have a happy and safe weekend.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

First Person: CabbageWatch

It never fails.

I was in the WNEP newsroom early Tuesday morning, working on state budget stories.  I just finished the second and hit the "save" button.   In spite of the time consuming task of trying to make the complex understandable, I was done early.  Most of that was thanks to coming in to work a little early.

After finishing the second budget story, I made another check of my e-mail before packing up my stuff to head to that day's live shot location, the state office building on Lackawanna Avenue in Scranton.  Something caught my eye.  Interstate 81 South at Lenox was closed due to 42,000 pounds of cargo on the road.  The email did not list the cargo or the circumstances that put it there.

Producer Thomas started working the phones.   He wasn't able to get much information from the people who should know such things.  Behavior like that always baffles me.  If we know, the public knows.  If the public knows, they can choose other routes.  It lessens aggravation for drivers and it increases safety for first responders.

In spits of the roadblocks, we knew it was big.  Photographer Jason and I jumped in a satellite truck and headed north.

The crash was in the south bound lanes.  As we passed it going north, we couldn't tell what it was.  It look like softballs all over the highway.  We turned around and started coming south.  Jason negotiated a good parking spot.  Thank you, fire department.  As Jason took the video, I approached State Police for the information.  The investigation was in the early stages, but they told me what they knew.

It was an explosion of cabbage and tomatoes.  The stuff was everywhere.  The point the truck first impacted the guide rail to its final resting place was about a half mile, and the route was covered in produce.  I'd never seen anything like it.  Luckily, the driver wasn't seriously hurt.  He gets a speeding citation.

The smell of cabbage was thick in the air, but the morning was on the cool side and the stuff was fresh.  It wasn't a bad aroma.

We got off the highway, and parked the satellite truck in the back parking lot of Bingham's Restaurant parking lot.  We were close to the highway, but still safely out of everyone's way.  11 live shots all morning long kept our audience involved.  I also managed to feed most of the mosquitoes in that part of Susquehanna County.

Interstate 81 reopened around 8:15 AM, about seven hours after the crash.

Thanks to Bingham's for the parking space.  Your breakfast smelled incredible, especially the bacon.  We didn't have time to stay and have something.  It's now on my priority list.

Photographer Jason was succeeded by photographer Corey.  He and I put together a story for our noon broadcast, and the day was done.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

NewsNight

I'm always saddened when a news program gets canceled.

The latest victim, "Up to the Minute."  It airs on CBS overnights.

It's good broadcast-- serious, interesting.  It's a different approach than ABC News uses.  I like them both.  CBS is good at the hard news.   ABC's features are always entertaining and attention getting.  ABC has a strong presentation, while CBS is considerable more laid back.

The CBS broadcast began 30 years ago, when it was called "Nightwatch."  Tradition and heritage seem to mean so much at CBS.  I guess money won this time.  I understand.  After all, television is a business.

CBS promises to have another news product in place when "Up to the Minute" goes away in mid September.  There's speculation CBS will just put its internet news service, CBSN, up on the network for local stations to use.

I note the passing of Jay Daniels today.  Jay passed away Sunday at a hospice in Kingston.  He had been ill for some time.  Jay spent many years at KRZ and Rock 107.  There was at least one station in Massachusetts before that.  Jay had a long career in a business that chews up people and spits them out.  He was half of a morning duo for quite a while-- the straight man.  It's harder to be the straight man than the jokester.  I'm not going to pretend I knew him.  We met a few times over the years.  Always cordial and professional.  My sympathy to his family, friends, and fans.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Nick News

It's more than the end of a month.  It's the end of an era.  Nick Horsky leaves WNEP today, after 35 years on the job.  He was at the old WDAU before that.

That's Nick above, on the left.  I took the photo during the Hazleton Immigration Ordinance trial in Federal Court at Scranton.

Let me tell you about Nick.  He was the fastest and most efficient photographer I ever worked with in my 25+ years of television.  I remember one morning, several years ago.  We were at the University of Scranton, doing the "kids moving back into the dorms" story at the start of the fall semester.  We followed around one family.  I think they were from New Jersey.  Everyone at the U is from New Jersey.  Anyway, they were a great bunch.  The daughter was nervous.  So were the parents.  They were keeping their emotions in check, not wanting to worry each other.  Still, I remember a tear or two.

I did my interviews.  Nick went off on his own to get some video.  He returned a few minutes later.  I asked if he had enough shots.  The reply was "yes."  I was surprised because it didn't take him long, so I asked again.  Are you sure?   The reply was "yes."

Nick had this fantastic ability to know exactly how much video was needed for a story.  He never under-shot.  He never over-shot.
Above, Nick and I covering flash flooding in Plymouth, four years ago this week.  WNEP photographer Mike Erat took the picture.

Nick was the man you wanted around at deadline time.  I don't think I've ever seen someone edit a story faster.  It didn't make a difference if he was using video he shot, or if the video came from another photographer.  When you worked with Nick, you made your slot.

Here is where I will especially miss Mr. Horsky.  No one broke down a live shot faster.  Seconds are at a premium, especially at the end of your day.  Nick did some of my noon live shots.  The equipment would be stowed, the mast would be down in no time, and you'd be on your way back to the office.

I will miss Nick's talents.  I will also miss his common sense presence in the newsroom.

Photographers don't get nearly the credit they deserve.  You were better informed because Nick Horsky worked at WNEP.

Nick Horsky, thank you.

Monday, June 29, 2015

This Week

No matter what side of the arguments you're on, you have to agree that it was a momentous week.

ObamaCare survives.  Bans on same sex marriage do not.

As I'm writing this, rulings on redistricting and the death penalty are due from the Supreme Court.

Add to that the South Carolina church shooting funerals and the debate over the Confederate flag.

One escaped killer shot and killed in New York.  The other was shot, wounded and captured.  It seems there was a lot amiss at that prison.  Governor Cuomo had better drop the hammer.

Terrorism in Europe.  Horrible bloodshed.

The field of presidential candidates grows larger.

We're wondering who bought the Mall at Steamtown and what plans they have for it.  There are a few proposals out there.  Some are feasible.  Others are pure fantasy.

Some Scranton retirees received double pensions at a time when the city is begging for money and teeters on the verge of insolvency.

Harrisburg can't come up with a common sense spending plan-- one that funds the things we want and need, and doesn't cost us a fortune in taxes.

And, it won't stop raining.

It has been said the only thing constant in life, is change.

So very true.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Andy's Angles: Trains

There are no ugly trains.

I found this pair, just off Lackawanna Avenue in Scranton on a recent morning, just after sunrise.

They might be a little beat up, but they get the job done.