News

The Newsroom’s top 5 at 5: BREAKING NEWS

February 14th, 2014 at 3:44 pm by under 10 On Your Side, Community, News, Personalities, Politics, Uncategorized

TomBREAKING_optSo much of what we do is getting, what we hope,  are accurate and fair accounts of the day’s events on the air and online in a timely manner.  But as media progressively marches toward split-second immediacy, there is a little time to process what is happening.  Case in point: Today’s shooting the Gallery at Military Circle in Norfolk .

As soon as I opened the door to our newsroom, News Director Jim Gilchriest told me “get your face on, we have a shooting inside a mall.”  My blood pressure quickly rose for a split second as I asked where.   My request was met with silence.  I quickly brushed on some powder and ran to our newsroom camera.  Asst.  News Director Mark Kurtz handed me a bulletin from Norfolk P0lice.  In the rush to mic-up, someone yelled about graphic video.   Executive Producer Bob Bennett was in the producer’s booth, and told me to stand-by.  All while Jim was telling me to issue a disclaimer about video that may be inappropriate for younger viewers.   So in a matter of five minutes,  between leaving my car in the parking lot, and entering the newsroom, I was on the air with Jason Marks and the lead story of what you’ll see at 5.  Here are the other 4 things to watch for tonight.

Ava Hurdle gets the news of shooting inside Military Circle Mall

Ava Hurdle gets the news of shooting inside Gallery at Military Circle.

2.)   Mall shoppers at the scene  Ava Hurdle is getting stories from others inside the mall at the time of the shooting.

3.)  Judge rules against same-sex marriage ban   10 on your side broke the story on air last night during our late news Thursday night.  Tonight Stephanie Harris talks to two men at the center of this lawsuit who found the judge’s opinion ”so moving we read it and cried.”

4.)   Religious reaction  The Catholic Diocese of Richmond says the ruling  “contradicts the wisdom and understanding of the ages.”  Anita Blanton talked to a number of religious groups who say this decision redefines marriage and the family.

5.)  Police: woman admits killing her son   Erin Kelly is following these startling developments from Franklin in the case of a six year old’s murder.

Nicole and I will see you at 5.


The Newsroom’s top 5 at 5: What does the Fox say?

February 13th, 2014 at 3:17 pm by under 10 On Your Side, Community, News, Personalities, Uncategorized
Andy Fox in a tender moment with former WAVY anchor Alveta Ewell

Andy Fox in a tender moment with former WAVY anchor Alveta Ewell

“I got your lead!”

It’s a boastful tone answered by drops of sarcasm and rolled eyes among residents of the WAVY Newsroom, which,  in many ways,  is the Fox’s den.   Andy Fox is a larger than big screen image in your living rooms nearly every night.   He’s the guy who’s “past perpendicular” while fighting hurricane winds on the Outer Banks.  He’s the guy advocating “Justice for Jenny,” the young woman with Down Syndrome who wanted to choose her own guardians.  Finally, he’s the guy who asks tough questions every day of those charged with running our local and state governments.  In short,  Andy Fox is on your side, and is nearly always one of the five stories to look for on WAVY News starting at 5.

1.) The Fox on tolls     Andy is definitely one of the five things to look for, when he’s  on toll patrol.   This time, he shows how far many of you will literally go to avoid them.   He dug up some new numbers today, that you’ll want to see beginning at 5. 

2.)  Taking too much of a toll    Anita Blanton expands on a story 10 on your side broke Wednesday:  Elizabeth River Crossings admitted overcharging on some vehicles.  You hear from one of those drivers tonight. 

Andy Fox: Always smiling

Andy Fox: Always smiling

3.)  Winter won’t let go   Hampton Roads got just a taste of what the rest of the South had shoved down its throat from nature.   We may have endured a third snowstorm; but it quickly melted away.  However, our southern neighbors are digging out again.   Erin Kelly is at Norfolk International Airport where passengers are dealing with cancelled flights and delays in other snowed in cities.    This latest storm knocked out power to 100,000 customers in North Carolina.  Is there more on the way?  You might be surprised when you tune in at 5.

4.) Thinking about mental health    Stephanie Harris is doing a lot more tonight.  She continues a series of special reports on what Virginia lawmakers are doing to help those who fall through the cracks of the current system.

5.)  Gloucester raid   Liz Palka is on a developing story on why two businesses were busted.  She’ll have more answers by 5. 

I’m still waiting to see if Andy has our lead tonight.  But it looks like we’ll be starting thing off in the Super Doppler 10 Weather Center.


The Newsroom’s top 5 at 5: When to talk

February 12th, 2014 at 2:38 pm by under 10 On Your Side, News, Personalities, Uncategorized

“We’re following Breaking News!”

The graphics, the music, the tone, command your attention, because something is happening now.  It’s how a well-oiled news operation works.  But speed must be tempered with accuracy and context.  Often times, Nicole Livas and I work without scripts in such fluid situations.  We filter information from our assignment desk through our producers and reporters, who often times communicate with us on the fly during big stories.  So Nicole and I must develop a feel for each other’s rhthym.   I’m often asked, “How do you know when to talk?”   My answer is simple, “when Nicole’s finished, I talk.”

It sounds easier than it is.  Timing comes from getting to know your co-anchor’s style, and move beyond the words.  Often times, it works like two guitar players finishing each other’s part.  Other times, someone steps on a word or two.  But, it’s the information that’s paramount–such as the five things to look for starting on WAVY News 10 at 5.

1.)  Wednesday winter storm or washout?  Once again, Hampton Roads’ frigid fight with the season takes center stage.  By the time you read this, it may be snowing in your neighborhood.  The Super Doppler 10 Weather Center is popping today.  Take a moment to see our weather blogs, where Jeremy Wheeler calls the developing scenario for the East Coast a “mess.”  But as I’ve said before, the forecast could change.  So tune in at 5.

2.) Williamsburg Winter   Those of you living on the peninsula could be on the edge of the worst local weather from this system, which is why we have Jason Marks on the road in Williamsburg.   He’ll make several appearances between 5 and 6:30 pm. 

3.)  Suffolk tragedy two-fold   In less than 12 hours,  two vehicles went into two different ponds in Suffolk, with deadly results.  One of the accidents claimed a young mother of two.  Art Kohn and Stephanie Harris have compelling interviews you’ll see throughout our 90 minutes of news.

4.)  HRBT revisited    Andy Fox investigates what happened when a metal plate through a man’s truck shut down the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel and I-64 during Tuesday’s rush hour.  He has a long list of questions for VDOT. 

5.)  Two buck minimum  Democrats in the Virginia Senate narrowly passed a two dollar increase in the state’s minimum wage to $9.25.    The GOP controlled House of Delegates may have other ideas. 

Nicole and I will be ready for these stories and other “breaking news” scenerios beginning at 5. 

 


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
NewsroomTroll

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.                   

NewsroomTyphW

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.


ANNOUNCEMENT: I’m NOT Gay… but my brother was.

February 10th, 2014 at 3:09 pm by under Community, Health, News, Personalities, Politics, Sports, Uncategorized

Michael ROBERTS died in 1985… of AIDS. When he finally “came out of the closet” he went straight to a hospital bed. Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome ravaged his body. At peak health he stood six feet three, two hundred twenty five pounds. At death, I could’ve carried him in one arm while holding a stack of his lesson plans in the other. The only things that terrified this former middle school teacher -as much as the disease’s death sentence- were having to tell our parents he was ill- and why.

Michael also worried about another thing… the world finding out about his illness through the efforts of a persistent reporter. Consider the times: In ’85,  the average Joe and Jane  were terrified of being in the SAME ROOM with someone who was gay. Homosexual black males were at high risk of contracting AIDS and HIV, then. And, too many people thought they could “catch it” if an infected person just breathed on you.  So, a teacher, with AIDS, and charged with caring for 30 rambunctious kids all day? That would have been BREAKING NEWS. Thankfully, my big bro’s “story” never made the headlines.

Michael Sam_image Michael Sam -3 nfl_mortscheft_sam

 

 

 

 

Fast forward 30 years to 2014… another MICHAEL, (about the same SIZE as my brother) is proudly telling the world he is gay. Michael Sam  made an ANNOUNCEMENT on ESPN. My, My, My, how times have changed. SAM, a star defensive end at UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI, thus could become the first openly gay  player in the NFL. Now, I’m as guilty as the next man of selective amnesia – my initial reaction to SAM’S interview with ESPN was- “Why do you have to make an announcement? Your sexual preferences are your business! Just do your talking on the field!” Up to this point, there are no “known” homosexual players in the NFL. Guys have said they suspect there are some on each team, but with hyper aggressive players like Ritchie Incognito running roughshod over locker rooms, it’s no surprise no one dares speak up.

KATIE COLLETT heard me thinking out loud this a-m and offered a timely perspective- that may or may not have been SAM’S’ thinking. She said she, too, has a gay relative. And that relative endured some stressful times due to lack of acceptance in the broader, heterosexual community. But, here’s where she hit the nail on the head. She said – maybe MICHAEL SAM “came out” so the next kid won’t have to… He, or she, can just “be.”

I immediately thought of the Rutgers University student who committed suicide after his roommate posted video of him in a sexual act with his male partner. Gay student Tyler Clementi _190-articleInline-v2

Tyler Clementi  told his parents he was gay, just days before heading off to college.

Michael SAM will soon be graduating, I imagine, with his head held high, and fully capable of “taking off” anyone else’s head who wants to give him some grief over being gay. Good luck in the draft, the locker room, the field, and life.

Michael ROBERTS hated football. But I wouldn’t be surprised if he looked down from the heavenly grandstand to applaud a good hit.


The Newsroom: Top 5 at 5.

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

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!


Ref lose control of Old Dominion vs UTEP game

February 9th, 2014 at 12:48 am by under News, Sports, Uncategorized

Players have bad games, coaches have bad games and they are always held accountable by both the fans and the media. Win or lose after the game they meet the press sometimes with a smile, sometimes with their heads hung low.

Referees and officials also at times have bad games, not very often in my opinion, but every once in a while it happens and since they are such a big part of the contest they too have to be held accountable.

So let me say basketball officials Tim Gattis, Greg Rennegarbe and Brent Dugas had a bad night in Norfolk, Virginia tonight.

Gattis, Rennegarbe and Dugas refereed the Old Dominion game against UTEP. It ended as expected with the USA Conference leading Minors blowing out the home team 63-49. Coach Tim Floyd’s team is big, athletic and deep. Even without the three players kicked off the team last month after gambling allegations forced the school to report the alleged infractions to the FBI, UTEP is good. Old Dominion is in a rebuilding year and began the game with a surprising 5-3 conference record.

Old Dominion coach Jeff Jones has done a wonderful job in just a few months remaking what had been a decimated team. Jones a former player and head coach at the University of Virginia was a fiery competitor in his younger years, but transformed into a more mature and calculating teacher after a dozen years at American University in Washington, D.C. If I were to guess, I would say he was worth maybe one technical a year.

Jones got his annual “T” just two minutes into tonight’s game.

Gattis, Rennegarbe and Dugas had to be out of breath after this one. They called 52 personal fouls, three technical fouls and a flagrant foul. The calls pretty much evened out on both sides. Although UTEP was clearly the better team, causing ODU to play sloppy basketball, it was also evident the officials called a sloppy game. Gattis has been calling NCAA contests since 1996, he has several NCAA tournament appearances under his belt, so he is no rookie. Rennegarbe and Dugas are veterans too, and normally come and go where nobody knows their name.

Not tonight.

I have been covering Old Dominion basketball for 39 years. I have never seen a fan being escorted out of game by police for yelling at an official, until tonight. One was tossed by a referee, and I am not sure what was said. The second was thrown out by an Old Dominion police officer sitting behind the UTEP bench. Not sure what was said there either, or why the officer took it upon his or her self to make that call. Perhaps a re-evaluation of ODU’s “throwing fans out of the building procedure” might be in order.

The bottom line is, the game was out of control from the opening minutes. And it is the responsibility of the referees to not let that happen. We may never know why. Coach Jones knew that with one technical already under his belt a second would most likely lead to a suspension meaning he would not be able to accompany his young team on its road trip to North Texas next week. All he could do was spend the entire game standing in front of his bench with his arms folded and his mouth shut while he glared at the officials.

When players mess up, they are called out and sometimes benched. When coaches mess up they face the music as well. Tonight, Tim Gattis, Greg Rennegarbe and Brent Dugas called one of the worst game I’ve ever seen. They would not face the media like players and coaches do win or lose after every game to explain what happened. Company policy I am sure.

But, like at least two angry fans, they too had to be escorted out of the building by the police. Something that is not supposed to happen on a Saturday night at a Conference USA basketball game.


No Valentine’s Candy?

February 7th, 2014 at 11:57 pm by under Health, News, Personalities

I stumbled upon this article on Fox News’ website about a ban on Valentine’s candy at a Connecticut school. It basically reports the school principal sent a letter home to parents reminding them not to have any food products attached to their child’s Valentine’s cards. Now, it’s been a while since I’ve been in school, but I remember being excited to send and receive candy grams, flowers, stuffed animals and cards for Valentine’s Day.

AP photo

AP photo

This ban at Harwinton Consolidated School is part of an effort to “encourage healthy practices and manage food choices in classrooms where allergies are present.”  I posted a question on my Facebook page asking for feedback. Reaction was varied, but it seems most people understood the need to regulate candy and junk food for health purposes.

Joanne posted, I think you have to be more cautious as to what you send because of food allergies.”

Chris wrote, “A friend of mine who is a dietitian took over for the church school cafeteria. She and I could wide changes in the cafeteria policy that included a sugar free menu, healthy vegetable, fruit for dessert, and silent lunches. They got rid of the pop and candy machines. There was such a dramatic change in the kids behavior with them not being hyped up on junk food and having a period during the day were they could rest their minds. But I still think it’s fun to celebrate the holidays.” Although Sherry and Mark think it’s going overboard. Sherry posted, “There are certain things that are right of passage for kid. Adults have gotten so strict they have forgotten that is fun for the kids. At this point their childhood is going to be ruined. I am so glad I grew up in the 70′s.” Mark added, “Seriously? Kids eat lots of candy.”

Maybe it’s a good opportunity for parents and teachers to teach kids to celebrate the holiday in a different way? Maybe they can work on their writing and drawing and spend more time making creative cards for their friends and family. I guess at some point we could all use a break from sugar.

 


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!