Thursday, September 30, 2021

Are You Kidding Me?


It is one of those things that defies analysis.

Our friends at the Times ~ Tribune did a Monday story, updating Scranton's "pocket park" project.  To quickly get you up to speed, a dry cleaner at Wyoming and Linden was torn down several years ago.  No one really wanted the land, so the city and Scranton Tomorrow decided on a small park for the site.  Great idea!  Every downtown needs green space, even though Courthouse Square is only a block away.

Here is the "defies analysis" part.  This project started four years ago, and it won't be finished until the summer of 2022!  That's five years for a patch of grass the size of a small building.

That's Scranton.

Granted, tons of contaminated soil here had to be removed, but five years for grass, sidewalks, benches, a pavilion, some lights, and maybe a performance area?  Really?

The downtown pocket park isn't alone.  How many years is it taking to replace the Parker St. bridge over the Lackawanna River.  It's been down to one lane for years, and a new bridge is still years away from becoming a reality.

I do realize and understand  that things need to be studied and options considered.  Let's do it once and do it right.

But years?

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Wednesday Scrapple


There are 35 Sears and KMart stores left in the country.  35!  How did they screw that up?

Consumer confidence is down.  Friends, that spells nothing but trouble.

I'm no longer a huge NFL fan, but there have been some really good games this young season.

It's coming up on October.  We still have a warm spell or two left.

I stumbled across several "The Big Lebowski" clips on YouTube.  My, that movie worked on so many levels.

One of the greatest sounds ever:  fallen leaves rustling in the autumn wind.

Even they've been around for decades, the technolgy behind the simple flash drive fascinates me.

I received an $8.20 check from the Screen Actors Guild.  It pays to be famous.

Tik Tok has one billion users.  I know of one who doesn't.

Ryder Cup:  USA!

The thought of all those people getting free rides on the Pennsylvania Turnpike still irritates me.

There is a special place in heaven for the Tater Tots inventor.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Why Craig Ferguson is a Genius


The charges against four local kids got me thinking about Craig Ferguson.

Follow me here.

During a 2007 widely acclaimed monolog during his time as host of "The Late Late Show" on CBS, Ferguson talked about his own struggle with drugs and alcohol.  He also urged people to back off attacking, ridiculing and having fun at the expense of Britney Spears because she was "just a baby."

Granted, shaving your head and getting tatted up is a lot different than plotting the murders of your teachers and classmates.  Also granted, no one is doing comedy routines on the four local kids, but it does underscore something.  We as a society really need to take a better look at how we treat young people.  Praise.  Discipline.  Punishment.  Education.  Good kids and the not so good ones.

I don't have the answers.  In fact, being single and child-less, I'm the worst person to ask.  As I wrote here yesterday, I'd love to know what went wrong in the suspects' lives that drove them in this direction.

I will never forget a homicide trial I covered in Luzerne County back during my radio days in the 80's.  A state trooper's son was on trial.  He was found guilty of first degree murder and a sickening moment took place during the sentencing phase.  The trooper took the stand to speak about his son.  Long story short.  The kid was always trouble, and discipling him put a strain on the trooper's marriage.  The trooper said he had to choose between his son and his marriage and he "chose the wrong one."

It broke your heart.

The murder plotters boggle the mind.

If someone knows the way we get out of this, now is the time to speak up.

Monday, September 27, 2021

#Sad... and Terrified


The crime triggered several emotions in me.  Shock.  Anger.  Fear.  Outrage.  And sadness.  Intense sadness.

Friday, four young people were accused of threatening to shoot up, and blow up their high school.  They had murder on their minds. One student had gone as far as collecting explosives, bomb making materials, and information on how to build more.

Innocent until proven guilty.

I cannot imagine what it is like to be a parent these days-- wondering if your children are safe as you send them off to school.

As I have said in this space before, I hated school, but I loved learning.

You just have to wonder how bad it must have been for these kids to contemplate doing such a horrible thing.

Two suspects are charged as adults.  The other two are in the juvenile system.  I would assume lawyers for the first two will try to have the cases bumped down to juvenile court.  It means their records will be cleared once they become adults.  I've seen these things many times before.  Expect all four to be analyzed and analyzed again.

It's called the "corrections system."  I just hope justice is done.  Punishment where necessary.  Rehabilitation always.

These kids are at a fork in the road.  It can spiral in to what will be a sad and horrible life.  They are also just babies.  Their lives can be turned around.

However, I can't stop wondering what started the path to evil.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Andy's Angles: Trail Test


Today, it's another test shot with my recently acquired 10-18 mm wide angle lens.

This is Route 315 in Jenkins Township, from the new Geisinger building that you can see along Interstate 81.

For a lens not known for its low light capabilities, it performed really well.  From the starburst pattern on the parking lot lights, you can tell I had the f stop choked down pretty far.  It was a breezy morning, so there is some blur on the trees, but the light trails down on 315 are fairly sharp.  The lens was also good enough to pick up the broadcasting towers, west of Scranton, off in the distance.

It might be too wide of a lens for most applications, but it does perform generally well.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Andy's Angles: Near and Far

I acquired a new toy several weeks ago, a 10-18 mm lens.  For my type and brand of camera, it does not get any wider than that.

Even though I've photographed the old train station, now a hotel is downtown Scranton many times before, I stopped by on a recent morning to put the camera and the new lens through its paces.  It was a great place to experiment and to test.

The shot above is pulled out all the way.  The one below, zoomed in all the way.

The reviews I read claimed this is not a good low light lens.  I got around that by keeping the shutter open for several seconds.  The lens is also not known for its sharpness.  It's more than acceptable for me.

It's a great lens to document things.  I have to learn to get creative with it.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Collector's Items


It's tough to pin me down on spending patterns.  If there is something I want, I buy it.  Camera gear is one example.

I can be really cheap in other ways.  I still have a tube tv.  My car is seven years old.  I have chest pains when I have to turn on the air conditioning.  I keep the heat down in the winter.  I have a drawer filled with mini mart/fast food napkins and ketchup packets.

Today's entry deals with envelopes.  I pay the vast majority of my bills on-line.  The bills still come with an envelope in case I choose to pay the traditional way.  I simply have the hardest time throwing away those return envelopes.  I have a huge stack, held together with an enormous binder clip.  I just can't part with them.

So, what are they good for?  I do use them to jot notes, and that's about it.

I'm just going to have to bite the bullet one of these days and toss the stack.

Thursday, September 23, 2021



It happened thirty years ago today-- my first day as a full time television reporter.

A little history first.  I had been in radio for about ten years.  I love radio, but the bloom on the rose was beginning to fade and it was time to make a move.  I picked up a part time TV job in March of 90.  The TV station offered to make me full time in the fall, and I declined.  Another offer came my way in early September of 91, and I took it.

It wasn't difficult saying good bye to a bad situation, but it was tough leaving the medium in general.

I remember the first day.  I did two stories at the Bloomsburg Fair.  One was on hydroponics, and I don't recall the second.  John Shema was the photographer.  We are still working together, only now it's at WNEP.

I was so lucky in those early days.  I lucked on to a news director willing to take a chance, and we are still friends today.  My old station had several veteran photographers who taught me the ropes.  We had some top notch producers who knew what it took to make a story work.

The last thirty years had its ups and downs, and thankfully more ups than downs.  It's still fun, an adventure, a challenge.

An understanding family helped make it possible.  I've missed a lot of holidays and celebrations because I was at the office, or out on the road in search of truth and justice.

Media people are nothing without the listeners and the viewers.  I've been blessed.  Thank you.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021



Just a few thoughts on the first day of fall...

It's horrible, but I can't think of fall without thoughts of the next season, winter, dancing through my head.

My front yard chestnut tree didn't produce a lot of nuts this year.  Can it be a sign of a mild winter?  On the other hand, the skunks and squirrels did seem to spend some extra time fattening up in the last few weeks.  As I have noted before, animals know more than we do, and it's not even close.

The air conditioner usually comes out of my bedroom window around Halloween.  With the recent burse of above normal temperatures, it might be there until Thanksgiving.

Fall really has become my favorite time of year-- cool without being cold, the feeling of a warm jacket, sleeping under heavier blankets, open windows, the sound of leaves blowing in the wind, soup, apples...

If could only find a way follow fall with something else.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021



There are few things on this planet more subjective than comedy.  Things I find hilarious, you might hate, and vice versa.

Norm MacDonald died last week, at the far too young age of 61.  I watched a lot of his stuff on You Tube after his passing.  His last Letterman appearance in 2015 certainly was touching.  Many of MacDonald's contemporaries viewed him as a comedy genius.

I'm going to say something horrible.  I just didn't see it.  I smiled at some of his jokes, a mild chuckle.  I didn't hate the guy, but Norm MacDonald just wasn't on my list of favorites.  He seemed to love it when his jokes bombed, and I didn't understand that.  The legendary Johnny Carson had the amazing talent to play off a bomb and make the next monologue joke even funnier.  MacDonald took a different route, emphasizing outrageousness and absurdity.  I'm sorry to say it just didn't work for me.

Page 2.

Stephen Colbert, Letterman's successor, won an Emmy Sunday night for his post-election show.  Congratulations!  I had high hopes for Colbert, a smart and funny guy.  I thought he'd follow in the Carson, Letterman, Leno "generalist" mode, and he did try that at the beginning.  It bombed, so Colbert went back to political humor.  I tried.  I really tried, but the same thing, night after night, just became tedious and tiresome.

Colbert has the highest ratings of the guys on the three major networks at 11:35 pm, so I am clearly in the minority on this one.  It's ok.  It's all good.  There is still some good stuff on late night radio.

NBC extended Jimmy Fallon's contract several months ago.  As I have said here before, Fallon is an exceptionally talented man, but I still don't see the "Tonight" show chair as a good fit.

So, that brings me to the question: "Who makes Andy laugh?"  I'm scratching my head over this one, trying to think of men and women who excel at stand up comedy.

Jerry Seinfeld's TV show did nothing for me, but I did enjoy his stand up routines.  Steve Martin no longer does stand up, but he always had me on the floor when he did.  I always looked forward to David Brenner and Robert Klein's talk show appearances.  George Carlin's HBO shows are classics  Amy Schumer could be a bit raw, but she was really good.  Chris Rock made me laugh.  Rodney Dangerfield never failed to have me in stitches.

I just can't think of any current comedians that I go out of my way to see.

Monday, September 20, 2021

The Genius of Stan


Stan Neishel died last week.  He was production director at WARM during the tail end of my run there in the 80's.

Stan was the guy who produced the commercials, but there was much more to him than that.

He was the voice of Emerson, the Maintenance Man, on the Harry West Show.  Harry knew it was a good bit, and he rode it like a circus elephant.  Harry even used it during his stay at WICK.

Stan could imitate almost everyone on the staff, and do it dead on.  Inside baseball:  to this day, I can't hear the word "flange" without bursting in to laughter.

He also took my topical news promos to the next level and made them sound great.  I would do a weekly thing, highlighting spot news we covered that the competition didn't.  More inside baseball:  "spot news" is the unplanned stuff, like fires, crashes, crimes, etc.

There is one tale that illustrates the genius of Stan Neishel.  You will have to let your imagination run wild on this one, and remember that a big part of radio is theater of the mind.

Stan was working with John Hancock to produce a comedy bit.  It involved a company drug test.  They needed the sound of someone urinating in to a cup.  Of course, we didn't have that sound in our stock sound effects library, so they had to make one.  Now, don't get carried away here.  All they did was pour water from one coffee can in to another, and had a microphone close by.  Simple.  Right?  No!  Simply pouring water from one vessel in to another wasn't good enough.  Stan did his magic and then called me in to the production room for my opinion.

He hit the tape, and I heard the stream.  The stream stopped for a second.  Then, you heard one final drip.  I was on the floor laughing.  It was perfect, and every male reader can relate.  That one last plop took the bit over the top, and it was just what the piece needed.  Funny, and real.  Above and beyond.

Stan was one of a kind.  My sympathy to his family and friends.  Thanks for the laughs.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Andy's Angles: Courthouse at Dawn


This is the Luzerne County Courthouse at Wilkes-Barre, taken on the same day and time as yesterday's shot.  I realize it's not the greatest quality.  Grainy.  I didn't have my good camera with me.  My camera phone had to suffice.

Some great things have happened here.  Some awful things have happened here.

The architecture is fantastic.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Andy's Angles: The Dawn Patrol Weekend


I found myself along the Susquehanna River at Wilkes-Barre a couple of days before Ida hit earlier this month.

While the Susquehanna can be a major nuisance at times, Golly Moses, it sure is beautiful.  The shot is from Millennium Circle, looking up river toward the Pierce St. Bridge off to the mid right.

It looks great, even with a camera phone.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Let's Review


It's my standard last day of vacation entry-- a review of the last week off.

I wish I could regale you with tales of fun and adventure.  Alas, it is not to be.

It was productive, including an eye exam and a flu shot.  There were a few social engagements.  I exercised a bit and played with my camera.

I slept-- a lot.

I should add that I haven't touched a razor since early Labor Day morning.  I honestly don't know how men grow beards.  I've tried every type of oil and conditioner.  The itch remains.  I kind of like the look, but the beard will be off when we meet tomorrow morning.

Even though I enjoyed the time off, I'm itching to do something and I will be back at work tonight.

Once again, it's bad clock management on my part.  I still have a lot of vacation time that needs to be burned off between now and the end of the year. 

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Follow Up Thursday


We haven't done a Follow Up File in a while, and there are a couple of items that deserve mention today.

There was a recent post about receiving a summons for jury duty.  My county supplies you with a telephone number.  You are supposed to call the evening prior to your service to see if you're needed.  I called.  I'm not needed.

While I appreciate the free day, especially during a vacation, I am a tiny bit disappointed.  Seeing how the system works, or doesn't work, from the inside is always a treat.  I was also looking forward to seeing some members of the courthouse crew, and catching up with the people I used to cover on a regular basis.

By the way, it's 2021.  The telephone call system works reasonably well.  Isn't it time the county assigns a temporary PIN and provides a web site so you can check your status electronically?  Keep the phones, too.  As we learned during the early days of vaccinations, not everyone has internet access.

Page 2.

Railing against the inefficiencies and incompetence in state government is almost a full time job.  The latest case in point is the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  The Associated Press did a crackerjack report and uncovered that, if you don't use EZ Pass, you stand a 50 per cent chance of getting a free ride.

Are you kidding me?

The Turnpike Commission calls it "leakage."  It sounds like a full scale torrent to me.

Once again, the state screws up and you pay the price.  Imagine what that $ 104 million dollars could have done.  Fewer potholes, lower tolls, better roadside conveniences...

If it wasn't so tragic, it would be hilarious.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

#Sad: The Business Edition


Jessup's one and only bank on Chruch Street closed last week.

Overall, not a big deal.  There are banks in adjacent Olyphant, Peckville, and Archbald.

But, let's dive a little deeper.

Once upon a time, every town around here had a doctor's office, a little market, a post office, a pharmacy, neighborhood schools...  and a bank.  When any one of those disappears, a town loses part of itself.  These are the places where we had little savings accounts, and Christmas Clubs, and car loans, and mortgages.  We knew the tellers and the managers, and they knew us.

It wasn't in Jessup, but I remember the thrill of walking to my corner bank and opening my first savings account.  It was on the last day of 8th grade.  I felt like such a big deal, an almost grown up.

Overly dramatic?  Possibly.

I know fewer people use brick and mortar banks these days, and I'm part of that group.  I also know a bank is a business, not a charity.  An oft repeated phrase:  "If it don't pay, it don't stay."  Upper management apparently deemed the branch was no longer profitable, and you can see what's happened.

I'm not a real estate agent.  This is an attractive property, including parking.  I doubt the bank that vacated it will allow another bank to move in,  It appears to be a good space for a professional office, maybe even a restaurant.

Jessup will survive.  There are still plenty of businesses here, including a healthy number of  bars and restaurants.  The town looks great at Christmas.  There are festivals, carnivals, and parties scattered throughout the year-- including St. Ubaldo Day.

However, driving past an empty building that was once the center of commerce makes me sad.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Tuesday Scrapple


Kudos to the producers of "The Price is Right" for keeping the show fresh after 49 years, but why do they make every contestant hoot and holler like a nit wit?

Bank tellers don't get enough credit for what they do.

Derek Jeter received all of the attention at the Baseball Hall of Fame last week, but Ted Simmons' induction speech was outstanding and thoughtful.

Above normal temperatures in summer = bad.  Above normal temperatures in fall = good.

Whether or not you agree with his politics, James Carville is always a fascinating interview.

I might have said it here before, but it's worth repeating:  "I'm Not In Love" by 10 cc is a darned fine song.

Ten years after Tropical Storm Lee, I still get a sick feeling in my stomach.  This one was so bad, and it could have been even worse.

A great night's sleep is underrated and so elusive.

I'm not the NFL fan I used to be.  Far from it.  Very far from it.  But, I still get a twinge of excitement on opening weekend.

Eddie Rabbit said it first, but I love a rainy night-- as long as it's not too rainy.

We are only nine months in to the year, and I already have nine potential "Top Ten" photos for the end of year review.  I've been lucky.  If it's like last year, I'll have too many had have to throw in some honorable mentions.

An addendum to yesterday's blog entry:  I was feeling pretty good about the photos I took at the Agronish Motorcycle Run in Jessup-- until I saw Christopher Dolan's work on the Times ~ Tribune web site.  Dear readers, that is a photographer!

Monday, September 13, 2021

The Ride

 Let's approach this one from a couple of different sides.  First, the event itself.  Then, the photography.

Yesterday, I had the privilege of attending the annual SGT Jan Argonish Memorial Bike Ride.  It starts and ends in Jessup.  The ride raises money for veteran's charities, and it honors the memory of SGT Jan Argonish, who died in Afghanistan in 2007.  I never met SGT Argonish, but I got to know his father.  We met right after Jan died.  Our paths crossed again in 2012, when we attended the same gym.  I was doing the math in my head as I drive to Jessup yesterday.  I've been here nine out of the 14 years, going back to when the staring point was in Dalton.

The ride is one of those things that triggers every emotion-- sadness that we have to do something like this, satisfaction in knowing that a lot of money is being used to help others, happiness because so many people volunteer to make this happen, pride in the flag and our nation, warmth when you see the number of people who came to say they care, gratitude, always.

And now, the photography...

Of course, I had to get some wide shots to show the size of the crowd, and the numbers were impressive.

I tried a "theme" this year.  I attempted to go a little tighter and focus on flags.

I went for fast shutter speeds, freezing the motion of the motorcycles and the flags.  As regular readers know, I harshly criticize myself, and there certainly was room for improvement, but I think it worked.

The lighting was my friend yesterday.  Some high clouds filtered the sun quite a bit, giving me a flat and even light.  No bright spots.  No shadows.  I lucked out.

And the lighting really seemed to make the red, white and blue stand out quite a bit.

Plus, there were so many photo opportunities...  I had a chance to spread them ut over Facebook, Twitter,  Instagram, and the blog.

Thank you for allowing me, once again, to be part of a special day.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Andy's Angles: About the Cover


A little late, but here goes...

I chose a fun, but flawed photo for this month's header.

It's sunrise from the parking lot of the old KMart in Dickson City.

I focused on the Waymart windmills off to the left.  Unfortunately, the sun and trees on the right aren't that sharp.  I love going there for sunrise shots, and I'll try it again some day.

And thanks to the people at Blogger, who finally adjusted the header photo template back to a decent size.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Andy's Angles: 20


There's an old saying that goes: "Unless you were buried under rubble, no one cares where you were on 9/11"

I haven't written about it much on past anniversaries, but I'll make a very brief exception this year because it is the 20th.

By the way, the photo above is the McDade Park, Scranton 9/11 memorial.  Simple, elegant and in a lovely location.

I was on vacation, alone, in Baltimore back in 2001.  It was a tough day to be away from family and friends, and I cut the vacation short.  I was home the next day.

When the planes hit, I was in my car, on the beltway, on my way to do some sight seeing, so I didn't see the video until hours later.  Some things remain with me-- the people crying as they watched televisions in a shopping mall, the stores closing, people running for the doors, the beltway at a crawl because everything shut down at once.  I had dinner in a Wendy's near my hotel.  The place was packed.  No one made a sound.  I've never experienced that many, so quiet, for so long.

9/11 was a day when we shared our grief, and it seems to have affected everyone differently.

Friday, September 10, 2021



It is a ritual of my September vacation-- a flu shot.

It started with an email to my mega medical group.  The reply email's first suggestion was to drop in to one of its no appointment necessary clinics.  I tried that.  I was informed it would be a two hour wait.

Are you kidding me?

The next suggestion, according to the email, was to call the main number and line up an appointment.  I called and the woman on the phone was kind, professional and helpful.  There was one problem:  she couldn't find the office that I visit for other medical needs.  After banging around her keyboard for a while, she came up with the necessary information.

We scheduled an appointment for the next morning.

The place is a factory.  I walked in at 8 am for an 8:10 appointment.  I checked in and sat down in a very crowded waiting area.  My name was called, I was in an exam room, I received my shot and I was back in my car at 8:08.

Call me cynical, but I am always amazed when things in the medical profession run on schedule, even more amazed when things go faster than anticipated.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

A Craw Sticker


This one has been sticking in my craw for a while.  It's time to exorcise the demon.

I should start by saying our friends at the Times ~ Tribune are doing a fantastic series this week on Scranton area property developers.  It's well done, and I'm enjoying every word.

This blog entry has been on my agenda for a while, so here goes.

The shabby old hotel at Franklin and Mulberry in downtown Scranton was recently sold.  The buyer/developer has floated a plan for a mixed use building in this space-- retail, office, residential.


No one will argue that the hotel needs to stay.  It has to go.  It's run down.  It's an eyesore at one of the city's major entrances.  It's sad, because this was a nice Holiday Inn at one time-- complete with a good restaurant and ball rooms.  Plus, there was plenty of easy parking.  I spent many an election night here.

Here's where the craw comes in.  The proposed replacement will tower 17 stories over the city!  17!

I'm all for thinking big, and a 17 story building will make quite an entry statement as you cross the Mulberry Street bridge.

It's more than the look of the building.  It has to be appropriate for the site, and I just think Scranton is not a 17 story building city.  As an old radio program director would have said, it will stick out like a boil on a baby's arse.

I do get it.  The point is to stick out.  The developer, who has done several restoration projects, should be applauded for past, present and future efforts.  He's really stepped up in recent years.

I'm just not sold on Scranton's new skyscraper.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Willard Scott


courtesy:  NBC News
Retired "Today" weather man Willard Scott died Saturday.  87.  I will admit that Scott was never my guy.  It was clear he knew nothing about the weather.  He was just repeating what someone else told him to day, and that's ok.  You got the information, and let's move on.

I do have a great deal of respect and admiration for the way people loved Willard Scott.  He had charm and warmth, and as I have said here many times before, you can't teach that.  You can't bottle that.  The word "legend" is tossed around all too often.  Here, it fits.  Perfectly.

I read several Scott obituaries over the weekend, and something jumped out at me.   It's something I absolutely loved.  Scott told a writer how he wasn't TV material.  He was overweight.  He was bald.  He sported a bad toupe for several years.  He looked older than he was.  Yet, Willard Scott had a very, very successful career on television.  Scott's quote:  "I beat the system."

Yes, you did, Mr. Scott.  Bravo!  Rest in peace.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021



Sleeping Homer is here and that signals the start of another vacation week.

I love September.  Never was a cloudy day.  The weather cools off.  The kids are back in school.  Nothing is crowded.  It's a great time of year.

Plans?  Standard stuff.  Reading, photography, bike rides, the gym, getting together with some friends, and sleep.

We'll talk again soon.

Monday, September 6, 2021

Labor Day


I say it every holiday:  Please, remember what the day is all about.

It's especially important this year because an awful lot of people worked really hard to keep this country running during the last year and a half.  Some of them will still be at it again today.

Enjoy the day.  Stay safe.

Have a slice of pizza and a canoli at La Festa Italiana in Scranton.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Andy's Angles: Lee Weekend

Today's it's another photo from September 2011, noting the approaching 10th anniversary of the Tropical Storm Lee flooding.

As I noted yesterday, I was on vacation when the flood hit, and while I was curious about what was going on, the Wyoming Valley didn't need another sightseer.  I waited until the water went down and the immediate emergency passed before venturing out with my camera.

Born and raised here, and I will forever be in awe of the Susquehanna River-- its power and how quickly it can rise to dangerous levels.

The view above is from the area near the Water Street Bridge, on the Pittston side, looking downstream.

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Andy's Angles: Lee Weekend

 It's coming up on the 10th anniversaty of the flooding triggered by Tropical Storm Lee.

By now, you know the drill.  We get days of rain.  Rivers, creeks, and streams can't hold it all.  They flood.  This one was different than most.  The Susquehanna River hit record levels.

Unlike 1972, the raised levee protected Wilkes-Barre.  West Pittston got hit, and hit hard.

The Susquehanna backed up in to the Lackawanna, and parts of Duryea went under water.

A September vacation is tradition for me.  This year was no different.  I did email the assistant news director at the time and volunteered to come in if the unthinkable happened.  It was bad, but not catastrophic.

While I was curious about the high water, I stayed home.  The last thing you need during a tragedy is a lookie-loo.

After the water went down and the emergency subsided, I went to a store, bought a new camera, and ventured out to see what I could see, while staying out of the way.

The photo above is debris piled outside homes in Duryea.

I've seen flooding aftermath dozens of times before.  It never gets easier.  That's not garbage piled outside of people's homes.  It's memories-- some things that cannot be replaced.

I know we learn from every disaster.  And, one of the lessons always is nature always wins.

Friday, September 3, 2021



Labor Day weekend is here, and that triggers mixed feelings among Americans.

Some are sad because this weekend marks the end of the summer vacation season.  Kids are going back to school.  A lot are already back.  Less daylight.  Cooler weather.

I like it for the same reasons, especially the cooler weather.

Fall is a great time of year.  Unfortunately, winter follows.  

We'll climb that mountain when we get there.

After this week, we can all use a holiday weekend to relax.

You might be wondering how I fared in the storm.  Bottom line:  It could have been worse.  I took a family member to a medical appointment in the morning, a 30 minute drive each way.  Hey people, slow down!  Visibility was awful.  Ponding on the interstate.  Most people drive like it was summer and 75-- 75 degrees and 75 miles per hour.

I had a social engagement in the afternoon, which was lovely.  Fortunately, it was only a two mile drive.  It was a short walk from the car to the restaurant and I still got soaked.

At home, there was a two minute power outage and super slow internet.  When I see what some neighbord endured, I have nothing to complain about.

I hope the start of the holiday weekend finds you happy, safe, warm, dry and well.

And don't forget, La Festa Italiana on Courthouse Square in downtown Scranton is back after a year off.  It begins today and wraps up Monday night.  The tents went up a couple of days ago.  It's a good chance to eat, listen to live music, people watch and just get out of the house for a while.  Enjoy!

Thursday, September 2, 2021

First Person: The Rain, The Park, and Other Things


My Tuesday morning assignment was simple:  show how places are getting ready for the arrival of the remnants of Hurricane Ida.  I used a taped piece from Schuylkill County.  The scene above was our live backdrop.  The flood gate at Millennium Circle in Wilkes-Barre closed.  Instead of a lovely view of the Susqehanna River, it was a silver metal wall.

While the Susquehanna will rise, Ida looks to be a stream, creek, and street event.  There won't be a lot of water up north, and that's where the Susquehanna gets its fuel.  Closing the gates was a good idea, nonetheless.

As I write this, it's late Wednesday morning.  It's pouring.  I just arrived home from taking my father to a medical appointment in Wilkes-Barre.  Interstate 81 was insane.  Very few drivers adjust speed downward for the conditions.  I saw two near crashes.  Note to other drivers:  tailgating will not make me drive faster.  Some nimrods insist on driving without headlights in a heavy rain.  The turn into my driveway filled me with an aura of blessed relief.

There has been a great debate in our newsroom and on social media about hype, early warning, rainfall totals, etc.  Most people are happy with how we handled it.  There were some dissenters.

As many of you know, I produce Newswatch 16 on weekend mornings.  The buck stops with me.  During a break in our Sunday morning broadcast, meterologist Valerie Smock showed me a map of the projected rainfall totals in our area from Ida.  I gasped.  We discussed whether it was too early to use a map like that.  I gave Valerie the green light, and she was already leaning that way.  Valerie made sure to point out that it was an early projection.  A change in the track of the storm could make a big difference, but this is what we were looking at.  As it turned out, that first projection map was on the money.

I'm a cautious guy.  I don't like going out on limbs, but I do like you getting the most information I can offer, as early as I can reasonably do so, and without the hysterical hype. This was one of those cases.

I hope it helped people make informed decisions.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Why Mr. Tony is A Genius


Tony Kornheiser is a former writer for some major newspapers.  He ventured in to broadcasting, with a local radio show in Washington, a national one on ESPN Radio, an afternoon ESPN tv show, and more local radio.

He now does a three day a week podcast.  As I've noted here before, I love it.  It's fresh and interesting.  It's like live and local radio, without that canned podcast flavor.

Now that we've established the foundation, let's talk about Thursday's podacst.  Peter King was one of the guests.  King writes.  He does radio and TV.  No one knows more about the NFL than Peter King.

Very early in to the interview, King and Kornheiser started talking about their love for newspapers, and their love for writing.  They reminisced about how they started, how they acquired their first jobs, advice for aspiring journalists, and general memories of a great way to make a living.  They didn't talk about Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and the rest.  It was just two veterans talking about the business, and it was fascinating stuff.

KIng and Kornheiser have something in common.  Both knew they wanted to work for a newspaper very early in life.  It struck a chord with me.  Broadcasting was in my sights when I was a wee lad.

I've often mentioned the magic of walking in to an old radio studio-- the big machines, the tapes, the lights, the dials, the meters, the buttons, the knobs, the lights...

The same can be said about visiting an old fashioned newspaper newsroom.  I can still smell the old Scranton Tribune-- the newsprint, the ink, the cigars, the cigarettes, maybe a little alcohol.  You can actually feel the history.

And, if you've ever been there when they crank up the giant presses, all I can say is wow.  You will never forget it.

And that, dear readers, is why Tony Kornheiser is a genius.  I'm sure he had a few notes jotted down about potential Peter King NFL topics.  He threw the script away and went with a real and human discussion of media life.