10 On Your Side

The Newsroom’s Top 5 at 5:

February 11th, 2014 at 2:42 pm by under 10 On Your Side, Community, News, Personalities, Uncategorized, Weather

10 on your side troll sees all

We call it ”The Live Center:”  A bank of monitors and equipment used to “tune in” live reports from our various crews in the field.  It’s also commonly referred to as the “Troll.”  It’s the electronic brain for a square of scanners, televisions, desks, computers, and cables–the true nerve center of the newsroom.  It is here assignment editor Typhanny Wiggins calls out the nuggets of information which are woven together into a developing story.   There’s something more urgent about the human voice calling our attention, than a silent top-line alert on our individual screens.  The former is a call to action, while the latter can get lost.   We compete for your attention everyday,  just as the voice from the assignment desk commands our focus for breaking news.  Here are my 5 stories to  watch starting on WAVY News 10 at 5.  

1.)  Winter Storm Warning for Dare County.   All eyes are still on the skies as our meteorologists track that winter storm moving into Virginia and North Carolina, with the Outer Banks in line for possible snow.   Our latest weather blogs show Hampton Roads may dodge a real blast from winter.      But tracks and temperature forecasts change often enough to warrant your tuning in at 5 to get the latest information.                   


WAVY-TV Assignment Editor Typhanny Wiggins

2.) North Carolina Governor declares state of emergency.   Which brings us to an ounce of preparation, or should we say 1500 tons.   That’s how much salt’s been laid by NCDOT crews in anticipation of what could be a 1-2 punch storm.  Governor Pat McCrory says the goal here is to be “over prepared.”  Sounds like the drill everyday in the WAVY newsroom.

3.) Will Atlanta slip again?   Nature has been merciless on those areas least prepared to deal with her cold shoulder.  Who could forget the miles of interstate stilled by ice and snow in Atlanta.  Stephanie Harris will tell us if the Peach state can keep its balance in this next go around.

4.)  Sinking the floating junkyard.    Anita Blanton is on your side following the progress of a Norfolk family and their fight to have abandoned boats removed in a waterway near their home.

5.)   Police scam.   Portsmouth police are warning the elderly and others of a trusting nature to watch out for someone posing as a police officer and public official asking for donations.   One phone call cost a 73 year old woman $81,000. 

Typhanny will of course shout out any other story that breaks between now and 5.  Remember, you heard it here first.

The Newsroom: Top 5 at 5.

February 10th, 2014 at 2:28 pm by under 10 On Your Side, News, Personalities

WAVY’s Asst. News Director Mark Kurtz oversees Executive Producer Bob Bennett.

“Attention stations!”

It’s a commanding electronic voice that conveys an urgent need to listen.  We call it the “squawk box:” NBC’s pipeline to local stations which informs our newsroom about stories of national or even world significance.  The voice on the other end may tell us President Obama is preparing for a newsconference, or that video is coming of a wildfire in California.   Our early evening 90 minutes of news is primarily local, however, so any bulletins shouted from the network will be carefully reviewed by our producers and management staff before inclusion in our days events immediately preceeding “NBC Nightly News. ”  

“Are we doing enough weather?”  shouted Assistant News Director Mark Kurtz.  Which brings me to the first of five things to watch on WAVY News 10 beginning at 5:

1.)  Winter’s worn out welcome.  Here we go again.   We have not one, but TWO chances of snow this week.  The hour to hour probabilities are detailed in a series of excellent blogs composed by members of our weather team.  But any obeserver of meteorology knows the forecast changes hour to hour.  Thus, you need to watch the latest forecast beginning at 5.

2.)  Saturday school?  Erin Kelly spoke with a member of the school board in Virginia Beach about the recent decision to make up snow days on Saturdays, which riled both parents and students.  What this board member said may surprise you.

3.) Give us just a little more time  Which brings us to another school district and how it plans to make up snow days, without having students attend extra days.   There’s a logical explanation.  You’ll see tonight.

4.)  Life in the cash lane?   A Norfolk City Councilman wants an all cash lane at the Downtown Tunnel.   Anita Blanton is working the story, and she’ll tell us why he’s pushing for it.

5.)  Eminent domain scam?    By now you may have seen our previews of a special report by Jason Marks about a man from Virginia Beach and his land deal with VDOT.  When he refused VDOT’s first offer,  the agency made a second offer, but its a practice that has some landowners calling it a scam.   This is a true example of how we’re on your side.  Jason spent two months researching this story.  You’ll see it at 6.

Nicole Livas and I will see you at 5!

The Newsroom

February 7th, 2014 at 2:52 pm by under 10 On Your Side, News, Personalities, Uncategorized

NewsroomSmall.jpgSo much of what you see between 5pm and 6:30 on WAVY-TV is the result of many minds and hands working feverishly behind the scenes.  As one of the anchors of the evening news, I work with a stable of talented reporters, producers, editors, photographers, directors, and the list goes on.   WAVY.com has a small but dedicated staff feeding a digital beast with an insatible appetite for content.   So, whether you download an app, log on, or hit the remote at 4:58 PM,  here are five things to look for in our 90 minutes of news.

Our 5pm producer Stephanie Duke is watching two monitors at her desk, and warns me not to take her picture.  As she juggles the show rundown, Stephanie barely makes eye contact with me, as she says “we’re hearing from a lot of parents in Virginia Beach over those school snow days.”   Erin Kelly is working on a follow-up to a decision to have students go to school on Saturdays following last week’s bout with winter.  I’ll only say it has a religious tone.  (That’s what we call a ”tease.)   As we talk about those unlucky students, a bulletin comes in about a commerical plane landing in Turkey following a bomb threat tied to the Olympic Games in Sochi.

Laura Mammarella has taken the reigns of today’s 5:30 show, and tells me my co-anchor Nicole Livas,  is working the story of the recent coal ash spill, and why it may be worse than we first thought. 

WAVY producer Laura Mammarella

WAVY producer Laura Mammarella

Jessica Ross produces WAVY News 10 at 6, and talked about three new arrests in the death of a police officer, who disappeared five days ago.   Also,  Newport News police picked up more than two dozen people for participation in the world’s oldest profession.   Now it’s time for the afternoon meeting.  I’ll see you at 5!

Free At Last? Not Yet.

January 20th, 2014 at 9:35 am by under 10 On Your Side, Community, Health, News, Personalities, Politics, Uncategorized

mlk-_1389523638      I think an 85 year old ML KING would probably be crying today. SATURDAY a HANDFUL of Newport News residents took to the streets, in his name, MARCHING FOR PEACE. SUNDAY, two fools took to the same street, but just four blocks away- FIRING GUNS at each other. A 71 year old man got hit and killed. A Pastor VENTS -and calls for the MAYOR to “do something.” McKinley Price has – leading the effort to bring in a new top crime fighter. Police Chief RICHARD MYERS was sworn in Friday. Criminals were not impressed. But sadly, neither were/are some residents – residents who continue to look the other way -or have nothing to say- while these criminals continue to try and control the streets. *AND* this latest shooting comes on top of the ONGOING search for the guy who’s ATTACKING WOMEN. One victim told me he grabbed her bag- knocking her off her feet – just outside her house, around 430pm! And she says she LATER found out she was likely his 4th victim. She was frustrated at not having heard any alert or warning about the other 3 crimes -also in the south east community.

     If only more EAST END residents would VENT and say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, but also, finally realize their POWER!! You can do that- by doing 3 things TODAY: a-INTRODUCE YOURSELF TO THAT NEIGHBOR YOU DON’T KNOW; b- AGREE TO LOOK OUT FOR HIM/HER, AS THEY LOOK OUT FOR YOU; c- CALL 9-1-1, or that NEW CHIEF- directly!!! to report what you’ve seen- like that knucklehead that you know carries a gun- or deals drugs, or hides out in a specific public housing unit. Only when “we” realize that there are MORE good people than “bad”- and that EVIL can only FLOURISH when GOOD PEOPLE DO NOTHING- will we truly be Free At Last!


January 8th, 2014 at 10:55 am by under 10 On Your Side, Community, Health, Personalities

MARCIA D. BANKS-ALSTON imagesShe’s probably doing that right now- even though my sister-in-law, Marcia, is waking up in a Charlotte, North Carolina hospital room -minus her lower left leg.

Marcia seems to have always found a reason to smile- at least in the 30+ years I’ve know her. She would smile when one of her deaf and blind students would learn a new “sign” at the former Virginia School in Hampton. She’d proudly show off those pearly whites when one of her teens at a Newport News high school would “drop back in” to classes. And, recently, she couldn’t stop smiling as members of her Carolina church enthusiastically took their faith outside the sanctuary- and into some of Charlotte’s toughest neighborhoods. They swept streets and probably saved some souls in the process.

Today, Marcia is smiling through the pain-while believing that she’s beaten DIABETES. Oh, yeah! That debilitating illness may have claimed her leg, but not her spirit. And she would smile, knowing that, after YOU read this, you’re going to check with your doctor to assess your risk for it. Strange thing- neither Marcia’s dad or mother had diabetes. My side of the family? Dad HAD it, and  mom HAS it now. I know what I have to do: watch my weight, cut back on sugary, fatty and fried foods, drink more water, and step up the exercise. But how about YOU? Next check up- get tested.

Smiling through it all.

Smiling through it all.

Somehow, Marcia will know- or at least *feel it- as she goes on to claim a  VICTORY:

Marcia has this gift of a new day, and a new start to the rest of her life.

Downtown Tunnel Closures: What You Need to Know

October 25th, 2013 at 5:30 am by under 10 On Your Side, Traffic

Wondering about closures in the I-264 WB tube of the Downtown Tunnel? Read on. The entire schedule is below.

For the last several weekends, drivers have had to find an alternate to I-264 WB at the Downtown Tunnel to get to Portsmouth. Those drivers traveled instead through the Midtown Tunnel, the I-64 High Rise Bridge, or maybe even paid the toll and crossed the South Norfolk Jordan Bridge. Get ready for more changes at the Downtown Tunnel and at the alternates through the end of the year.

Starting this weekend, the Virginia Department of Transportation, in partnership with the Elizabeth River Tunnels Project team, will essentially close the WB tube seven nights a weeks, with some exceptions. VDOT says it’s responding to concerns about lost revenue for Portsmouth businesses.

So here are the changes:

The I-264 WB tube of the Downtown Tunnel will close 26 nights during the week and weekends with the exception of holidays and special events. The tunnel will be opened during the day and early evening hours throughout weekdays and the weekends.

The weekend changes begin THIS WEEKEND, October 25, 2013. I-264 WB will close at 8 p.m. and reopen by 8 a.m. weekends.

The weekday overnight closures begin on November 3, 2013. I-264 WB will close at 8 p.m. and reopen by 5 a.m. weekdays.

The I-264 WB tube will close during the weeknights 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. and weekend nights 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. through the rest of the year.

I-64 High Rise Bridge
Midtown Tunnel
South Norfolk Jordan Bridge (tolled road)

For our extensive coverage on the closures at the Downtown Tunnel, click here.

Heart and Sole

October 22nd, 2013 at 10:50 pm by under 10 On Your Side, News, Personalities, Uncategorized


Look at that adorable little boy’s smile! He’s just one of many children who got a new pair of shoes from The Got Sole Project.


These are pictures from their  distribution Sunday October 20 on the Eastern Shore.  Local realtor Laura Contreras Rowe founded the group three years ago to give back to the Hispanic community and from there, it grew. I stumbled upon it when I was looking for a place to donate my gently used running shoes. This is what Rowe emailed to me about the program,  “I started it 3 years ago after I had come off book tour. I wrote a book about Hispanic women role models, Aim High Extraordinary Stories of Hispanic and Latina Women. I wanted to give back to the Hispanic community so this was spot on what I was trying to achieve. We also donate shoes to 4 kids shelter in Norfolk and we do humanitarian relief. We donated all of our inventory last year to the victims of Sandy over 2,000 pairs of shoes.  Our charity has 7 amazing board members and without them none of this would be possible.”



These are just some of the pictures from The Got Sole distribution.  Check out their Facebook page for more photos and email them at TheGotSoleProject@gmail.com to volunteer or donate a pair of new or gently worn shoes. Just looking at the faces of the recipients you see- it makes a world of difference… call it “Heart and Sole”!


Headlines hit home: Cyber bullies and my grandchildren

October 17th, 2013 at 3:38 pm by under 10 On Your Side, News, Personalities

I love it when my 9 year old grandson, Christion, visits. He’s growing up so quickly! He has twin 6 year old “baby” sisters, Sonaia and Simone. And there’s one more- Leila- who’s 12. They are sooo smart- AND- very proficient with technology. Christion is my focus here. He and the “fam” all live in Roanoke. And, whenever they visit, Christion loves to play games on my cell  phone and laptop. He especially likes interacting with people, he thinks, are kids his age, in online “gaming” and other seemingly harmless sites. As soon as I figured out what he was doing, (Hey!, I’m 57! Yeah, yeah, no excuse) we limited his time, observed,  then just simply cut it off.  He admitted he didn’t personally know who he was talking to. Now, I’m hearing this troubling story: 12 and 14 year old girls could serve jail time for CYBER BULLYING 12 year old Rebecca Sedwick, pictured here. Rebecca couldn’t take it anymore, so, she committed suicide. CYBER bullying Rebecca Sedwick 1374118_583393441708647_1765423216_sAnd it appears the PARENTS of the two kids charged, and those whose kids bully- could bare responsibility. I was bullied when I was a kid – BUT I had great parental support, AND, I outgrew the bullies and their attacks. This online stuff is proving to be exponentially more dangerous since it’s PERMANENT, WORLDWIDE and ANONYMOUS!  Christion has limited access to computers at his home – as far as I know. But he has friends with cellphones, tablets and other connections. And then there are the kids will all that access, and NO SUPERVISION or, as we called it in my family- “no home training.”  Those kids could scar CHRISTION, for life, with one “tap.” I, and CHRISTION’S parents, will continue to monitor what he does online, and shut it down if we don’t approve. We have to. Lives are at stake. We’ll “train him up” as best we know how, and keep pointing him in the “right” direction. Then, we’ll turn him loose on the world – hoping and praying  he’ll “turn ‘it’ off”  on his own, and just TALK to someone FACE TO FACE! How ’bout that for a unique idea?

Downtown Tunnel CLOSURES

July 16th, 2013 at 11:25 am by under 10 On Your Side, News, Personalities, Traffic

This is not going to be good news for my co-workers heading to work at the WAVY-TV 10 studios in Portsmouth.

Starting August 9, the westbound tube of the Downtown Tunnel will be CLOSING on the weekends, from 8 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday, pretty much through to next spring. And beginning August 5th, look for lane closures overnight from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m.

That means those of us coming from Norfolk, Chesapeake or Virginia Beach into Portsmouth will have to find an alternate.

Why is this happening? Elizabeth River Crossings is starting rehab work in the westbound tube starting in August, which is designed to make it safer and more energy-efficient.

No doubt, we’ll bring you more details in the coming weeks, but be prepared for added congestion at the Downtown Tunnel’s alternates: the Midtown Tunnel, the I-64 High Rise Bridge, or Military Highway at the Gilmerton Bridge. The situation might compel some drivers to use the tolled South Norfolk Jordan Bridge.

Exact dates of the work are listed here at the ERC website. Just be aware the westbound tube of the Downtown Tunnel will be CLOSED most of the weekends (with the exception of holidays and some other events) until the spring of 2014.

10 on your side: behind the scenes

April 5th, 2013 at 3:47 pm by under 10 On Your Side, News, Personalities, Uncategorized
Hand of producer pushing button to talk to anchor on the set.

Hand of producer pushing button to talk to anchor on the set.

   With the rise of the online world and social media, more information is available to us than ever before.   You are gracious enough to let us into your homes daily, but you don’t always get that extra look at how information gets to you.  Here then is a look behind the scenes; pictures I snapped around the station, to provide an additional angle of the news and a candid look at just some of the journalists and production specialists  on which you depend daily.  That’s 10 on your side.