-

-

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

My Memorial Day

I spent it in Peckville, where there was a parade and observance beginning at 8:30 AM.

The photo above was taken on Keystone Avenue.  It stopped at the SGT Jan Argonish memorial.  He was killed in Afghanistan in 2007.

It's what the day is all about-- remembering those who didn't make it home.  Over the years, the day has morphed into a second Veterans Day.  It bothers some.  Not me.  Any chance to say "thank you" to those who serve is a good one.

Peckville was not alone.  A lot of small towns and large cities here in our area marked Memorial Day.  It's part of what makes our area special, and I was happy to bring part of it into your homes yesterday.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day

First and foremost, please don't forget what the day is all about.  It's important.  There so many people and groups making sure sacrifices are honored and never forgotten.  It is a noble task.

Memorial Day is the kick off of the summer season.  When you're a kid, it means the end of the school year is in sight.  Warm days.  Wiffle ball.  Riding bikes,  Assorted other fun.

Barbecues.  Family.  Friends.

I'll be working today, and that's not a problem.  When you get in the news business, working holidays is part of the package.  It's the life we've chosen.  I'll take a day off next week to compensate.

As I've said here many times in the past, Memorial Day is a tough one.  Every community has a service or ceremony.  There are several parades.  We try to cover as many as we can.  Unfortunately, we can't get to them all.  That often leaves some bruised feelings, and I apologize.  We have a big staff, but there are limits.  A lot of observances happen at the same time.  You have to make choices.  If we don't make it to your town, I'm sorry.  It doesn't mean you're less important to us.

It's also the kick off of the summer driving season.  Sorry for the cliche, but be careful out there.

We hope to see you tomorrow.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Andy's Angles: Grey Morning

I was playing around with the camera in my phone, between live shots, on a recent morning.

This was taken just after sunrise on Courthouse Square in Scranton.  It wasn't the greatest looking morning.

I will admit the place is looking a little better.  The inappropriate for the site wall and monuments are still here, but the trees are growing nicely.  It's softening that horrid "sea of concrete and granite" look we've been stuck with the last several years.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Andy's Angles: Lighting Up

It takes a lot to impress me, and it happened a couple of weeks ago.

A new gym, called Crunch, opened inside the Mall at Steamtown in downtown Scranton.  For years, when the bridge over Lackawanna Avenue was retail space, there was mirrored glass here.  It was to maximize the selling space inside.

Now, the glass is clear (actually slightly frosted) so exercisers could look out onto the avenue and passers-by could look in.

The gym opens at 5 in the morning and stays open until 11 at night, so the bright lights, shining onto the street below, is striking.
It really lights up the street, and it adds life to a dark downtown.  You really have to see it.  I'm sure it will get even better once the new movie theater moves in across the street.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Progress

I had a few moments to kill before a little shopping yesterday.  I arrived at the Mall at Steamtown at 9:45 AM.  The store I wanted to visit wasn't open yet, so I ventured out onto the bridge leading from the mall to the Steamtown National Historic Site.

This was the scene as I turned around and looked back at the mall.  You're looking at the west end, second floor.  This was originally Montgomery Ward, then Bon Ton.  Part of the second floor Bon Ton space will soon be occupied by the Scranton branch of Luzerne County Community College.

Hacking a hole in the outer wall and dumping debris into dumpsters below is easier and faster than dragging it through the mall.

The LCCC effect on downtown Scranton should be interesting.  Colleges bring young people, knowledge, life, activity, spending, etc...

Scranton has become quite the college town.  The University of Scranton is becoming a big force downtown and in the hill.  Lackawanna College is expanding.  Marywood is getting a new president who will try to navigate the listing shop through rocky waters.  You can't forget about Keystone College in the suburbs.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Follow Up Thursday

Monday night, the Wilkes-Barre Area school board voted to trim some programs and cut dozens of jobs.  As noted here and elsewhere, some good stuff is going, and it will hurt.

Students staged a protest outside Coughlin High School Wednesday morning.  It looked peaceful.  Kudos to the kids for not taking this sitting down, although many will be in trouble for an unexcused absence.

Face reality here:  Wilkes-Barre Area is up the crick as we used to say in the old neighborhood.  There isn't any money, and taxpayers are maxed out.  Students learned a valuable lesson.  By the time something like this appears on a meeting agenda, it's usually a done deal.  The auditorium where the meeting was held was packed Monday night.

The time to attack these things is well before it gets on agenda.  Attend the allegedly mundane meetings.  Face the problem when it is at its infancy.  It seems no one cares about these things until it's too late.

My co-worker, Jim Hamill, has been working on a story on Child Line for weeks.  It's a place where child abuse and neglect is reported.  A large and disturbing percentage of calls go unanswered.  It's criminal.  Jim kept me up to date on what he was doing, until the story ran Monday night.  The Auditor General held a news conference Tuesday to document the Child Line understaffing.

I've written about the dysfunctional nature of state government here many times.  The governor's big announcement yesterday?  He's pushing to allow more gas stations and mini marts to sell six packs of beer.

I will steal Linda Ellerbee's famous closing line:  "And so it goes."

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Old School

I watched Monday night's Wilkes-Barre Area school board meeting with a great deal of interest.  The board voted to make $ 4 million in cuts and get rid of 30 staffers.  Programs like library services, family and consumer science, technology and art are gone.

Okay, let's look more closely at this.

First of all, taxpayers are maxed out.  There are a lot of people living paycheck to paycheck, and that's in a good month.  Wilkes-Barre and surrounding townships are not rich.  School boards have to hold the line and live within their means.

On the other hand, it looks like some important things are being cut.  I'm not a parent, but I am around schools a lot because of work.  Wilkes-Barre Area cut library services.  Students need to learn how to use a library, look up information, learn the value of books, etc.  Family and consumer science also eliminated.  One of the most valuable courses I had in high school was an elective entitled "consumer economics."  Technology education got chopped as well.  Really?  You can't live and function without technology.  Art?  Gone.  I do know what the Wilkes-Barre Area art program entails, but I came from an arts poor high school, and I had to play a lot of catch up when I entered a liberal arts college.  A friend in the education field says Wilkes-Barre area cut programs that encourage imagination and creative thinking, and it's a mistake.

Teachers and their unions have resisted larger class sizes, and I get that.  Smaller classes work better, but if it's a matter of a larger class or none at all, the choice is clear.

Sports seems to have escaped unscathed.  I do realize sports provides the ticket to a free education for a lot of kids.  Sports is more than a game.  It's band and cheerleaders, community bonding, etc.

This is an analysis piece, not an opinion piece.  I do see both sides of this, and a appreciate the pickle the board and taxpayers are in.  It seems like there could be a negotiated mid ground-- keeping programs but scaling back and keeping an eye on the finances.

I just wonder if an entire new industry will pop up-- private entities providing the education and programs public schools have dropped.  

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Scent of Summer

I admit this isn't the greatest photo.  It was taken through the window of a Rite Aid in downtown Scranton just before opening time.

The store was recently remodeled.  Through the window, it looked rather nice.  Very contemporary.  Like most stores, the really expensive stuff, like razor blades, has anti theft safeguards.

It was the aisle marker under the "seasonal" circular banner that caught my eye.  Look carefully.  Since when is deodorant a seasonal item?  I know we sweat, or perspire if you prefer, more when it's hot, but is it really a seasonal item?

I don't know about you, but I enjoy a little protection year-round.

May you have a happy and sweet smelling summer.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Unfinished Monday


Regular readers know I keep a close eye on the radio industry.  Something in a broadcasting newsletter caught my eye.  There is a cluster of six stations in Binghamton, NY that has just ten full time employees, and only one is "on air."

I often repeat something a former news director taught me a long time ago.  The stations that survive and prosper are the ones that do the best job of reflecting their community.  How much of that can you do when you have ten people running six stations, and only one local air personality?

I know there are economic realities, but I'm disappointed the industry, for the most part, has given up on live and local.

I finally got around to watching the Morley Safer retirement show on "60 Minutes."  I was blown away.  Safer had the career everyone in this business wants to have.  It was the perfect mix of skills, and a place where they could best be put to use-- a TV news magazine.  And, you can't forget his reporting from Vietnam.

We in TV get so caught up in the pictures.  Yes, it's important.  But elegant writing brings the whole story together.  Elegant doesn't mean wordy and flowery.  Elegant can be simple, clean and basic-- but with a little flair.  Morley Safer had the gift, and he will be missed.

CBS This Morning pulled out some old clips of Charlie Rose, on PBS, interviewing Safer.  Morley said he has no regrets, and he loved what he did.  It was refreshing, to say the least.  I'm so tired of people in the business externally complaining about the hours and the work.  Yeah, there are some grumbles from time to time.  It's natural.  The bottom line is this can be a cool way to make a living.

It's no secret that I write many of these blog entries in advance, and I was just finishing this one when the news broke across Twitter early Thursday afternoon that Morley Safer had died.  84.  Pneumonia.  There were few pictures of the guy without a cigarette in his hand.  Please, don't smoke.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Andy's Angles: Empty

Is there anything more sad than an empty mall?

We've done dozens of stories on the troubled Mall at Steamtown.  This is the view of the west end.  I'm standing on the second floor.  Boscov's is at my back.

This photo was taken before the mall opened for the day, but as you can see there are a lot of empty storefronts here.   The far end, on the second floor, will soon be occupied by a branch of Luzerne County Community College.  It seems that here, and other malls, non-traditional tenants are the way to go.

I'm not sure if the mall gave up on retail, or retail gave up on the mall.  I suspect it's a combination of both, and Steamtown, soon to get a new name, is not alone.

Anytime I'm inside, I think back to the early 90's when this mall was hot, and the place to be.  How quickly the bottom fell out of that concept.  I know it's only a shopping mall, but the place held such promise.

If you're looking for interesting reading, there's a great web site called Dead Malls.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Andy's Angles: The Yard

There has always been an effort to tie the Mall at Steamtown in to the Steamtown National Historic Site.

There's a bridge off the mall's food court that takes you to Steamtown.  It's a nice idea.

Unfortunately, this is the view.  It's a bunch of rusting, rotting junk, and it's nothing to entice visitors to leave the mall and take a walk over there.

It seems like both the mall and Steamtown would benefit from making this side of the national historic site more inviting, attractive, and enticing.

I do realize there is limited space and limited financial resources, on both ends.  However, I can't stop thinking of the phrase "best foot forward."

Friday, May 20, 2016

Fair Enough

Lackawanna County has formed a committee to study the feasibility of establishing a county fair.

One of the commissioners says best case scenario is 2018.  It sounds like we already know what the outcome of the study will be.

On the surface, it doesn't appear to be a bad idea, especially if it doesn't cost taxpayers anything.

I do feel sorry for the churches and fire departments, and their picnics and carnivals,  who will have to work around the competition from the big and new kid on the block.  You know it won't be the other way around.  The county is the big dog.  It won't pick a week when fire companies and churches aren't doing anything, if such a summer/fall week exists.

It's just another way to slice the entertainment dollar pie.  I still marvel at the crowds the Viewmont Mall area restaurant row area draws.  It's nice to support your hometown church and volunteer fire department.  Add a county fair to the mix.  How much disposable income is there to go around?

It's more than scheduling.  What about the location?  A fair needs parking and admission revenue.  Find a big space where you can control access.  Lackawanna County Stadium?  Montage?

It doesn't hurt to study the issue.  A county fair does seem like a neat idea, but there is a potential down side, and we have to ask ourselves do we really need it, and is this the most effective use of our government.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Thursday Scrapple

I've been watching quite a few Major League Baseball games recently, along with highlights of minor league games.  Wow!  All I'm seeing are empty seats.  Yes, I realize attendance usually lags until summer is here and the kids are out of school.

It's a sad financial fact.  I like paying less for gasoline, but low oil prices mean stocks dip.  Oil goes up and my stocks go up.  Can't win.

I'm not looking forward to intense summer heat.  But then again, this recent cold, rainy snap has been a bit much.

Once again, I came close to pulling the plug on LinkedIn.  It's become a site for silly inspirational claptrap and Facebook type silliness.

The network fall offerings haven't triggered intrigue on my part.

Google has discontinued the Picasa photo program.  A souped up Google Photos is in its place.  Unfortunately, it's not as good.  I've been searching about for something similar to take its place.

My internet radio and Amazon Echo have become indispensable companions.  There is some really good radio out there, especially major market all news stations.

I tried one of those automated key making machines in a big box discount store.  Much to my amazement, it worked, and the key I duplicated was for an old lock.

Wendy's is looking to cut labor costs by installing touch screen ordering machines.  I hate to see people lose their jobs, but if it gets me in and out faster...

I never thought I'd use Amazon as much as I do.

Where does Taylor Swift put all her awards?

RIP, Morley Safer-- an industry giant.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Dog Days

It is one of the simple joys of life and one of the great joys of life-- walking the dog.

My Monday morning Newswatch 16 assignment was a cold weather story.  Temperatures were running twenty degrees below normal.  The overnight low nearly tied the record.  It was barely above freezing.

One of my favorite places to do cold weather stories is Nay Aug Park in Scranton.  There are always walkers, joggers, and people exercising  their dogs.  Well, I've seen better days at Nay Aug.  Other than people going to work at the hospital and some construction workers, the park was void of recreational users.  One guy blew us off, and not in a pleasant manner.

And then, there was Billy and Jim.  Jim's the dog.  They looked like they were having the best time-- romping through the grass, chasing a big old stick.  Jim was the stick chaser, to clarify.  Billy explained Jim loves the chill-- and the park.

It reminded me of my elderly beagle.  She never liked the heat.  We don't walk as far as we once did.  Old age.  But, if there is a cold morning, she's a puppy again.  A cold morning isn't the greatest for the one holding the leash, but if the beagle's happy, I'm happy, and having a happy beagle is all that counts.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Why Not?

The National Football League has some problems.  The Chargers and the Raiders play in dumps.  Both have options to move to Los Angles, with the Chargers going first.

The Raiders are toying with the idea of moving to Las Vegas.  Major sports leagues have resisted putting teams in Sin City.  They worry about the gambling influence, players placing bets, etc.

I have news for you.  It's not that hard to bet on sports.  Ask Pete Rose.  You don't have to be in Las Vegas.

Published reports last week indicated the NFL is warming up to the idea of the Las Vegas Raiders.

Why not?  If the state and the city can come up with the money for a new stadium, pull up the moving vans.  I feel sorry for Oakland fans.  They supported the team.  Government did not.  I get that.  If it's a choice between cops on the street or a new stadium, cops win.  Government (and taxpayer) resources are finite.

It makes a lot of sense.  Vegas has tourists, people interested in entertainment, something else to do.

Officials believe a hotel tax plus private investment will provide the money.

And while you're at it, build a stadium in Las Vegas for baseball's Athletics.

Legal sports gambling is limited so far, but it will spread.  Cash strapped governments are looking for additional sources of revenue.

It's time sports leagues simply learned to deal with it.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Help Wanted

We have some openings on the WNEP staff, and we're always banking resumes for future openings.  It's a fluid business, to say the least.  We have a solid core of veterans, but there are always those who, for a variety of reasons, seek new challenges.  That's okay.  That's the way the television business works.

It seems like there's a new applicant coming in every day for an interview and a tour.  A lot of people want to work with us.  The station has a very good reputation, and that's flattering.

I do enjoy watching the applicants come in.  A lot of them are young and aiming high, taking a shot at a job they might not be ready for.  I admire the pluck.  You miss 100 per cent of the shots you never take.  I'm not privy to what happens behind closed doors, but I have seen cases, elsewhere, where a manager is impressed by a job seeker and gives them the gig, hoping they will grow in to it.  I've seen it work.  I've seen it fail.

It has been said the victory is in the journey, not the destination.  I've learned something from every interview I've ever been on, even if I didn't get the job.

High schools and colleges are pumping out graduates this month and next.  A lot of young people are entering the work force, and there are even people with experience who find themselves looking for something.  Best of luck.  Keep trying.  Good things will happen.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Andy's Angles: Northern Invasion?

This has been seen cruising the streets of Scranton in recent days.

Elmira?

What's up with that?

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Duck Watch

I spent a recent rainy morning in Tamaqua.  Four ducks were hanging out in the police station parking lot.

I'm guessing they are Tamaqua residents and used to being around people.  They fearlessly walked right up to me.  Unfortunately, I had nothing to feed them.  I did enjoy their antics.  Friendlier ducks, I've never seen.

Friday, May 13, 2016

I'm Late!

I took my first bicycle ride of the season early yesterday morning.  It's the start of my fifth season on two wheels, and I'm behind schedule.

Let me get you up to speed.  I sleep all day and work all night, and I try to keep the same schedule on my days off.  Believe it or not, it's easier than bouncing around.  As a result, much of my bicycle riding is by moonlight.

I do take precautions.  My bike has a light.  I wear a reflective yellow vest, like the ones highway workers use.  I do like riding in the dark.  The streets are almost empty.  It's quiet.  It's great think time, and "me" time.

The only fly in the ointment is the weather.  I have a 50 degree cut off.  If it's cooler than 50, the bike stays locked.

We had a warm spell back in April, but I came down with the nastiest of colds and it lingered for two weeks.  By the time I got better, a two week rainy spell arrived, and that brings us to where we are today.  I diligently watched the seven day forecast boards.  My eyes lit up when I saw a relatively warm night, and I knew bike season had arrived.

A quick review...  last year, I started riding in mid April.  My last ride of 2015 came the week before Christmas.  We had a bizarre and warm winter.  That last ride was one of the best ever.  It was such a strange experience to be pedaling through little towns and looking at Christmas lights.  My bike is usually in storage around Halloween.  I hope I am as lucky this year.

My first few rides of the new season are traditionally shake down cruises.  I don't go as far, and I avoid some of the major hills.  This year, I went for it and picked up where I left off in December.  No problem.  In fact, it was rather easy.

I shouldn't underestimate myself.  While I will never be confused with Charles Atlas, Lance Armstrong, or even Joe Snedeker, I do go to the gym three times a week, and spend more than two hours there each time.  The legs are in great shape.

Not much has changed.  Most of our roads are still shot to hell.  A lot of streets need better lighting.  There is a frightening number of small town empty storefronts.

As luck would have it, the weather is turning chilly again, especially during my moonlight bike riding window.  It looks like it should warm up toward the tail end of next week.

If you're out there, give bicyclists a little courtesy.  We'll do the same.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Thursday Scrapple

The federal government has blocked a Staples/Office Depot merger because it feared higher prices for office supplies.  Now, both chains are closing stores and laying off workers.  Stock prices are down.  It looks like a lose-lose situation.

I know a lot of people are already sick of the presidential race, but I still find it fascinating.  Trump racks up votes while having high negatives.  Clinton can't deliver the death blow to a 74 year old socialist.

Wrong way driving seems to be the topic of the week.  I'm asked about it everywhere I go.  Why so many lately?  It seems that if you solve the drunk driving problem, you solve the wrong way driving problem.  Good luck with that.

I've grown weary of the Kelly & Michael saga.

The Arizona Diamnodbacks are sporting dark grey road uniforms, and I like them a lot.

It appears Penn State hasn't learned anything from the last round of sexual abuse allegations.  Well, it was actually more than allegations.  It was proven.  Jay Mohr on FOX Sports Radio got it right.  He said Penn State needs to "write the checks and walk away from the fire."

The search for a new Luzerne County manager was a drawn out and painful affair.  I wonder how many are having second thoughts about changing the form of county government.  I'm sure the county council thing will be tweaked in the years to come, but I can't see a return to the past.

I never thought I'd say it, but I enjoyed looking art Snedeker's ant farm.

The Mall at Steamtown is turning in to more of a multi use building than a shopping center, but any activity is good activity.

Morley Safer is retiring from 60 Minutes and CBS News.  Safer was the guy who replaced one of the originals, Harry Reasoner, when he left for ABC.  Saying Safer's career was "amazing" would be an understatement.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Crunch

It's always a kick to see new businesses enter the area, especially one that should breathe a little life into the comatose Mall at Steamtown in downtown Scranton.

A gym chain, called "Crunch" opened an outlet yesterday.  I have to say I'm impressed, and I've been a member of another gym for nearly four years.  This one has all the toys.

Drawbacks?  A few.  I usually work out in the middle of the night, and this one is not a 24 hour operation.  It's also in a mall, and that could be a little inconvenient because of parking and schlepping about in workout clothes.

Still, I hope it works.  We need another successful business.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Wrong Way

What a bizarre weekend it was.  I had two Interstate 81 wrong way crashes on my shift.

The first was Saturday morning near Wilkes-Barre.  A guy got on the wrong way, at Blackman Street.  His car hit a tractor trailer.  The wrong way driver was hurt.  The tractor trailer driver is okay.  State Police say the wrong way driver will be charged with driving under the influence.

The Saturday night wrong way crash was much more severe.  State Police believe a pick up truck driver got on Interstate 81 around Harford in Susquehanna County and traveled a few miles before he hit a mini van.  The pick up driver died.  Two in the mini van died.  Six others were hurt.

We've had a rash of wrong way incidents in recent months, and some were deadly.

So, what do we do?  Better signs and lighting are a start.  State Police are finally working with local police to close entrance ramps when a wrong way incident is reported.  A Newswatch 16 investigation in Rhode Island shows high tech help is out there.  There are also some common sense solutions, including better signs and more lighting.

If you look at the incidents, most of the people responsible for going the wrong way are locals.  It happens in the middle of the night.

I can understand visitors getting confused by interchange designs, and there are some really bad ones out there.  I don't travel as much as I once did, but I remember being confused at unfamiliar interchanges.  Still, you have to work pretty hard to get on an interstate highway in the wrong direction.

With the cases around here, a lack of familiarity doesn't appear to be a factor.  I suspect the wrong way crashes are an alcohol problem more than a design issue.

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Act

Donald Trump has been getting a lot of heat for the past year, for not "acting presidential."  I'm not going to pass judgement here.  That's not my job.  That's up to you.

I will offer a historical review.

Was it presidential for JFK to have a fondness for women other than his wife?

Was it presidential for Lyndon Johnson to lift his beagle by the ears?

Was it presidential for Richard Nixon to say "sock it to me" on Laugh In?

Was it presidential for Jimmy Carter to parade around the Oval Office in jeans?

Was it presidential for Ronald Reagan to eat all those jelly beans?

Was it presidential for Bill Clinton to play the saxophone on Arsenio Hall's TV show?  I won't get into Clinton's other Oval Office antics.

Was it presidential for Barack Obama to sneak a smoke on the White House grounds?

I'm sure there are countless other examples, going back to George Washington.

At one time, it would have been unthinkable for a president to go on a late night talk show.  Now, it happens all the time.  I know candidates went on with Jack Paar, Dick Cavett, and Johnny Carson-- but the shows weren't as silly back in the day.

Handlers want to humanize their candidates, show they're regular men and women.

It's impossible to draw the line because the line keeps moving.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Andy's Angles: Big Cats

Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus is phasing out its elephants.

There are a lot of people who hope the big cats are next.

Beautiful, majestic creatures.  Is hauling them around the country in a trailer best for them?

Again, the circus people say the animals are well cared for.  I pray they are correct.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Andy's Angles: The Arena

I have to admit I was wrong about the arena in Wilkes-Barre Township.

Arenas are notorious money losers.  This one got off to a good start, and it appears to have kept up the momentum.  It's always busy here-- and with some big name acts.

The main tenant, the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins still draw, and I didn't think hockey would take off around here.

There is no doubt it has been an economic boost, but I think a lot of that comes from the construction of an adjacent Interstate 81 exit.

Challenges lie ahead.  The arena opened in 1999.  It has to renovate and modernize to stay competitive.

Friday, May 6, 2016

This Week

Regular viewers of Newswatch 16 Saturday Night at 7 know I've become the voice of "This Week."  It's written by one of our talented hybrids, Dave Scarnato.  He's a photographer, a writer, and even a producer when we need the help.  He writes the script late Friday night.  I record it early Saturday morning, before my own broadcast.  An editor puts it together in the afternoon.  Choosing me as "the voice" was not an extensive process.  I just happened to be in the right place at the right time, and there are occasions when others do the honors.

Anyway, what a week it's been!

Non stop rain.  Clinton can't put away Sanders.  Trump did put away Kasich and Cruz.  A police chief admitted drugs are out of control in his area.  There's a fierce debate over turning an old department store into a county government office building.  Aeropostale bankrupt.  Animal abuse.  Rising speed limits.  A bigger Big Mac.  The secret life of Prince apparently involved a lot of drugs.  Paterno.  Sandusky.  Penn State.  Sex abuse.

Never a dull moment.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Honest, but Sad

My Monday Newswatch 16 assignment took me to Tamaqua in Schuylkill County.  About 30 people were being rounded up on drug charges.  I've done stories like this many, many times over the years, but this one really cried out for more attention.

First, when you whack 30 people on drug charges, in a small town, on the same morning, that's news.

Second, it was something the police chief said.  His honesty was refreshing.  It also illustrated a really sad state of affairs in Tamaqua, Schuylkill County, and eastern Pennsylvania.  The chief actually said we're losing the war on drugs.  I'm sure most in law enforcement feel the same way.  The chief had the onions to admit it.

Meth and heroin seem to be the new drugs of choice.  They're cheap and available.

The chief also said Tamaqua had a dozen overdoses in a month, and one was fatal.

And, it was a seemingly endless parade of suspects-- out of the police cars, into the police station for processing, out of the police station to an adjacent magistrate's office, back to the police station to await a trip to jail.

Another bit of honesty from the chief-- the drug trade will slow down for about a week.  It will pick up again, the drug bust just a tiny blip on the drug radar.

The chief vows to keep making arrests, as it should be.  Sisyphus came to mind.

Drug cases are a tough call.  It's an illness and a crime at the same time.  There are no easy answers-- treat the abusers, reduce the demand, try to cut off the supply.

Just keep pushing that rock up the hill.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Uniformly Speaking

I'm not a sports uniform geek, and I'm not as big a sports fan as I once was...

But, I like it when the Milwaukee brewers wear their 70's uniforms with what was called the dog paw logo.  It's actually an M and B positioned to form a baseball glove.  The current uniforms are sharp.  however, a little nostalgia never hurts.

The same goes for the San Diego Padres.  the team switched to a blue and yellow color scheme several years ago.  Once in a while, they pull out the old brown and gold, and I really like it.  It's refreshing.  Outside of Some Mariners teal, and Oakland green, most of baseball is red, white and blue.

A something different is never a bad thing.

Some teams have gone back to pale blue for road uniforms, like the Phillies once had.  I like that, too.  It's a break from the sea of grey.

I also miss the Pirates 1876 cap, the one that celebrated the league's centennial.  A lot of teams wore them.  the Pirates were the last to go traditional again.

Some things should never change-- like the brilliant white of the Dodgers and Orioles home uniforms.

And, one last thing.  It deals with football.  I really wish the Steelers would dump the rounded uniform numbers and go back to the blocky, square style.  The team looked much more menacing.


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Media Notes

ABC is looking at a summertime Sunday night game show block, including Match Game, Family Feud, and the $ 100,000 Pyramid.  To Tell the Truth might get thrown in there.  Great idea!  Game shows are cheap to produce, and if they take off, it could spawn more prime time games, and a jump in to syndication.

Was Kelly Ripa treated badly?   Absolutely!  Should she have made a public and federal case about it?  Absolutely not!  It does show a lot about respect in the workplace, and I hope managers far and wide got the message.

ESPN canned Curt Schilling for some strange and offensive comments.  You have to understand that free speech has its limits.  If you represent a company or a brand, you have to limit what you say.

NBC appears to have hired Mike Tirico.  Don't ask me why.  He has,  what we call in the business, a "thin voice."  Sean McDonough looks to have the Monday Night Football inside track.  I'm okay with that.  I'm better than okay with that.

I rarely find the White House Correspondents' Association dinner interesting or entertaining.

Former network news anchor Campbell Brown blames the media for the rise of Donald Trump.  I always say that the media reflects society.  It doesn't influence it.  People are angry.  Along comes Trump.  The man knows how to get noticed.  Unfortunately, Ms Brown never found that formula.

Listening to a rock solid all news radio station is one of the joys of life.

I was watching Sam Donaldson on an old Johnny Carson show the other night.  I marvel at the stable Roone Arledge assembled in the late 70's and 80's, and many of them were holdovers from the previous regime.  Arledge knew how to put the right person in the right place.

It's inside baseball, but I still get a rush from looking at big satellite TV trucks.  new technology means the same gear can be put in a smaller vehicle.  Some of those big trucks are still on the road, and I hope it stays that way.

I recently caught Tim McCarver on an MLB Network broadcast.  I really miss him.

For the second consecutive year, Craig Ferguson has captured the daytime Emmy for best game show host.  Celebrity Name Game is an average show, but Ferguson makes it entertaining.  I wish he hung around at the Late Late Show.

Monday, May 2, 2016

About the Cover

I have mixed feelings about this month's blog header.

I love animals.

I don't love watching them crammed into trailers and dragged from city to city.

The circus people claim they are well cared for, and I hope there are independent inspections on a regular basis.

Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey ended its elephant acts yesterday.  It's a good thing.  We've moved beyond tiny, inadequate zoos, and now we've moved beyond elephants in the world's largest circus.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Andy's Angles: Trump

One of the reasons I love my job is the constant opportunity to see and do things that are off limits to the general public.

Monday, I was covering the set up of that night's Donald Trump rally at the arena in Wilkes-Barre Township.  I walked out onto the floor of the empty arena.  The podium is in the lower middle, just off to the left.  The media corral is off to the right.  A Trump video was looping on the scoreboard screen above.

I looked up at row after row of empty blue seats.  Remember, Luzerne County is a Democratic strong hold.  The arena was charging $ 10 for parking.  I thought to myself that Trump would never fill this place.  I was very wrong.  he could have filled it-- twice.

TV technicians were dropping cable everywhere.  Speakers and lights were tested.  Political operatives were making sure everything was perfect.  It really was something to see, and I'm thrilled I was there for a look.

This photo is already penciled in as one of this year's Top Ten.