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Monday, November 19, 2018

November Storm

I was recently telling someone that I really enjoy sitting at the computer, watching the snow fall, and taking it easy-- especially if I have no reason to leave the warmth of my home.  Believe me, I just learned it's not all it's cracked up to me.

I will start by saying that my little storm experience pales in comparison to those who had to be out in, and travel in, Thursday's storm.

Thursday is one of my days off.  I was set on the basic food groups, so this storm wasn't going to bother me.  Hey, it was supposed to be only a few inches.  That's a dusting in our area.  We can handle this.  Easy.

Apologies to my meteorological friends, but you missed this one.  A dusting turned in to a foot pretty fast. I know.  It happens.  Meteorology is an inexact science.  The storm packed a lot of moisture.  It stayed cold longer than anticipated.  The word "outperformed" was mentioned over and over again, on TV, on the internet.

The bad news started to roll in during the late afternoon.  My sister was stuck on interstate 81.  A close, close, close friend was stranded, first on Routes 6 and 11 in the Clarks Summit area, then Keyser Avenue in Scranton.  Newswatch 16 crews were among those on the highway, going nowhere fast.  Texting.  Phone calls.  A major feeling of helplessness.  There wasn't going to be a rescue mission.  The road crews in my little town do a great job, but this was a tough one.  My street was covered, and I live on a hill.  My friend hung out in McDonald's.  My sister was trapped.

Penndot can open all of its command centers and activate its apps.  Consensus is this storm was a major fail.  The state was slow getting big rigs off the road, and the ban only applied to a limited area.  Sleet on top of snow is a plow driver's nightmare.  The storm was heavy and steady.  It was tough to keep ahead of this one.  Having said that, it's 2018.  There is no reason conditions should worsen to the level of shutting major interstates.  The threshold for vehicle bans needs to be lowered.  Penndot is not a nimble organization, and it is very slow to respond to changing conditions.  It is good at making excuses.  This doesn't happen in other places.

As it turns out, my friend and my sister arrived at their respective homes at roughly the same time.

Did we learn anything from this?  Probably not.  This has happened before.  The traffic nightmares continue.  We deserve better.




Sunday, November 18, 2018

Andy's Angles: CityScape

There is something about a downtown at dawn.  Quiet.  Twinkly lights.  This is a Monday morning shot of Public Square in Wilkes-Barre.  The lights on the trees that ring the square were on.  The rest of the Christmas decorations had yet to be installed.
As you can see, not a creature was stirring.  WNEP photographer Jason Wolf and I were talking about this the other day.  People who sleep in are missing a great time of day.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Andy's Angles: Christmas Tree

I worked out of WNEP's Wyoming Valley Newsroom on Public Square in Wilkes-Barre early Monday morning, and it is among my favorite things to do here.  It's a nice change of scenery.  The newsroom is well thought out and set up nicely, and downtown Wilkes-Barre has certain charm when it is very quiet at daybreak.

This is Wilkes-Barre's Christmas tree in the center of the square.  It will be lit after a short parade today.  As you can see, it wasn't decorated when I stopped over to take a look just after dawn Monday.  Many cities would envy having such a nice public space in the middle of their downtowns.  Wilkes-Barre is lucky.

As always, there will be several Christmas themed photos here in the weeks to come.  I like looking at decorations.  I don't like putting them up.  I've never been good at that stuff.

Among my favorite childhood Christmas memories would be walking around my little town with my friends, looking at all the decorated houses.  They didn't have to elaborate.  They didn't have to be perfect.  It was just fun.

Friday, November 16, 2018

14

The blog is 14 years old today, and I've told the story of the blog's genesis several times.  Let's try something a little different this time around-- a quick overview of my social media footprint.

The blog came first, and it still does.

I've been in and out of Twitter for a while.  @AndyPalumbo_  I now have the little blue check mark, so that means I'm a real, actual person.  At least, according to the people who run Twitter.

AndyPalumbo.com has been around for a while now.  I'll have to get in touch with my web guy for an update after the new year.  It's time for a tweak.

I've had a LinkedIn account for years.  I still can't figure out it's purpose.

I was on SnapChat and Instagram for a while.  I enjoyed seeing other people's photos, and I apparently know some skilled photographers who lead great lives.  However, I never had much to offer.  I wasn't getting a lot of enjoyment out of those sites, so they are gone.  It was too many mouths to feed.  I might be back.  Someday.

There are two Facebook accounts.  One is the "professional" page, constructed at the urging of WNEP management a little more than two years ago, and I get that.  I built a personal page a couple of months ago.  That one is for people I actually know.  Friends in the real world, not just on the internet.  I had to do it.  It's the way people communicate these days.  I will grudgingly admit that the personal page has helped me reconnect with some very special people, one in particular.

What's next?  Who knows?  The internet and social media is a brave new world.  I'm sure someone will invent something bigger and better, and become an overnight billionaire.  I have never given any serious thought to ending the blog.  It still gets a healthy number of hits every day.  Thank you, dear readers.  It really means a lot to me.  I'm still having fun doing it.  It's a wonderful creative outlet.

There is an exciting addition coming to WNEP.com.  I don't have a date for it, but I think you will like it.  I'm still not sure if I will be involved in the project.  It does intrigue me, and interest me-- a lot.

Tomorrow, the start of year 15.  Thank you, again.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

About the Cover

Sorry this monthly item is late in arriving.  Other things got in the way.

This is a shot of the relatively new miners memorial in Blakely.

Mining is a significant part of our past.  Miners deserve the recognition.  They helped build the area.  It was horribly hard and dangerous work, and the miners were taken advantage of my managers.
The mine is flanked by the names of the workers, and it's a very nice touch.

Before I close, take note of the gravel to the rear of the monument.  It's coal!  A great touch.  They did this one right.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Big Dance

I've been sitting on this one for a while...

He wasn't the first to say it, but I associate the phrase with my first boss in broadcasting, the legendary Ron Allen at WARM.  Ron was fond of saying "You gotta dance with who brung ya."  It's about loyalty.  Loyalty to another person.  Loyalty to a concept.  Loyalty to skills and abilities.

That brings us to NBC's Megyn Kelly.  She recently lost her 9 AM slot after some bizarre comments.  I won't debate the pros and cons here, but I will write about Kelly's choices.

Regardless of what you think of her ideology, Kelly was an outstanding talent on the FOX News Channel.  She lit up the screen.  Her interviews were sharp, likely because she is a lawyer and knows how to cross examine.  Kelly was a solid news anchor and really good at that news and interview show she had.

There were some bumps in the road at FNC.  That led to a job at NBC for a huge amount of money.  Kelly ditched the news and politics for one of those warm and feely Oprah-esque talk shows.  NBC lost ratings in the 9 AM hour.  It wasn't a very good use to Kelly's talents.  She didn't dance with who brung her.  The New York Post, before the blow up, reported Kelly was interested in going back to politics and government reporting and NBC was okay with moving her back.

Her comments just before Halloween derailed that train, and in a hurry.

I give Kelly all the credit in the world for expanding her horizons and trying something different.  I would assume it's easy to do when someone is dangling $20 million a year in front of you.  On the other hand, well, you gotta dance with who brung you.

Me?  I filled in as a talk show host when I was in radio.  Admittedly, it wasn't the greatest, but I was making progress before I moved over in to television.

When I started working in TV, I worked several parades and other events.  I was sideline reporter for high school football games for the better part of four years.  I dabbled in different, but I always danced with who brung me, never straying far from "news."

Moral of the story?  That is up to every individual, but it is safe to say it's never a bad idea to wander out of your comfort zone from time to time, but you have to remember what got you noticed in the first place.

Megyn Kelly is radioactive right now.  No one will touch her for a while.  However, there is always a place for a skilled broadcaster.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Toy Story

When you are in a place every day, for a long time, you stop noticing some things.

I was giving a friend a WNEP tour a couple of weeks ago.  She was fascinated with all our technical toys, but she was also impressed with all our other toys.

Management has been great in allowing us to freely decorate our work spaces.  Many of us have little toys and trinkets at our desks and in our cubicles.  We have stressful jobs (who doesn't?) and something that makes us laugh or smile helps get you through the day. Your desk needs to be a little comfort zone, a nice place, a safe place, a fun place.

Me?  I do have some photos and a couple of cartoons, and a Fidget Spinner in my desk.  I'm sorry, but I don't have much of a "Toy Story."

Monday, November 12, 2018

Veterans Day

Yesterday was the 11th day of the 11th month, but because it was a Sunday, today is the day recognized as Veterans Day.

It's a tough day in the news business.  Every community has some sort of observance, and that's great.  We get to as many as we can.  Unfortunately, we can't visit them all.

I will resist the temptation to get preachy, so I will say what I always do on occasions like this.  Please, remember what the day is all about.

We'll talk tomorrow.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Andy's Angles: The River

Today, it's another shot of the Lackawanna River in Blakely.  It was running high during my recent visit, and it was just so pretty.

The river is far from perfect, especially downstream, with the acid mine drainage, but it's always a kick to come out here and see how much it's improved.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Andy's Angles: Baker Street

Some leaf peeping photos have been in the queue for a while.  I finally had the chance to do a little wandering late last month, so let's share them on a cold, damp, November weekend.

This is the shot of the Lackawanna River, from the Blakely Borough recreation area.  Trees.  Water.  Sunshine.  Can't go wrong.  The shot is downstream.  Olyphant is on the left.

Let me explain the "Baker Street" title reference.  It's one of my favorite songs, and each time I listen to it, I hear something different, something I hadn't noticed before.

I've taken dozens of photos at this park, and every time I'm here, every time I look through that viewfinder, every time I load photos in to my computer, I see something different.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Another Surrender

And this one has nothing to do with me.

Below is an excerpt from a story in the "Nashville Scene."  The story has been reported in several other on-line sites across the country.

Editors at the Gannett chain’s papers around the country were informed two weeks ago that deadlines for the print edition could not be extended in order to cover elections. As a result, Wednesday’s editions of The Tennessean, Commercial Appeal and Knoxville News-Sentinel will not have final results for some of the most closely contested statewide races in years.
Gannett had already moved The Tennessean’s deadlines up to 7 p.m. earlier this year, and as a result, the print edition did not have coverage in August of the state’s first execution in a decade. Now, editorial staffs have been told to close their editions within 45 minutes of polls closing, long before any definitive results can be tabulated.
“It is not entirely accurate that we are foregoing election coverage in print — it will be much more limited than in the past — but I understand the point of your questioning,” says Tennessean vice president and editor Michael Anastasi. “We do not believe print is a vehicle for breaking news. Our focus there is on context, analysis and enterprise reporting, as well as, more broadly, watchdog and investigative reporting. 

Gannett is a huge chain, and it owns some big newspapers in major cities.  All papers went to bed at their usual time.  If you want election results, go to a web site or watch television.

I know I am part of a shrinking minority, but I still get a kick out of hearing that newspaper thump on the front porch every morning, even though my newspaper has a lousy delivery system.  I miss the afternoon paper, too.

Pushing back a deadline is something papers did to get the latest numbers.  I can understand focusing on context, but a major chain of American newspapers just did something to make themselves even more dispensable.   What's that hammering I hear?  It's another nail in the coffin.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Atty. Cohen

Attorney Jerry Cohen died Monday at the age of 84.  He was first assistant district attorney under DA Correale Stevens in the late 80's.  Cohen became district attorney after Stevens became a judge.

I used to call Cohen the "best paid fireman in the county."  Back then, there were a bunch of kids in the district attorney's office.  Smart, eager, ambitious-- but inexperienced.  On mornings when there were several trials, pleas, hearings, motions, and other activities, Cohen would be running from courtroom to courtroom, putting out whatever little fires the newbies started.

We had a chat in the courthouse rotunda one day, where Jerry admitted he really enjoyed the job.  His quote was "I always wanted to be district attorney.  I never wanted to run for it."  I get that.  The job is great.  The political minefield you have to maneuver to get there is not.

Cohen was not a publicity hound.  He never ducked me, and would always answer any question I had.  He didn't like going on the radio with me, but he'd do it.

Here is what set Jerry Cohen apart in my book.  During most of my time covering him, I was on the radio.  I was going up against three more experienced and much better known television guys, and two newspaper reporters who were legends in the courthouse.  I was the little unknown.  Remember that Howard Stern once called radio "the bottom rung on the show business ladder."  In spite of that, Jerry Cohen treated me as an equal.  I got the same things the others had-- the same stories, the same information.  More importantly, I received the same respect.  It was mutual.

My sympathy to Atty. Jerry Cohen's family and friends.  People of Luzerne county were fortunate to have him on their side.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Numbers

There will be a common theme today, and here it is:  "I'm not surprised at the outcome, but I am surprised at the margin."

It is late Tuesday night as I write this, so there might be some need for modification as we get in to Wednesday.

Let's start at the top.

Tom Wolf cruises to a win over Scott Wagner in the race for Pennsylvania governor.  This was a major Republican misfire.  Wagner was a difficult candidate-- from grabbing cameras to the "stomp" video.  Plus, Wagner made his money in the trash business, and there are times that can be an unpopular way to amass a fortune.  I never sensed any major love affair between Pennsylvanians and Tom Wolf.  Republicans needed better choices in the primary.

It was an easy win for Democratic Senator Bob Casey over Representative Lou Barletta.  The Barletta campaign never gained traction, and the Casey name still holds a lot of weight here in Pennsylvania.  Republican Barletta barely captured 40 per cent of the vote.  I thought it would be a comfortable night for Casey, but the margin wouldn't be quite as big.

I will admit to a "metro area" bias here, because that's where I live and spend most of my working hours...

Democrat Matt Cartwright cruised to a win over Republican John Chrin.  Once again, I expected a better showing out of Chrin.  Cartwright ran a smart campaign, successfully painting Chrin as a millionaire outsider, who parachuted in to the district just to make a run at congress.

I should add that with Democrats taking control of the house...  Cartwright is on the Appropriations Committee.  Will that translate in to more money for his district?

Dan Meuser was one of the few Republican stars yesterday.  It was an easy win over Denny Wolff in the 9th district.  This is a red district, and Meuser benefits from that, earning a trip to Washington.

Tom Marino is another Republican star, and it was an easy win over Democrat Mark Friedenberg.  Marino received his share of negative press over the past two years.  Clearly, it wasn't a factor.

I'm going to group the PA Senate 22nd district and the PA House 121st into one here.  It's because the unsuccessful Republicans, Frank Scavo and Sue Henry, both campaigned heavily on eliminating property taxes.  Both lost, and it wasn't close.  I think it was more a case of the popularity of John Blake and Eddie Day Pashinski.  Again, neither win surprises me.  I thought Henry would do much better.  I've known Sue for years.  If the Luzerne County Republican party ever really gets organized, she has a bright future.

Some other musings...  I was thrilled at the turnout yesterday, and I look forward to seeing the final numbers.

I am still amazed at the lack of access in many polling places, and I don't know why people stand for it.  You pay for these elections and you should be allowed to see the process.

Nationally, Republicans keep the Senate.  Democrats take the House.  Referendum on President Trump?  Partially.  I still remember the words of former Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill:  "All politics is local."

It was a fascinating night.  And, as always, there are no losers.  Anyone who participates in this bloody, bruising and expensive process is a winner, as far as I'm concerned.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Election Day



 
Let's explode a few election day cliches.

1.  It all comes down to turnout.  Yes, every election does.  It's not just the numbers, it's where those numbers originated.  Conventional wisdom has the cities going Democrat.  Every other place is Republican.

2.  This is an historic election.  Yes.  They all are.

3.  This election is important.  Yes.  They all are.

Look for a little analysis in this space tomorrow.  I have my thoughts on what will happen.  I'll tell you whether I was right or wrong.

As I say on every election day, please vote.

I'll see you at the polls.

>>>AFTERNOON UPDATE:

It was an unusual election day.  I skipped my traditional election morning breakfast of a fast food spicy chicken sandwich.  It was unfrosted strawberry Pop Tarts at the office.

The morning previews went well, and there was a short interview with Rep. Matt Cartwright after he voted in Moosic.

It was a quick breather at the office and then banged out a noon story from a polling place in Scranton.

By the way, I should note that I've seen video from inside polling places in countries with brutal regimes.  Get a camera in some polling places around here?  Forget.  Public places.  Public election.  Public money.  Never lose sight of that.

It was nice to see turnout running high in most places, and people coming out to vite in spite of the rain.

As of 12:30, I was voter 186 in my ward, a bit low I thought.

It was home for a quick lunch, some internet duties, and it's almost time for a nap.  I should be up in plenty of time to watch my coworkers report the number and interview the candidates.

Thanks for reading.  Thanks for participating.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Tomorrow

Tomorrow is election day, and I hope you will choose WNEP, WNEP2 and WNEP.com for your results.

The network is going "all out" and below is a good idea of what to expect on air, and on line.  ABC used its election night set for yesterday's "This Week" broadcast.  Holy cow!  it's really nice.  I know no one watches the news to look at the furniture, but ABC went big on this one.



ABC News announced special coverage of the 2018 midterm election airing Tuesday, November 6 beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET on the ABC Television Network. Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos will lead coverage from ABC News Election Headquarters in New York. He will be joined by ABC News’ powerhouse political team including  “World News Tonight” Anchor David Muir, “This Week” Co-Anchor and Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz, Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl, Senior White House Correspondent Cecilia Vega, Senior Congressional Correspondent Mary Bruce and “World News Tonight” Weekend Anchor and Chief National Affairs Correspondent Tom Llamas reporting up-to-the-minute results of congressional and gubernatorial elections, the balance of power in the Senate and House of Representatives, and reactions from the White House, politicians, candidates, American citizens and officials from around the world.

ABC News primetime coverage will include FiveThirtyEight Editor-in-Chief Nate Silver offering in depth analysis throughout the night of how the vote is affecting each party’s chances in both chambers of Congress and Chief Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas covering ballot watch – reporting the latest on security, voting irregularity and potential meddling and fraud. “Nightline” Co-anchor Byron Pitts, Senior National Correspondent Terry Moran, Political Analyst Cokie Roberts, Special Correspondent Matthew Dowd, “The View” Co-hosts and ABC News Contributors Meghan McCain and Abby Huntsman, and Contributors Chris Christie, Ana Marie Cox, Stephanie Cutter and Alex Castellanos will provide context, reporting and analysis from New York headquarters.

ABC News will have reporters positioned in states across the country covering the most crucial elections that may determine the balance of power in Congress. “20/20” Co-anchor Amy Robach, “Nightline” Co-Anchor Juju Chang, Chief National Correspondent Matt Gutman, “Good Morning America” Weekend Co-anchors Eva Pilgrim and Whit Johnson, White House Correspondent Tara Palmeri, Correspondents Paula Faris, Deborah Roberts, Steve Osunsami, David Wright, Linsey Davis and Kayna Whitworth will be interviewing people from across the political spectrum on the issues and ballot initiatives that are most important to them, checking in on polling stations and reporting the latest updates on the candidates.

ABC News Live — the network’s 24/7 breaking news and live events streaming channel —will offer continuous and commercial free coverage on Election Day starting at 4:30 p.m. ET on Roku, AppleTV, Amazon Fire TV, YouTube, Apple News, Facebook, Twitter and the ABC News site and mobile phone apps. “Nightline” Co-anchor Dan Harris, Bruce, and Senior Washington Reporter Devin Dwyer will host. ABC News will also provide comprehensive coverage, analysis and race updates on ABCNews.comFiveThirtyEight.com and GoodMorningAmerica.com. Daily newscast “On Location” will feature segments on the midterms before, during and after Election Day — exclusively on Facebook Watch.

FiveThirtyEight will have the latest news and analysis throughout Election Day, including a live blog of election results as they come in and the latest forecasts of Democratic and Republican chances of winning the House and Senate throughout the night.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Andy's Angles: Holiday Mode

It might soon be on its way to a television near you.  Lord Cluckington:  The Christmas Edition.

I spied these three wise birds in a Scranton mini/mart luncheonette the other morning.

The holidays are not just for turkeys.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Andy's Angles: Friends

It is rare that I put a photo here taken by someone else, so when that happens, you know it is something special.

I'm really not sure who took this one.  I suspect it came from WNEP photographer Tom Durant, and the woman on the left, photographer Bonnie Frisbie sent it to me.  This is Bonnie and WNEP reporter Nikki Krize, earlier this week, in central Pennsylvania.

Let me tell you about these two.

Bonnie works out of the home office in Moosic.  She worked the weekend overnight shift with me for several years.  In addition to being exceptionally competent, she is a good friend.  B, as I call her, was always a sympathetic ear, and would always bring back my favorite yogurt when she was making a mini mart run in the middle of the night.

Nikki works out of our Central Pennsylvania Newsroom, and I don't see her nearly enough.  I first met Nikki, or Nicolette,  as I call her, when she was working for a cable station in Hazleton.  She was curious and enthusiastic back then.  Nikki hasn't changed, and I look forward to the rare times she comes east or I go west.

I am lucky to work with Nikki and Bonnie, and you are lucky to have them working for you.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Friday Scrapple

I'm so happy someone knocked off the Mega Millions jackpot.  It's time to talk about other things.  No, I didn't buy any tickets.

USA Today reports McDonalds is adding new breakfast items.  Great!  Anything to slow down the line.

I do not have a satellite radio subscription, but I am constantly amazed how Howard Stern's interviews always make news.  The man is fearless, and for some reason, people open up to him.

I am not a Boston Red Sox fan, but I do respect their talent.  I didn't care who won the World Series.  My only disappointment is the series didn't go seven games.  There is nothing like the seventh game of a World Series.

I traveled to Bradford County to cover a fire Tuesday morning.  I haven't been there in a long time.  It's one of the most beautiful parts of our area.  I'm sorry we were in such a rush.  Camera opportunities everywhere.  First responders in Smithfield Township were especially cooperative.  Thank you.

Yes, it's overused, but I can't believe it's November already.  The year has flown by.

Gore Vidal was on an old Johnny Carson show this week, from 1980.  It was a broadcast from just before the November election.  He brought up a lot of problems in the American political system.  Nothing has changed, and that makes me sad.

By the way, those old Johnny Carson shows are a nightly gem, and I look forward to them greatly.

It seems like most of this week's trick or treating have become controlled, community sponsored events.  That's a good thing.  It's better than kids aimlessly wandering around neighborhoods.

Willie McCovey hit home runs back when home runs really meant something.

Wasn't it great to actually feel sunshine this week?

Has there been a "must see" NFL game this season?  It seems to be an endless parade of mediocre teams playing mediocre teams.

There is a long list of foods that taste great, but are bad for you.  French fries has to be the headliner.  Ice cream, too.

It isn't just the year of awful weather.  Places like Texas seem to be getting hammered repeatedly.

I told a friend that I was born without the Halloween gene.  I never remembered a lot of interest, even as a kid.  It always seemed like too much fuss and bother to me.  I was in a couple of businesses Wednesday where the employees dressed up.  I recall a visit to a restaurant on Montage Mountain a few years ago.  The waitresses were costumed, and it appeared they were forced to do it.  You never saw a more miserable bunch of people in your life.  I left a nice tip.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Oh Deer!

Newswatch 16 did a story on it last week, and I'm likely jinxing myself by writing about it.  Pennsylvania is one of the top states for car versus deer collisions, and we are in our peak season for that.

This year is a record for close calls for me.  Deer are everywhere.  I've seen them on the Casey Highway, Boulevard Avenue in Scranton, Olyphant Avenue in Scranton, Main Avenue in Scranton and Dickson City, an exit ramp of the North Scranton Expressway, the O'Neil Highway in Dunmore, Pancoast Street in Throop, South Main Street in Archbald, Business Route 6 in just about every town between Carbondale and Scranton...  And, that's just a partial list.

A photographer and I drove to the Towanda area Tuesday morning, to cover a fire.  An amazing number of carcasses littered Route 6.

The only thing you can do is be extra careful, and wait for the start of next month's deer season.  It thins the herd.  The roads become a little more safe.

The thing that is really concerning this year-- the deer have been spotted in residential areas.  Are they advancing in to populated areas, or are we infringing on their habitat?