Saturday, November 29, 2014
If I had a least favorite building on campus, this was it. It's the Fine Arts Building. It has nothing to do with architecture and style. I knew if I was setting foot in here, it was for an art, theater, or music course. None of those subjects were in my wheelhouse.
Yes, I had some broadcasting courses in here, and this is the building in which I received my diploma. Not all memories are bad.
Still, I can't forgot struggling through the arts behind those walls.
Friday, November 28, 2014
It's a day of stress, noise, crowds, mayhem and excess.
I know a lot of people have to shop on Black Friday to save money and stretch a holiday budget. I get that.
I don't get the opening early, staying open late frenzy that now stretches into Thanksgiving afternoon and evening.
If you want to work, fine. If you want to shop, fine. Not everyone celebrates Thanksgiving, and I know some people who see Black Friday shopping as family time, an adventure-- like Disney World.
If you're working in retail today, best of luck. These days, when you take a job in the industry, you have to realize working on once sacred holidays is now part of the package. My email in box is filled with complaints from retail industry employees. My heart goes out to you, but there are no longer retail holidays.
Below, a shot of the Viewmont Mall in Dickson City, taken Thanksgiving morning, before the frenzy.
And below, a very quiet Lackawanna Avenue in downtown Scranton. It's another Thanksgiving morning shot.
If you're going to be out today, be careful, be calm, spend wisely, and be patient. Good luck. I'll be watching from the sidelines.
Thursday, November 27, 2014
I've always said I'm luckier than I really deserve to be. That continued this year. No complaints from me.
I do have some friends who have had a horrible year, and I will be thinking of them today.
There so many others who are struggling, and we should all remember them today, as well.
Please, try to have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
I've had a lot of experience with gas leaks over the decades. Most start off sounding big. Then, the gas company turns a valve. Problem solved. Quickly.
This one sounded a little different. Plus, it was on a very busy street during the morning rush hour.
Photographer Corey and I jumped in one of our trucks and headed to Dickson City. On the way, we heard about street closings. We wondered how to get there. Both of us know the area rather well, and we knew there would be back roads and side streets to get to the desired location.
We saw the road block as we approached from the south. Police and firefighters were accommodating We were allowed to pull off into a supermarket parking lot with a great view of what was happening. A pressure relief valve at a UGI gas compressor station blew, sending a plume of natural gas rocketing in to the air.
It was an impressive and frightening sight. First of all, natural gas was shooting in to the air. We didn't know if it would blow. Second, the noise was deafening. Literally. It was painful to be around. There was so much noise, I had to do my 8:27 AM live report from inside the truck. It would have impossible to hear, or be heard over the jet engine like noise.
After about 90 minutes, the pressure was back to normal. The leak stopped. It was business as usual in Dickson City. We gathered some interviews from frightened people who saw what happened, and got the official reaction from the fire chief and the deputy director of Lackawanna County's Emergency Management Agency.
When I got back to the office, I placed a call to UGI, to get their explanation. Cause of pressure build up unknown. The pressure relief valve worked as designed. No one was hurt. No mains were shut. No one lost service.
An Aleve aided with my headache and ear pain. Sleep also helped. The noise was gone, but the image if that natural gas plume streaking in to the air will stay with me for quite a while.
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
|courtesy: Citizens Voice|
Our paths crossed many times over the years. Kabacinski was an advocate for the homeless, long before it became one of the fashionable and popular causes.
He taught us to care, not just during cold snaps and holidays, but every day. Vince was always there in his V.I.S.I.O.N. van to get the homeless off the streets and in to the warmth of a shelter.
Kabacinski had his detractors. Who doesn't?
When all is said and done, when the history of the Wyoming Valley is written, it will be noted that Vince Kabacinski made his community a better place, and he was always there to help men and women in need.
Vince Kabacinski made a difference. We should all be as fortunate.
Monday, November 24, 2014
I've grown weary of the fear mongering and long term winter predictions. You can't forecast the whole season based on one cold week.
For those who say the economy has turned the corner, spend some time this holiday season with the Salvation Army, or Friends of the Poor, or the Commission on Economic Opportunity, or United Neighborhood Centers. There are a lot of people, families with kids, out there still hurting.
I wish the NFL would stop playing games in London and stop entertaining thoughts about putting a team there permanently. Los Angeles first.
There is likely a Bill Cosby blog in my future. There are some serious questions on both sides. Why did the women wait so long to say something? All have similar stories, leading me to believe there's a lot of truth to the stories.
I will forever be amazed that we landed a spacecraft on a comet.
A friend showed me her iPhone 6+. It's an amazing device, but it's not for me. I phone. I text. That's all I need.
NBC hired a guy to overhaul the Today show and fired him because he wanted to overhaul the Today show.
I will never understand how Marion Barry kept getting elected in Washington.
Seven feet of snow, then flooding? Good luck, Buffalo.
Sunday, November 23, 2014
I'm trying very hard to like the new building. I'm just not there yet.
My concerns-- the look and scale. It might be too big part for this part of campus, overwhelming buildings around it, especially the spectacular Liberal Arts Building and its dome. There's some brick in the back. The rest of steel and glass. It just doesn't look like what a Marywood building should be.
I'm not arguing against the need for a new library.
Maybe I'll feel better when it's closer to completion next year.
Saturday, November 22, 2014
But, Marywood does a lot right. Below is a perfect example.
Friday, November 21, 2014
Our first case in point is the borough of Shenandoah, in Schuylkill County.
More than 80 drug related arrest warrants were issued Wednesday, representing 1 per cent of Shenandoah's population... and those are just the ones that law enforcement knows about. I'm sure there are others who escaped the net-- this time.
Drug crimes are always a tough call. Abuse is a disease as much as a medical and mental problem... but dealing and using is still a crime. It leads to other offenses, so you have to slap on the handcuffs sooner or later.
And, then there is the case of the ten year old accused killer, Tristin Kurilla, in Wayne County. His attorney gave up the right to a preliminary hearing Wednesday, and is concentrating his efforts on getting the case moved to juvenile court. Kurilla is accused of killing a 90 year old woman by holding a stick against her throat.
It's clear the defense admits to the crime. The appropriate punishment will be debated for a long, long time.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
The cold might be unpleasant, but we're Pennsylvanians. We know the drill. Bundle up. Check on the elderly and pets. Be careful with heating systems. Don't do anything stupid. We'll get through this.
Be thankful you're not in western New York, where they're measuring snow in feet. People are trapped on highways. They're trapped in their homes. It might be days before streets are open again. Residents are running out of food and supplies. It's ugly, and it's frightening.
Perspective, my friends. We have nothing to complain about.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
The weekend replays of Thursday night Scranton city council meetings are must see tv.
To get you up to speed, the nearly broke Scranton is asking property owners to swallow a 19 per cent tax increase. According to our friends at the Times~Tribune, Scranton taxes will have doubled over the past few years.
Speaker after speaker before council begs for cuts. Okay, good idea. Tell me where. Maybe you can trim an administrative salary or two, drop a solicitor/lawyer here and there, possibly pink slip someone in public works.
It's a drop in the bucket.
I'm sure public safety could be more efficient. Do you remember when Mayor Doherty tried to cut the fire department? The cuts were quickly reversed after people started losing their homes. We need more police, not less.
Ask the non profits to kick in? They've already exhibited a reluctance to do that, and I understand. Most of them are squeaking by, at best. There are a lot of poor people out there. Social services are stretched to the max.
Past councils went out of their way to alienate the University of Scranton. You have to take the good with the bad at the U. Can it kick in more? Certainly. On the other hand, it's one of the few entities bringing people to the area and improving the local economy.
That brings us to taxes. There's no other solution. I'm sorry.
A tax increase does set off an unfortunate spiral. People sell houses. People leave the city, and those who stay have to carry a larger share of the burden.
These problems weren't created overnight. Some strong leadership and bold decisions could have averted this impending disaster. It's time to look forward, not back.
If anyone has a good idea, now is the time to speak up.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
I've watched journalists calmly report from war zones in Syria, Iran, and Iraq. Many have risked their lives to venture into Ebola ridden areas of Africa. And, The Weather Channel goes hysterical when Bemidji, Minnesota gets an inch of snow.
The FOX Sports baseball team of Buck, Reynolds, and Verducci got generally good reviews during the World Series. I like Joe Buck. Always have. I can do without the other two.
You knew that Honey Boo Boo clan would eventually self destruct. They got their 15 minutes of fame, and then some. They made my skin crawl, and I'm glad their gone.
I'm not disputing his heroism, which is considerable. The former Navy SEAL who shot bin Laden is making the media rounds, saying "it's not about me." It doesn't sound that way.
CBS Sports Radio is dropping John Feinstein's 9 AM -noon show. Mistake. Literate and funny-- a rare combination in sports talk radio.
The Wall Street Journal is dropping its radio division. I frequently listened to The Wall Street Journal This Morning at 5 AM. It wasn't stodgy at all-- world news, national news, business news, consumer news... It was a solid hour, and it will be missed. The end comes December 31. WSJ's editor says radio doesn't fit in with the company's growth plans. One of the trades reported yesterday that a company called Compass is interested in filling the void, and it's already been in touch with many of the people who work on The Wall Street Journal This Morning. Outside of major cities, and some syndicated offerings, news on the radio is hard to come by. Running a newsy format is expensive, but you can attract upper socioeconomic groups, with nice incomes, and you can sell the commercials at a premium.
I stopped watching the Blacklist because it got too creepy and violently disturbing. I've cheated a bit and watched some clips on YouTube. I was saddened to see the Alan Alda character, Alan Fitch, get killed off. It wasn't pretty. Collar bomb. The Blacklist is clever and well acted. It doesn't need the gore. Yet, producers seem content to shove it down our throats. That's why TV's come with "off" switches.
Alton Brown says he won't produce any more of his Food Network series Good Eats. He says the shows were too much work. I understand. They were a lot of work to watch.
Monday, November 17, 2014
Apparently, the caller is not a blog reader. I've used this space in the past to thank a letter carrier for trudging through a snow storm to make sure my mother received a social security check. By the way, this was before the federal government put a nail in the USPS coffin by going to direct deposit. I've also marveled here on how a letter can go coast to coast for 50 cents.
I occasionally visit the Olyphant and Stafford Avenue, Scranton post offices-- where the employees are professional and courteous. Package shipping is fairly easy and at a reasonable cost.
However, you cannot escape the face that once you've paid for internet access, e-bill paying, and e-mail are free and instantaneous.
Ben Franklin, the first Postmaster General, was one of my heroes. I'd hate to see the USPS go away. Unfortunately, the services it provides aren't as necessary as they once were.
Society and technology hammered the nails.
Sunday, November 16, 2014
New bridges can be rather boring. This one won't knock your socks off, but it does have clean lines and a simple, sleek elegance.
Below is a photo lifted from the Montour County Genealogical Society shows the new bridge, and the one it replaced.
Saturday, November 15, 2014
This pond and gazebo are along Route 890 in Rockefeller Township, just outside of Sunbury.
I hadn't been through this part of our area in a very long time, and the beauty of the big old houses in Sunbury and the mountains outside of the city blew me away.
It's on my list of places for a return visit.
Friday, November 14, 2014
I skipped the traditional blog genesis story last year, in favor of my first entry ever, so it's time to tell the tale again.
Dennis Fisher was our news director at the time. He was looking for ways to get more original content on WNEP.com. I saw reporters and anchors doing columns on other TV station web sites. I suggested it to Dennis. He asked for a sample. Before I could provide one, webmaster Mark Sowers noticed the blog thing gaining traction. He set up an in house platform, and I was off and running that afternoon.
Mark slowly introduced enhancements, like the ability to add pictures and graphics.
Out next webmaster, Chris Nehlybel took it a step further. Chris asked I open a Blogger.com account, and there's a link on WNEP.com. It was one less headache for Chris, and a way for regular updates and customization.
Due to the switch in platforms, I don't have an accurate number of blog entries. I'm guessing it's around 3,500. A few have actually been interesting. I've also posted hundreds of photos here. One or two might have been good.
A lot of blogs have come and gone during the last ten years. I'm still here.
Thanks to Dennis and Mark for getting it started. They were great guys to work for and with.
Thank you for reading.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
Then, the radio call: fire, restaurant, fully involved, Routes 106 and 11, Kingsley, Susquehanna County.
My murder trial stories were shelved because breaking news is why we're here in the morning. Photographer Jason and I looked at a map and figured out the fastest way to get there. We loaded up a satellite truck and headed north.
About 45 minutes later, we reached our destination. You could see the glow miles away. Jenny Leigh's Country Cookin' restaurant was burning to the ground.
The clock was ticking. The 4:30 AM edition of Newswatch 16 was rapidly approaching. Thanks to a cooperative fire policeman, we negotiated a parking space that was far enough away to be safe, but close enough to see what was going on. I snapped the photo you see above for WNEP.com while Jason shot video. We converged back at the truck, deployed the satellite dish, and made the 4:30 AM broadcast with seconds to spare.
A series of live reports followed, encompassing the fire fighting efforts, and the aftermath. Jenny Leigh herself was kind enough to speak with me on camera, a remarkably composed woman, especially under the circumstances.
Fire fighting here is a challenge. It's a lovely, rural area. Unfortunately, there are no fire hydrants, and there is no neighborhood fire station. The firefighters did the best they could. The fire was in an old building, and it had a good start. It added up to disaster. They will never find the cause because of the amount of damage. It's not suspicious.
Jenny Leigh vows to rebuild. She seemed like a very nice woman. A lot of people are pulling for her.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Case in point, COLTS, the County of Lackawanna Transit System. It over reported the number of senior citizen passengers, and received $ 5.8 million from the state it didn't deserve. The state wants the money back. To make up for it, drivers and other employees will lose their jobs, some routes will be cut, and Saturday service stops altogether.
There are some government services that should continue, even though they don't generate a lot of money. I've long been a fan of public transportation. It's a necessity. Tell the teens not old enough to drive, tell the less fortunate, tell the senior citizens they can no longer get where they want to go at a reasonable price, and at a reasonable time.
COLTS intermodal transportation center is still a "go." That money comes from somewhere else. It's being constructed at Lackawanna and Mifflin, blocks from any place people need or want to visit. At least, the intermodal center takes buses off Wyoming Avenue and frees up traffic. It seems COLTS is already doing a good job at taking buses off the roads.
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Monday, November 10, 2014
Many times, there are topics that need additional comment after reflection and analysis. Write after the dust settles, and today is one of those occasions. It's the election edition.
After doing some number crunching, it appears the Republican Pennsylvania T is still alive and well. Democrats do well in the northeast, Erie and the big cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The rest, except for a blue splotch in the center of the state, is Republican territory.
Tom Corbett did well where expected. He got hammered by Tom Wolf elsewhere. The "T" wasn't enough to overcome deficits in other parts of the state.
I noted how Corbett ran a bad campaign in this space last week, and voters had ample reason to be angry with him in the performance category. While the margin was substantial, it wasn't the disaster many expected. Corbett lost by 10 points last week. He defeated Dan Onorato by 9 points in 2010.
More number crunching... if you look at what Wolf wants to do, and where he wants to get the money to do it, it doesn't add up. Toss in pension obligations, and you have some real challenges ahead. On top of that, Wolf has to get his plans through the Republican controlled house and senate.
Sunday, November 9, 2014
Election morning was just about perfect. It's always nice to stand outside at 4:30 AM and not shiver.
I took this picture, just after sunrise, at our election morning location: Green Ridge Assembly of God Church on Green Ridge Street in Scranton. The location had a lot going for it-- a big parking lot, easy access, a simple microwave path, and nice people at the polling places in the church.
In spite of the nice weather, numbers across the area were anemic, and that always makes me sad.
Saturday, November 8, 2014
It's apparent this goose, and several others are fed regularly. They seemed to have no fear of people.
They reminded me of the squirrels at Lake Scranton. They are so used to being around people, they will nearly run up your pant leg.
Friday, November 7, 2014
Well, I really wouldn't call myself a gym rat, but I've been faithfully attending two or three times a week for the last two years.
It's always the same routine-- some time on the bike, the treadmill, the elliptical, and the stepper. My visits usually last two hours, followed by a hot shower and a limp to the car.
I'm not in what you would call great shape, but it is nice to burn off some calories and work up a good sweat once in a while.
Thursday, November 6, 2014
It was clear and sunny when I left Scranton, and the clouds continued to build as I headed north to Binghamton.
This one was on my radar for some time, but I could never find the time to get there.
This could have been a good one-- the statue, the setting. Unfortunately, the weather was too grey and I needed a flash to fill.
Below is some information I lifted from a web site on Spanish American War statues.
The Skirmisher in Binghamton
The Skirmisher, in Confluence Park Binghamton, New York where the Chenango River meets the Susquehanna River. Robert Ingersoll Aitkin created the bronze in 1924 to honor Spanish-American War Veterans. The sculpture is mounted on a circular, stepped and fluted, granite pedestal at the entrance to the parabolic arch Washington Street Bridge (which is no longer open to vehicular traffic).
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
So, why did Tom Corbett lose?
There are several reasons.
Tom Wolf was smart. He got in early and spent big. Most of it was his own money, so he wasn't hampered by fund raising, like his primary opponents and Corbett in the general.
Corbett ran a bad campaign. He let his opponent define him. Corbett came from a big law and order background, which he never played up. While Corbett wasn't a guy who gave you the warm fuzzies, he should have played up that he was a no nonsense guy who kept the state stable.
The perceived education cuts hurt badly. There are still a lot of people who believe the solution to the problem is to throw more money at it. Corbett waited too long to counter attack Wolf on taxes, which could have been a winning issue.
I'm sure there are scores of behind the scenes issues. Republicans control the state house and senate. Yet, Corbett couldn't get things done in Harrisburg.
It was the perfect storm, and the end result is a change in Harrisburg in January,
As for the final numbers, Corbett beat Onorato by 9 in 2010. I thought he'd lose by 6 this time. It turned out to be 10.
I was looking at national exit polling from all the networks. Wow! There are a lot of angry people in this country, unhappy with Obama, unhappy with the country's direction. Mid term elections usually go against the party in power, so Democrats suffered some big losses last night. You knew there would be trouble when key Democrats didn't want to be anywhere near the president in the days leading up to the campaign.
As I write this, it looks like Republicans will control the senate. If so, the Obama presidency is effectively over.
Locally, Republicans still have a huge problem getting their act together. My state representative ran without Republican opposition. Matt Cartwright cruised to a win in the 17th. Barletta, Marino, Scavello, Major, Kaufer, and Boback were among the few Republican bright spots in this part of the state.
Tuesday, November 4, 2014
ABC News really does have it right. It's "your voice, your vote." Make it count today.
My election day routine rarely changes. I worked on some preview pieces over the weekend. They're edited and ready to go. Doing the research was most of the fun. We live in a fascinating state. Pennsylvania is full of electoral history and some interesting trends.
Barring breaking news, I'll be at a polling place for Newswatch 16 This Morning. Afterward, I'll likely follow a candidate or two and check out some trends.
It's a visit to my own polling place right after work, followed by lunch and a nap. I'll be up to watch some prime time coverage tonight.
I'll try to get in a few blog updates during the day, and a wrap up tomorrow. I have a few predictions, but they'll stay in my head until tomorrow. I'll let you know if I was right.
>>>8:40 PM UPDATE: ABC News projects Wolf win. Watching ABC's streaming newscast. Exit polling shows a lot of unhappy people in USA.
>>>1:30 PM UPDATE: The noon report was clean, and my work day is complete. I voted on the way home. #122 in my district, which I thought was on the high side. I was surprised. There is no state representative opposition. Apparently, this governor's thing has ignited some interest. It's time to take a break so I can stay up late and watch the election numbers roll in.
>>>10:25 AM UPDATE: Visited three polling places, talked to a lot of people. Mediocre turnout. Putting together something for our noon broadcast right now.
>>>6:25 AM UPDATE: Still rather quiet, about a half hour before polls open. A couple workers just arrived on Green Ridge Street.
>>>4:25 AM UPDATE: Leckey Live! is in Pittston Township this morning, working on a Junior Achievement piece, so we decided to head in a different direction for the election preview. We're live at a polling place on Green Ridge Street in Scranton to look at the PA governor's race. Some say the race lacks suspense. Be that as it may, I find it fascinating.
>>>2:45 AM UPDATE: Tradition. Spicy chicken sandwich on the way to work on election day. Mission accomplished. At the office now, going over scripts and backgrounds. I love breathing in the air of anticipation on an election morning.
Monday, November 3, 2014
A state senate race in Monroe County is generating some noise. There are a few state house races on the radar.
Of course, the big race is at the top of the ticket. Does Republican Tom Corbett get a second term, or does Democrat Tom Wolf break the streak of Pennsylvania voters giving governors second terms?
I've covered races like this before. The big city numbers usually come in first, and the Democrat usually jumps out to a lead. The lead is whittled away, and possible eclipsed when the center and northern tiers numbers come in-- areas where Republicans usually do well.
No matter what happens, it's fascinating to pick apart the numbers, the geography, and the trends.
The polls open at 7 AM tomorrow. I'll see you there.
Sunday, November 2, 2014
Saturday, November 1, 2014
It's Harford's Post Office-- a little blue building in a town where just about every other structure is white.
Apparently, actor Bronson Pinchot controls the building. In an episode of his short lived DIY Newtork series "The Bronson Pinchot Project," he had decorative brackets and period lighting installed on both sides of the front door. As you can see from this recent photo, they're gone.