Thursday, August 12, 2010

Honesdale, PA, USA

I always liked Honesdale.  The town holds a lot of memories.  I remember my dad taking me along on a coal delivery when I was a pup, and it was the place where I cut my teeth as a street reporter.

The year was 1982, and I was approaching my first anniversary at WARM.  The news director sent me to a murder trial in Honesdale.  I'm ashamed to say that I don't remember the names of the people involved, but I do remember being totally lost.  Believe me when I tell you-- real life court is nothing like "Matlock."  I'd phone in reports on the testimony every couple hours.  Terry McNulty was one of the news anchors back then.  There were many times he'd tell me to do it again and point out what could be done better.  I learned a lot that week.

While the names escape me, I do remember picking up the rhythm of the proceedings.  I could smell when one of the sides was going to "object" to something.  I also recall sensing holes in the prosecution's case.  Even the kid got this one right.  The trial ended with an acquittal.  Unfortunately, I wasn't there when the verdict came down.  I was working on something else back in the studio.

I took the above picture Monday morning.  You have to love a town with an actual "working" fountain in the middle of it.  Are you listening, Wilkes-Barre?  It was my first trip to Honesdale since a couple very busy streets were made "one way."  During a break, I walked a couple blocks from the courthouse to a cluster of passenger rail cars.  I thought I'd get killed crossing the streets, but something amazing hapened.  Cars actually stopped when I entered the crosswalk!  Of course, this was a weekday morning.  I'd have to get a look at weekend afternoon traffic, which is always a bear, to see how the system really works.

Why was I in Honesdale Monday?  For another murder trial.  Victim:  Laura Ronning.  Accused:  Jeffrey Plishka.  It's a sad story, involving a very pretty young woman, in a beautiful part of Northeastern Pennsylvania.  We won't know how this one plays out for another few weeks.

By the way, I did take some rail car pictures.  I'll bore you with them someday soon.