Sunday, December 31, 2023

Top Ten: Harrisburg


Now, my favorite photo of 2023...

I found myself in Harrisburg the morning of January 17th, for the Shapiro inauguration.

This photo was taken around 4:00 am.  It was just, me, some security guards, and photographer Jason.

Even though I've been here dozens of times, this sight never ceases to inspire awe.

This is a camera phone shot.  I didn't take my good gear because I like traveling light.  I'm still kicking myself over that.  I shipped the photo off to a drug store for enlargement, but it was declined over a lack of definition if it was blown up.

There are also plenty of memories.  My dad used to take me here when he had to drop off things for PennDOT.  I will never forget the morning we were walking through the building and ran in to Gov. Milton Shapp.  He shook our hands, asked where we were from, and chatted for a moment.  It was so cool.

I was here for Gov. Casey's first inauguration and Gov. Ridge's first, and Gov. Wolf's first and second.  Gov. Shapiro was added to my list this year.  Another reason this was my favorite photo of the year is this is likely my last visit to the capitol.  When the next gubernatorial inauguration rolls around, I will be past retirement age.  It doesn't mean I will definitely be retired, but it is something to consider.

Be that as it may, thank you for reading the entries this year, as well as looking at the photos.

Happy New Year's Eve!

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Top Ten: Umbrellas


Thank you, Frank Dubas!

He owns three buildings on Lackawanna Avenue in downtown Scranton.  The backs of the buildings are on Bogart Court.  This is what Frank did to celebrate April.

He started in late March, and that's when this photo was taken.

As I said in the spring, I didn't think this was a big deal-- until I arrived here.

Tomorrow, traveling south for my favorite photo of 2023.

Friday, December 29, 2023

Top Ten: Mary


Sometimes, you can find a glimmer of hope in a sea of despair.

Fire destroyed the former St. Hedwig's Church in Edwardsville in February.  I was working on a follow up story the next day as members of the Edwardsville DPW, a tow truck company, and the demolition contractor worked to get a statue of Mary out of harm's way.  A DPW worker told me several people in the neighborhood pleaded to save the statue.

I'm happy I was there when it happened.

I should add, that when I put this on the blog and social media, hits went through the roof.  The story really resonated with viewers.

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Top Ten: Marywood Memories


It's my birthday, and as is habit, I always choose a photo that has special meaning to me.

I was on the campus of my alma mater, Marywood University (it was a college back in my day), on the last Monday of August.  It was the first day of the new semester.  I talked with freshmen on the first day of their new chapter in life.

I remember mine, 44 years ago  It was a combination of terror and intimidation.  I came from a bad public school and I found those early freshman days to be exceptionally frightening.  I felt out of place, but Marywood (back then) was cheap and close, and I would have to find a way to make it work.

Photographer Tim snapped this shot with the Liberal Arts building in the background.  Of course, my favorite building was the media center, but it's gone now.

As for the class of 2027, I found their attitude to be "Yeah, whatever."  Things have changed since 1979.

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Top Ten: Welcome Home!


Genesee Valley Transportation found this locomotive, with local roots, in a collection in Oregon, and brought it back here in May.

The engine was on display at Steamtown for a few weeks before heading to a restoration shop in Scranton's Green Ridge section.  I took this photo at Steamtown the morning of May 24.

I followed the journey from Oregon on social media, and it was a fascinating process.  Seeing it in person was a real kick.

I can't wait for the finished product.

Tomorrow, going home again.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Top Ten: Glynn Lunney


June 8 was Glynn Lunney Day in Old Forge.  Part of Main street was renamed in honor of the Old Forge native.

Lunney was NASA flight director during the Gemini and Apollo missions.  He helped get Apollo 11 to the moon, and he helped get the astronauts of Apollo 13 home.  He is a hero, and this was long overdue.

Glynn Lunney didn't live long enough to see the honor, part of a 50+ year labor of love, but his family flew from Texas to be here on a chilly and smoky morning.

As a kid who grew up with the space program, seeing this was quite a kick.

Tomorrow, a transportation mode closer to the ground.

Monday, December 25, 2023

Merry Christmas!


The Top Ten countdown takes the day off for Christmas.

It doesn't mean we can't have a photo.

I took this shot early in the morning, on the day after Thanksgiving.

Peace on Earth.

I hope it happens this year.

And, it wouldn't be Christmas day without a shot of the nativity scene at Marywood University in Scranton.  I took this photo on the morning of the 19th.  There was a dusting of new snow.  Some sun and blue sky would have been nice, but the scene would have been backlit.  The clouds were a blessing.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Top Ten: Up Close in the Park


Let's spend Christmas Eve looking at a Christmas photo.

This is one of the photos that makes this year's list on a technicality.  While it was taken in 2022, it didn't appear on the blog until 2023, so it still counts, at least in my book.

I was wandering around Nay Aug Park in Scranton, looking for Christmas things and winter scenes.  I wanted something different, and everything fell in to place with this shot.

Zoom in, open up the aperture all the way, get a good sun angle, and this is the result.  It's a nice sharp tree ornament, with a delightfully snowy and blurred background.

I hope you have a great Christmas Eve.  As is custom, there will be a Christmas message tomorrow.  The Top Ten countdown resumes Tuesday.

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Top Ten: Lifeguard


Okay, this one doesn't exactly blow you away, but there are some things to like here.

This is the lifeguard chair at one of the Lake Wallenpaupack beaches I shot in late June.  It's an early morning picture, giving the scene that "golden hour" glow.  Pristine sand.  Blue sky with a little haze.  Quiet water.

I didn't think much of the shot when I snapped it.  I changed my mind when I saw it on the big computer screen.  Plus, it received several compliments when it first appeared on the blog.  Perhaps, it should be higher in the Top Ten.

Tomorrow, a little Christmas!

Friday, December 22, 2023

Top Ten: Smokin!


The old Parodi cigar factory on North Main Avenue in Scranton was turned in to apartments earlier this year.

First, I love to see old buildings repurposed.  Few things make me happier.

Second, this could have remained looking like an old brick box, but the lighting takes it over the top.

I took the photo you see above around 5 am on a rainy late August morning, so you get the glow of the sign on the street.

As I said when I posted this for the first time in September, it just blew me away.

To put things in perspective, and to show you how how much work was involved here, above is a demolition picture I took a few years ago.

Tomorrow, it's a morning on the beach.

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Top Ten: The Sunflower and the Mums


I remember, as a young radio pup, in the early 80's, and speaking to the great and legendary David DeCosmo.  I was lamenting how my interview questions were really not all that lyrical.  They were short,  simple, and basic.

David told me not to worry.  Simple is best.  Be direct.

Today, it's a simple shot of a sunflower, taken August 2, at the Gardens of Cedar in Scranton.  

I was playing with depth of field, so the right side of the photo is deliberately blurry.  I could have cropped it a bit to eliminate a little of the head room, but I liked the blue sky.    In my view, pardon the pun, the sky is just as important as the flower.  This is right out of the camera, with no tweaking or color adjustments.

Today, enjoy the simplicity of a sunflower on a summer morning. 

And, same place, but a different time of year-- mid October.  

The sunflowers of summer gave way to the mums of fall.  

Much different  Still beautiful.

We'll stop for a smoke tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Top Ten Honorable Mention: St. Hedwig's


Fire destroyed the former St. Hedwig's church in Edwardsville on the morning of February 19th.  This is a shot from the next morning, as I was sent to do a follow up.

The church had been vacant for years, but it was still a big part of the hearts and memories in this Luzerne County neighborhood.

The fire left the front and back standing.  Everything between was gone.

You could feel the sadness immediately as you entered town.

Another photo involving this fire appears in the actual Top Ten...  and the actual Top Ten begins tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Top Ten Honorable Mention: Democracy '23

This photo was taken on election morning last month, at Scranton High School.  Because of handicapped accessibility issues, eight polling places were moved in to the school.  It did solve the accessibility problem, but the elderly had to walk a decent distance from the parking lot to the building, and I understand their frustration.

The photo was taken before the polls opened at 7 am.  Most Pennsylvania polling places won't allow a camera inside, even though the rest of the free world doesn't have any issues.  Yes, it is possible to photograph people casting their ballots without being intimidating, without violating privacy.

While this election appears to be clean as a whistle, bad things can happen when they are done out of public view, and yes, the news media is your representative.

You deserve better.

A look at a lost landmark is on the agenda for tomorrow.

Monday, December 18, 2023

Top Ten Honorable Mention: Slaughterhouse Fire


A case of arson destroyed the old slaughterhouse along Hull Avenue in Olyphant the afternoon of February 25.  I wandered in a couple of days later to take a look and document the loss of part of the Queen City's history.

It was an ugly building and it was slated to come down, anyway.  As I walked around the rubble, I thought of all the people who worked here over the years.  I vividly remember watching all those trucks entering and leaving town when I was in elementary and high school a few blocks away.

Are the seeds of victory really planted in every defeat?

I paid a return visit in late April as demolition was nearly complete.

I wonder what the new chapter of the site holds.  There are plans to build apartments here, but there is a fight concerning that.

There was a Studebaker dealership here, as well.  I was concerned a classic masonry logo would be lost.

I'm happy to report the Studebaker logo was saved, and the apartments, if they are ever built, will take on the Studebaker name.

Every vote counts, and that's tomorrow's entry.

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Top Ten Honorable Mention: Steam


This is one that slips through the technicality loophole.  While it was shot in 2022, it didn't appear on the blog until 2023.

I was at Steamtown on a December Sunday morning when one of the steam engines was fired up, the smoke and steam floating upward into a blue sky.

I loved it!

This photo is still listed as flawed in my book.  I really wanted an angle from the front, but I would have been shooting right in to the low morning winter sun.

It's a little destruction on the agenda for tomorrow.

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Top Ten Honorable Mention: Winter


The winter of 22-23 will go down in the books as one of the stranger ones in the history of northeastern and central Pennsylvania.

December was warm, except for a cold snap around Christmas.

2023 started very mild, and until the third week of the month, we were on track to have the warmest and least snowy January in history.

That all changed the morning of January 22nd.  Rain turned to ice, and then snow.  There wasn't much of an accumulation, but it was enough to cause issues.  Cold air and more snow followed the rest of the week.

This photo was taken early on the morning of January 22nd.  I was at the Mount Cobb interchange with Interstate 84 in Jefferson Township, Lackawanna County.  Elevation:  1655 feet.

The road signs provided the perfect visual aid for Newswatch 16 This Morning.  It showed the precipitation started as rain, then freezing rain, and finally snow.  This is the view looking west.

It doesn't take much, after a mild spell, to snap you back to reality.

Tomorrow, a favorite destination.

Friday, December 15, 2023

Top Ten Honorable Mention Partners


We are plowing through the honorable mentions before the actual Top Ten arrives...

This is a screen grab from the morning of March 13.  What makes it significant is this is the first time Mindi and I coanchored in more than three years.  Look at her pretending to be interested in what I was saying!

First, there was Covid-19, and management tried to keep employees distanced.  One thing led to another.  I was either out in the newsroom, or on the road.

We were a little short staffed that morning in March and I was asked to jump in the chair.

I'd forgotten how much fun it can be.

And, there is this photo from Halloween morning.  Joe's Halloween costume was to don a jacket and tie, and take on a serious on-air persona.  I liked serious Joe, even though many felt it was a spoof of me.  It wasn't, and I didn't mind, regardless.

We'll go outside for a cold slap tomorrow.

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Top Ten Honorable Mention: JT

 When most people of my era hear "JT," James Taylor immediately comes to mind, and he is one of my favorites.  Today, it's another JT:  Jim Thorpe.

I wound up in this lovely borough on an early March morning.  Honestly, it wasn't much of a snow storm.  As you can see from the train station photo above, most of the snow melted when it hit sidewalks and pavement.  My morning live reports turned in to more of a travelogue than storm coverage.

And of course, there are the trains.  Jim Thorpe embraces its railroading heritage, and there is proof of that any time you visit town.  Most of my diesel viewing has been at Steamtown in Scranton, but it takes on a different perspective when you visit Jim Thorpe.  You can see the scope and scale in comparison to the cars and trucks, and the buildings in the borough.  The things really are monsters.

Tomorrow, friends!

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Top Ten Honorable Mention: Tornado


This is a screen grab from a Newswatch 16 story back on July 3rd.  A tornado hit Dickson City in Lackawanna County the night before.

I was honestly too overwhelmed looking at the damage to pull out my phone and take some photos, and that's why I am relying on a screen grab for today's entry.

It was a mess with trees down, vehicles and homes damaged.  I live only about two miles away and I slept through it.

Things like that just don't happen in my neighborhood.  So many people in this neighborhood were kind enough to share their stories as they sorted through the damage.  Thank you and I hope you have a great holiday season.

A storm of a different kind tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

The Top Ten of 2023, and a Vacation


That time of year has arrived.  It's time to count down my ten favorite photos of the year.  There are a handful of "honorable mentions" this year.  There would have been a few more, but I was too engaged in reporting and I forgot to pull out the camera.

While the blog turned 19 last month, this is the 15th year for the countdown.  As I've always said, it fills the slow time during the holidays and it affords a nice chance to pause and reflect on the year that is about to leave us.

They might not be the best photos, but some are really good.  These are simply photos that mean something to me.  I've assembled the photos in a file throughout the year.  Now, it's time to assign numbers and write a few paragraphs as to what they are all about.

The news of the day will not be lost.  I'll still offer up my usual vapid comments as the need arises.

We'll begin tomorrow with a a dark and stormy night.

As the great Tom Snyder used to day, relax and watch the pictures as they fly through the air.

By the way, I am burning off my last vacation week of 2023.  As the Spinners used to say, "I'll Be Around."  As always, the weekend morning broadcasts are in good hands.

Monday, December 11, 2023

Business Monday


I recently had an issue with a newspaper subscription, and this is a newspaper that has been in the headlines quite a bit this year.  After repeated attempts to resolve my issue through the web site, I finally reached a human being on the telephone.  It was clear I was speaking to an individual in another country.  It's more local jobs down the drain, and not a peep from elected officials and business types.  By the way, after more than three weeks, the subscription issue has yet to be resolved.

A newsletter that covers the retail industry predicts the days of self service check outs are coming to an end.  The reason is too much theft.  I have mixed feelings.  If the machines are working properly, and you only have a few things, you can really zip through.  In and out.  However, one supermarket chain has the glitchiest machines and it's really annoying.  One chain has a lovely habit of a human checking your receipt as you head for the door, assuming you stole something.  I'm really tired of that.  If you care so much, open the cash registers again.  In spite of the theft, I feel self service checkouts are here to stay.

In a late development, Dollar General announced late last week that its self service machines are coming out.  Dollar General's president said he needs employees at the front of the store, to keep unpaid merchandise from walking out the door.

Subway keeps trying to tweak itself into relevance.  I haven't noticed much of a difference.  The chain now freshly slices its meats, but the vegetables still look exceptionally tired, and I'm being overly kind.  Be that as it may, I order the same thing every visit:  turkey and swiss.  Imagine my dismay when I saw they discontinued carrying swiss cheese!  I was forced to substitute pepper jack.  It was okay, but pepper jack is not swiss!

Taylor Swift is Time magazine's "person of the year."  Yes, she is a force in the entertainment industry, but missiles are still flying in the middle east and Ukraine.  Dozens die every day.  Swift is a poor choice to me, but Time hasn't been relevant for years.  It's just a way to sell magazines and increase web site hits.

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Andy's Angles: Multi


Christmas decorations always touch off a fierce debate:  clear or multi-colored?  Constant or flashing?

I'm okay with anything-- as long as someone else does the work, and the decorations appear AFTER Thanksgiving.

This is part of the really neat annual display at Nay Aug Park in Scranton.  Yes, it's a little artsy on my part.  The focus point was set on the cluster of red bulbs at the upper center.  The rest is deliberately fuzzy.

There is still time before the holiday arrives.  Do yourself a favor and take a ride through the park.

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Andy's Angles: About the Cover


Of course, it's December and it's appropriate for a header with a Christmas theme.  After 19 years of doing this, there are times when it is difficult to come up with something different.  As I've discovered, it's okay to shoot the same things, but it can be done in a different way.

There are more spectacular Christmas displays here in our area, but none has as much charm as Nay Aug Park in Scranton.  

This was part of a large array, and I will have that photo here on Christmas Day.  For the header, I just tried to go tight on some green bulbs and blur the rest.

Being artsy has never been my strong suit, but I rather like the way this one turned out.

Friday, December 8, 2023



Sunday marks a milestone.  Sunset is 4:32 pm, and that is the earliest sunset of the year.  We start adding a little bit of daylight in the afternoon/evening until summer.

Of course, the days are still getting shorter.  We continue to lose light in the morning.  It all reverses on the first day of winter later this month.

As a kid, the early sunsets used to bother me.  Now, not so much.  As I noted last month, when standard time hit, I prefer my daylight in the morning.

The bottom line on this is time is flying by, and whatever inconveniences you experience over daylight, or the lack of it, soon disappear.

There are more important things to worry about.

Thursday, December 7, 2023

The Ornament Tree, and Norman Lear


One of the things we often lose sight of at this time of year is, it doesn't have to be grandiose to be be beautiful.

Today, it's a couple more shots from Nay Aug Park in Scranton as I burn off Christmas photos before the end of the year.


 Part of me sees the ornaments on the Christmas trees we had when I was a kid.  Another part recalls hot air balloons, drifting by on a calm evening.

Much like gazing at clouds on a summer day, you can use your imagination and see what you want to see. 

Moving on...

Writer and producer Norman Lear died yesterday.  He was 101.  There is a short list of people who can say they changed television.  If Lear isn't at the top, he's close.  There were more flops than hits, but when your hits include "All in the Family," everything else is secondary.  Norman Lear brought serious issues in to the sitcom world, and the medium is better because of it.  On the other hand, Lear's projects were noted by a lot of people yelling at each other, and, in my book, that gets old-- fast.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

From One, Many


It's that time of year.  The Top Ten of 2023 is rapidly approaching, and this year's countdown is larger than ever, thanks to several "honorable mentions."

I do have several photographs I need to squeeze in between now and then, so here we go.  It was a cold November morning when I took this one at Nay Aug Park in Scranton.

On one hand, some sunshine and blue sky would have been nice, but I do like the "little color on a colorless day" theme.

By the way, the tree you see above is the source of the inspiration.  One tree.  Many ornaments.  Many photos.

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Dog Days


It's time for another one of those rants.

Therapy dogs are frequently showing up on college campuses to help students get over the stress of finals.

Let's establish something.  I love dogs, and if I had the time and my schedule allowed, I'd rescue another in a heartbeat.  Unconditional love.  Walks.  Fresh air.  Exercise.  I really miss not having a dog.  As I've said before, no matter how miserable things were going, it was wonderful to see a friendly face when you walked in the door.

I will also admit that college life can be extremely stressful.  Please refer to one of my entries from a couple of weeks ago for a story on that.

Be that as it may, the easiest way to a stress-free finals week is to go to class and pay attention, and then study, study hard,  before the final arrives.  Walk into that testing classroom with confidence.

I will note that, as I showed in that earlier blog entry, that while there are some things that will be over your head, at least studying hard gives you a fighting chance.

Monday, December 4, 2023

Wink and Radio


Happy birthday, Wink Martindale!

The DJ and game show host is 90 today.

While I was never a huge fan of the shows Martindale hosted, I do appreciate his talent.  I've heard Martindale's radio work and its outstanding.  The man has the voice and the patter.

Here is why I love the guy.  Wink has a You Tube channel featuring old game show clips, including unsold pilots.  Those pilots are fascinating.  There are some great concepts that should have sold.  Most of the others were pretty bad, and you can see why networks and syndicators ran away.  I can't believe producers/creators thought there would be a market for the shows they were trying to sell.  Convoluted, complicated concepts.  Mark Goodson had it right.  The famed game show producer said a good game is simple, and you have to be able to play along at home.  Goodson's "Match Game" and "The Price is Right" are perfect examples.  Non Goodson shows like "Jeopardy!,"  "Pyramid," and "Wheel of Fortune" are further proof of how important the simplicity/play at home concept is.  Just look at the decades they've been on the air, just about unchanged from day one.

Wink, happy birthday, and thank you for celebrating the game show genre.

There are a couple of items on today's agenda, and both deal with radio. 

KNBR is a legendary station in San Francisco.  NBC/General Electric owned it for years.  There was a short time it was part of the company that also owned the station where I worked, WARM.

Be that as it may, the current owners gutted KNBR last week, firing long time employees and getting rid of the digital division.  A nightly sports call-in show, that had been on the air for 51 years, is gone and replaced by network radio.

The highways are littered the the carcasses of companies that thought they could cut their way to increased profitability.  Investing in the product is a foreign concept.  How about increasing listenership by making it better?  It just makes me sad.

On a much happier note, our friends at Froggy 101 are raising money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Thursday and Friday.  Several people you might know are dropping by for short shifts to lend a hand, and I'll be there Thursday morning at 9.  Happy to be asked.  Happy to help.

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Andy's Angles: Fall Wrap


I know I'm not the first and only person to say this, but I didn't think the fall colors were all that great this year.

This is another shot from the Lackawanna River, from late October.  There were plenty of yellows and browns, and not much else.  Even though this year was weak, fall here in our area is still a delight.

Now, it's time for winter.

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Andy's Angles: Leftover


It is that time of the year again-- getting rid of fall leftovers before Christmas pictures and the yearly Top Ten countdown take over this space.

Before the Christmas lights really explode, this can be a grey period on the calendar.  Let's change that with this shot from along the Lackawanna River.  It was taken back in late October.  The red really popped in the morning sun, and with the other fall colors in the background.

Friday, December 1, 2023



My only surprise is the swiftness.

The Scranton Times-Tribune and its sister newspapers were sold a couple of months ago.  Its buildings in Hazleton and Wilkes-Barre are up for sale.

It was recently revealed that the new owners have as many people working from home as possible.  The rest will be moved into an office building about a block away.  The family that once owned the paper keeps the building at Penn and Spruce, sorry, Biden,  and the radio stations on the top floor.

There is old saying in broadcasting.  All that counts is what gets on the air.  The audience doesn't care if you're working in a shack or the Taj Mahal.  It's the same with newspapers.  The only thing that really matters is what gets in print, or now, on the web site.

It's still sad.  You can't help thinking about all the words and photographs that came out of here-- the good stories, the bad, the ads, the obituaries, the births, life, death...  It wasn't really Christmas Eve until the afternoon paper arrived, with that bulletin saying surveillance photos and radar spotted something that appeared to be a sleigh, piloted by a fat man in red, and led by nine reindeer.

It's just a building.  The only difference now is the mail goes to a different address.  This is prime real estate.  The owners won't have any problems repurposing the place.

Even though the radio studios up top are landmarks, maybe they'll get moved down a bit, to a floor with windows.  I don't know how the staff spends all day without daylight.  Bless them!

I wonder if the lighted "Times" sign up top comes down.  I wonder if the first floor lettering comes off.

Stay tuned!