Personalities

Good News!

November 7th, 2014 at 1:57 pm by under Community, Health, Military, News, Personalities, Uncategorized

      It just occurred to me that this could be a great space for some good news. And I think I’ve found one great source: the military. Every other day it seems I receive an email-news release from a military communications person trumpeting an accomplishment of a local member of the armed forces.  To be honest I had not given the emails much thought because, er, um, uh, because,  I-we, had more pressing matters – BREAKING NEWS!!!  TODAY’S BIG CRIME, or what I call- the “FREAK OF THE WEEK!”  Spotlighting a local kid doing his job just didn’t register in the fog of the daily news battle to find the BEST STORY I can.  

      But when I looked this picture, it just happened to occur to me- this IS  a great story. A kid, 2 years out of high school and, at times, thousands of miles away, is making his parents proud, by doing his job exceptionally well. BUT ALSO, this is a picture of two African American men in the “news,”  and they haven’t committed a crime!    Work with me now, on this Friday, as I look back on the news week. I’ve reported on the Virginia man accused of kidnapping a Philadephia woman- black; the Heather Graham suspect-black; and about a dozen other would-be criminals AND VICTIMS – all black males. Then, I check my email, pop open the attachment and VOILA! Two smiling faces-and they haven’t committed any crimes!!  Here are the details from the NAVY writer:  (Oct. 30, 2014) – “Airman Corey J. Jefferson (right), a native of Chesapeake, Virginia, and 2012 graduate of Kings Fork High School, received the award for Bluejacket of the Quarter aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) , Oct. 30. 141030-N-KL846-044

uss makin island

                “The Bluejacket of the Quarter (BJOQ) award recognizes the achievements of a Sailor between the ranks of E-1 to E-3. With approximately 1,200 Sailors aboard Makin Island, there were many within that range vying for the honor. ”It means a lot to me,” Jefferson said. “I am glad I get to represent the ship as the BJOQ. Jefferson is responsible for many of the ship’s pumps and equipment that provide clean, clear and bright JP-5 fuel to the aircraft, assault vehicles and support equipment. “I have a lot of fun doing my job. The people I work with make me want to come to work each day,” he said. Jefferson joined the Navy following in the footsteps of his father and his step-father, a machinist’s mate first class petty officer and damage controlman chief petty officer, respectively. ”Growing up seeing my Dad advance in the military gave me the drive to want to follow in what he did for his country,” said Jefferson. Jefferson is now looking to gain more experience and gain rank while taking advantage of the military’s educational opportunities. Makin Island, the flagship the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), and the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), are currently deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. For more news from USS Makin Island (LHD 8), visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd8/.”  Corey Jefferson’s story follows a day after another great story that just so happened to involve the military-doing-good, and- African Americans.Don Roberts Unsung Hero Awards (22)Take a look at all these smiling faces. More about them all on my Facebook page. But, let me key you in on the guy to the left of the two beautiful ladies.  Back in November 1979, Bob Walters was a coast guard enlisted man stationed in Alaska. He and two others responded to a distress call. A ship with about 90 people on board had run aground and was in danger of sinking while being battered by high waves and wind. He and the crew went above and beyond to save dozens of lives. The tall gentleman to the right of the lady in blue, former USMC Master Sergeant Maurice Williams, was a SNIPER- during three tours of Viet Nam. His military colleagues say he had undocumented “kills” that put him in the league with the Marine Corps elite. And that, while he survived being shot, taken POW(tortured, shattered several vertebrae and a hip), Agent Orange exposure, prostate cancer, AND P-T-S-D!  Both Williams and Walters were among those honored in the SUNTRUST (BANK) “UNSUNG HEROES AWARDS” program at NAUTICUS.  Thank you, SUNTRUST, NAUTICUS, CBRE, and, the MILITARY, for the good news. 

 


Nicole’s Notes: Great food, great event, great cause!

October 15th, 2014 at 9:42 pm by under News, Personalities, The Hampton Roads Show, Uncategorized

Another great year of food, fun, and an auction to benefit the March of Dimes. The Signature Chefs event was held Sunday, October 12 at the Founders Inn and Spa in Virginia Beach.

March Of Dimes Signature Chefs' dishes

March Of Dimes Signature Chefs’ dishes

Local chefs whipped up a variety of dishes and donated culinary and travel packages to the live auction.

Chris Reckling emceeing

Chris Reckling emceeing

Nicole and Chris Reckling Photo from Wayne Pellenberg

Nicole and Chris Reckling
Photo from Wayne Pellenberg

Chris Reckling, co-host of the Hampton Roads Show was the emcee. I’ve emceed this event for the past several years, but attended as a guest with my dad and sister. The March of Dimes did ask me to fulfill a favor and participate by introducing a special honoree.

Nicole introducing Brian Winfield. Photo from Wayne Pellenberg

Nicole introducing Brian Winfield.
Photo from Wayne Pellenberg

I was honored to tell the guests about Brian Winfield. With the blessing of his lovely wife of 41 years, Carol, he has worked hard to volunteer and raise money for the organization.

Honoree and longtime volunteer Brian Winfield with family Photo from Wayne Pellenberg

Honoree and longtime volunteer Brian Winfield with family
Photo from Wayne Pellenberg

Honoree Brian Winfield speaking about his years of volunteering for the March of Dimes Photo from Wayne Pellenberg

Honoree Brian Winfield speaking about his years of volunteering for the March of Dimes
Photo from Wayne Pellenberg

Over the past three decades, Brian convinced people to participate in walks in Virginia Beach and Norfolk, volunteer and help raise funds for the organization so the research can continue to help premature babies and their mothers.

Honoree Brian Winfield speaking to guests Photo from Wayne Pellenberg

Honoree Brian Winfield speaking to guests
Photo from Wayne Pellenberg

He told the guests his healthy children and grandchildren inspired him to do his part to make sure other children stood a chance. Mr. Winfield’s family was there to cheer him on for this honor.

Guests at the March Of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction

Guests at the March Of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction

Susan Smith from the March of Dimes told me they raised $100,000!  Special recognition to Chef John Maclure from Tradewinds Restaurant in Virginia Beach for “Most Outstanding Presentation” and Chef Melinda Wilkins from Culinary Institute of Virginia won “Best Dessert”.

The food was great, the music was good and there was such a wonderful spirit in the air. It’s an event I always look forward to!

Nicole with Stephanie Cooke, Executive Producer of The Hampton Roads Show

Nicole with Stephanie Cooke, Executive Producer of The Hampton Roads Show

Chris Reckling and Nicole Livas

Chris Reckling and Nicole Livas

If you want to help the March of Dimes, check out their webpage for volunteer opportunities and to donate money.

(Special thanks to  Wayne Pellenberg, Neptune Video Creations LLC for the professional pictures from the night of the event.)

 

 


Doubting Thomas

September 29th, 2014 at 2:35 pm by under 10 On Your Side, Community, Health, Military, News, Personalities, Uncategorized

Doubting Thomas

What would you do? I was driving through a neighborhood and saw a man, lying on the street. In those few seconds- as best I could determine from a moving vehicle- he didn’t move. First thought- “keep on going. He’s sleeping ‘it’ off.” Second thought: “Uh oh. What if he just collapsed from some other health problem and was dying; or maybe he was a victim of a hit-and-run, or, he just got ‘jacked’?” I ran through a bunch of other “What If’s” by the time I’d gotten two blocks away. My answer to one of those questions was – DO SOMETHING.

This happened Saturday evening along busy Warwick Boulevard in the “trendy” Hilton area of Newport News. Who knows how long he’d been there? I’m guessing – dozens of other drivers passed him by, too, as I had to wait a traffic light cycle or two to make my U. As I doubled back, I realized I was just a couple of blocks away from the GOODWILL and CHKD second hand stores. U-turn complete and… he was still there. Still not moving. I pulled over, parked and headed for him.

If he’s unresponsive, or obviously hurt, of course I’m going to dial 9-1-1. But what if he’s just “sleeping it off” or mentally ill, and he’s “clingy” or violent, what do I do then? (Don’t know KARATE- I watched for 3 years as my son trained for his black belt. It’s been ’bout 50 years since my last STREET FIGHT. Hey, I can still run!) Those thoughts- and the standard one from my wife: “CALL 9-1-1.”

No. I had to personally get involved.

I reach the guy. He looked like a younger Tommie Lee Jones, but with white hair. “Hey, brother, you alright?” He actually looked kind of comfortable on the manicured edge of a bank’s property. He jerked in reaction to my voice, then said: “Who the f— wants to know?” Back and forth for about a minute- I’m asking him obligatory questions- he’s cussing me out for disturbing him. And, as we go at it, I notice both his lower legs are metallic. And his 3rd leg, a cane, is on the ground, just out of reach. His eyes are glazed, but not quite bloodshot. He’s angry at the world, still cussin’. And then he loudly proclaims: “I’M GOING STRAIGHT TO HELL! I KNOW IT!” And then he gives me an exaggerated, wide-eyed look as if he’s trying to scare the h— out of me! I am scared, but I’m not running. He said his name was THOMAS. He quickly corrected that and then called himself “Doubting Thomas.”

I’m now “Paralyzed Don.” What do I do now? I’ve engaged him, he’s in need of some kind of help; he’s angry, possible drunk; I’ve got no answers, and, I’m not going to just walk away. I make the cliched offer: “Can I get you something to eat?” And then I step across my wife’s line – “Want a ride to the shelter?” He answers “No! I’ve had a ‘couple’- and the Mission won’t take you if you’ve been drinking.”

So now what? Thomas says someone ripped off his bag with all his stuff. Coat’s gone, too, and it’s going to be cold again tonight. Aha! There is something I CAN DO. But, what’s my exit strategy? THOMAS needs help. He doesn’t want me to do anything but to get out of his way so he can got to H—. Now, standing on his tennis-shoe-wrapped metalic feet, I guess he saw how hopeless I looked. I wasn’t preaching, or offering him any money. And he wasn’t going to stick around for the 9-1-1 guys.

I let him go, got in my car and u-turned toward the GOOD WILL. They had a nice peacoat onsale for  ONLY 8.99. Now, to find him. THOMAS perched himself between two dumpsters behind a 7-11. He seemed surprised I found him. Thomas reminded me he was on his way to H—. But he doesn’t have to be cold along the way. Thomas saw what was in my hand and rejected it. I told him I’d leave the coat on the side of the dumpster incase he changed his mind. As I walked away, he said… Thanks.  He’s probably still out there. What should I have done? How about you?  And, one more thing: On the day I’m writing this, I just happened to find this post on my facebook page- a homeless guy named RONALD, telling his story. Tell me what you think, here, or on my facebook page.  Thanks.

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=707368385974326&set=vb.100001035124435&type=2&theater

Homeless-2


Nicole’s Notes: Friday Night Flights 2014 Kickoff

September 6th, 2014 at 12:32 am by under News, Personalities, Sports, Uncategorized

School’s back in session, high school football games have started and students, teachers and staff are ready to show their pride. And it’s a tradition to have me kick off the season for Friday Night Flights. After writing some stories for the newscasts and wavy.com, and anchoring the 5 and 6pm news on WAVY, I changed clothes and got buckled up in Chopper 10 with photographer Chris Omahen (seen below) and pilot Steve Decker.

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 It’s always a beautiful flight over Hampton Roads and tonight was no different. We landed at Lake Taylor High School first for their game against Phoebus.

In Chopper 10 above Lake Taylor game

In Chopper 10 above Lake Taylor game

You could see the sea of red from up above and we received warm greetings from the second we landed.

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Hanging with the Lake Taylor cheerleaders

WAVY photographer Chris Omahen is a Lake Taylor grad! He's shooting highlights of his alma mater's football game.

WAVY photographer Chris Omahen is a Lake Taylor grad! He’s shooting highlights of his alma mater’s football game.

The cheerleaders helped me toss out the WAVY footballs to the crowd. They certainly have a better arm than I do! They are excited about what the new school year holds. The Titans have a lot to be proud of as they start the new school year. They have a new field house for the visiting team which just opened up tonight.

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Lake Taylor High School’s new field hous

But principal Dr. Reba Jacobs-Miller is most proud of the students’ academic achievements and honors heading into this new year. She told me, “We had the highest graduation completion index of all of the schools in Norfolk so we are very excited about that. We were recognized at our convocation. It actually has the students who are seniors now excited about graduating because they know we will provide the assistance that’s needed to be successful.”

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From Lake Taylor we headed to Chesapeake and Western Branch High School. They won their game with Bethel. They have some of best fans in Hampton Roads. It was a theme of school spirit and family support at the  game. When we flew in range, we realized it was halftime and the band was taking the field. Once we landed, they entertained us and we saw a sea of neon green in the stands. It’s actually a show of support for a former P.E. teacher and J.V. coach Stuart Baiza who was recently diagnosed with cancer.

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Student Alex Abbey told me, “We were actually already doing neon night but we wanted to come out here and his cancer color is green and we wanted to support him and his family by wearing green.”

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Teacher Stuart Baiza and family. Students wore neon green to the game in support of Mr. Baiza’s cancer fight.

It was a spirit-lifting for Mr. Baiza who told me, “It just lets me know I don’t have to go through it alone these kids have been great. Being a teacher of theirs and to have them come through in my time of need. It’s a big honor.” He was at the game with his wife and little girl.  What a great show of support!

UPDATE: Stuart’s mom Colleen Rees emailed me a heartwarming email full of gratitude after seeing our report. She gave me permission to share some of it which read, “Stuart was concerned that the focus be on the kids accomplishments and I think you tied the two issues together beautifully.  Stuart was diagnosed on the 19th of August – nearly 3 months after his son Leighton was born – we have been in a spiral since then.  The whole night was very special – not only was it wonderful to see the kids come up to Stuart and wish him well but also from a nostalgia perspective.  Stuart is an Alumni of WBHS.  He was inspired to become  a PE teacher from his coaches. Coach Lew Johnson was one, he helped Stuart move on to college where he made the CNU Team in their maiden season. “

She also emailed me a picture of the ribbons her sister designed for his cause. Several people were wearing them at the game.

Support ribbon for Mr. Baiza

Support ribbon for Mr. Baiza

She said the family is hopeful doctors will tackle the tumor, get him in remission and find a cure. She says the community support really helps the family cope.

I love doing Friday Night Flights for all of the fun- but also for getting important messages out about the schools, the students and staff and the community. This is an awesome example of that. We wish Mr. Stuart Baiza well with his treatment and recovery.

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Heading back to WAVY on Chopper 10

We hope you’ll interact with us this high school football season. Follow Friday Night Flights on Twitter. Share your pictures at reportit@wavy.com and follow us on Facebook.

Selfie with Chopper 10 pilot, Steve Decker

Selfie with Chopper 10 pilot, Steve Decker

Check out Friday Night Flights with Bruce Rader and his rotating co-hosts and all of our high school football coverage on our special WAVY page.

 

 


FOOD ALLERGIES Leave Parents Boiling Mad.

September 4th, 2014 at 10:51 am by under Community, Health, News, Personalities, Uncategorized

“CINDY”- was SO excited about her first day of school, she got up early, dressed quickly and was practically ready to JUMP on the bus before it stopped rolling.  Little did CINDY know she would be riding into a nightmare. When  it was time for lunch, a teacher placed CINDY at a small table, alone, and facing a wall. Her back was to her new classmates and all the other children in the cafeteria. And that’s how CINDY’S mother and grandmother told me they found her when they arrived to join CINDY for lunch.  CINDY was near tears and, needless to say, the two adults were practically breathing fire.
food allergies index
CINDY has food allergies. For most of her five years, she’s reacted badly when exposed to dairy, nuts, and wheat. She’ll break out in hives, swell severely and experience potentially life threatening conditions- if not treated quickly. Usually, a shot from an E p i  P e n will do the trick.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food allergies among children jumped 50 percent between 1997 and 2011. A Richmond TV Station, W T V R, aired a report on child allergies- quoting a fascinating blog called “Butter Nutrition.” It’s writer raised the question, “Why your grandparents didn’t have food allergies, but you do.” The blog spelled out several theories on what could be the trigger behind the spike in children’s allergies.

Dr. Bob Call with Richmond Allergy & Asthma Specialists, called the theories non-scientific, but hard to ignore. He said his practice has seen allergy cases double over the last 10 years. Sixty percent of (his) practice are children, the youngest patient is just three weeks old.

“There are many more additives,thickeners, all of these different proteins that are added to food- even chemicals can become an allergen,” Dr. Call said about the theory that the food we eat these days contains more preservatives, thus causes more allergies.”

A spokeswoman for Newport News public schools say the elementary school staff wanted to err on the side of caution.  Michelle Price told me the first day of school is always a bit awkward and there’s some confusion. But, the staff also didn’t know the severity of CINDY’S allergy. Price said the staff had not yet determined what the other children  had brought to school,(PB&J, nuts, yogurt) in addition to how they would act.  Still, sitting a child at a table- facing a wall- seems drastic and insensitive, to say the least. I questioned why the school wasn’t better prepared to deal with a student/allergy case- after having met with the parent and child several times prior to the first day. Certainly, one has to consider the larger picture. Here’s Price’s whole statement for the record:

“Newport News Public Schools’ child nutrition and nursing staff works directly with families to meet the special dietary needs of our students. Families are asked to complete a special dietary needs form (see attached) with their child’s physician and return it with any other medical forms to the school office. If a student has severe food allergies, the school nurse and the cafeteria manager will meet with the family to develop a plan to address the students’ health and safety needs in conjunction with peer interaction.

“The school principal, the nurse and the cafeteria manager met with the student’s parents yesterday and developed accommodations that met with everyone’s approval. The student in question has a severe food allergy that her mother has stated could lead to anaphylactic shock. To ensure the student’s well being, her teacher temporarily sat her at another table during lunch while the teacher sought to make seating adjustments to make sure that the student could be seated with classmates whose lunches did not contain the allergen.”

Day -2 for CINDY was much better. CINDY’s mom told me an assistant principal called her to apologize and to inform her of seating adjustments, and other arrangements made for CINDY’s safety, in addition to helping her feel welcomed. CINDY told me, herself, that  she had a great (second) day,  she’s made new friends. And- she’s sitting at a table with other children!


Nixon Resigns: The WAVY Newsroom Remembers

August 8th, 2014 at 8:35 am by under News, Personalities, Politics, Uncategorized
Richard Nixon announces his resignation to the nation.

Richard Nixon announces resignation (NBC News photo)

“To continue to fight through the months ahead for my personal vindication would almost totally absorb the time and attention of both the President and the Congress in a period when our entire focus should be on the great issues of peace abroad and prosperity without inflation at home.

Therefore, I shall resign the Presidency effective at noon tomorrow. Vice President Ford will be sworn in as President at that hour in this office.”    

Richard M. Nixon   August 8, 1974

 

Those words coming through our 19 inch Magnavox echoed relief for my father.  To say he never cared for Richard Nixon was kind at best.  The television images revealed a blank, defeated look in the president’s brown eyes.  A sheaf of papers in the foreground seemed  to provide a thin wall between a fallen leader and the people whose trust was betrayed.  A wall that no longer could hide the truth.  I don’t recall what dad said during that primetime speech,  but I remember he was elated over the president stepping down.   It’s not hard to imagine, being that he was a  union carpenter, who always pulled the lever for Democrats.   “Tricky Dick,”  that pejorative often used towards Nixon by his detractors, could often be heard from the lips of  my father, who like many in 1974, thought the country was on the wrong track.   I, at 12 years old, was more concerned about the Pittsburgh Pirates making their run at another division title, and the girls who frequented the baseball fields watching us play on those muggy summer days.   But that speech left me with an empty feeling  about what nation I would inherit.  The President of the United States had just announced he was leaving– a watershed moment for a decade that marked a turning point in America.    Our dinner conversation in the 1970′s often centered on high inflation,  something called the “energy crisis,” and Watergate–the scandal that led to this television view of a tired looking man;  the most powerful leader in the world exiting the White House under a cloud of shame.

Photos of Watergate players.

WAVY-TV News Director Jim Gilchriest, who was just 11 at the time,  took his cue from his parents as they watched this historic broadcast.

“When he said, ‘I shall resign the presidency, effective at noon tomorrow’ my mother gasped and, in reaction to her, I started crying.”

WAVY Sports Director Bruce Rader worked for a Washington TV station during that summer of 1974.  He recalls spending the night in a station truck on Pennsylvania Avenue next to Lafayette Park near the White House.

“That night all three networks did live cut ins while thousands of young people celebrated behind us on Pennsylvania Avenue. I asked a couple of DC police officers if they would help us with the rowdy kids during our lives shots, and the cops told us we were the reason the President was being forced to resign and they were not going to help us at all.   As soon as we turned off our lights at 11:30, the DC police lined up in riot gear on Pennsylvania Avenue near the executive office building and started marching down Pennsylvania Avenue swinging their billy clubs hitting the demonstrators.  Many of the young people were taken to the hospital, some with serious injuries.” 

NBC's Tom Brokaw reporting from Washington's Lafayette Park

NBC’s Tom Brokaw reporting from Washington’s Lafayette Park

 

Rader also remembers a seeing a young Tom Brokaw,  who had become the NBC White House Correspondent just a year before, and “couldn’t imagine he would be covering the Gerald Ford White House.”

America was winding down it’s involvement in Vietnam, and a deep recession was hurting families across all income levels.    To this 12 year old, it seemed the world was coming apart.   Our once beacon of hope for the free world,  seemed to be descending into darkness.   WAVY’s  Chief Meteorologist Don Slater recalls the climax and resolution of Watergate with a sentiment shared by millions,

“Once the end happened and the President resigned, it was a scary moment.   Whoa! This has never happened before. What happens now? What is the future of my country?”

The next day provided the resolution to this national drama.   From the vantage point much closer to history, Bruce Rader recalled a tragic figure making his final walk from the White House after passing the torch to Vice President Gerald Ford.   This scene would transform Rader’s choice of career in television.

Final goodbye (photo from Ollie Atkins)

Final goodbye (photo from Ollie Atkins)

 

“Nixon got on his helicopter waved to his staff and took off.  I had been at the White House for over 24 hours, I went back to the office and they sent me to RFK Stadium because we were broadcasting a Redskins preseason game that night.  It was at that point I decided once and for all I did not want to cover news I was more comfortable in sports.   At least in sports somebody wins.”

 

 


Nicole’s Notes: Move The Monarchs’ Chains… It’s Ladies Night!

August 7th, 2014 at 9:07 pm by under Personalities, Sports, Uncategorized

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ODU’s first ever Ladies Night scored well with the participants and the staff. About 300 of us got guided tours, trivia sessions, drills and wine on the Norfolk campus. I didn’t really know what to expect when I got the invitation to come out. My sister Cozy joined me. I’m thinking I should’ve left the purse and jewelry at home, but I still managed to get through the drills okay. (Don’t ask Coach Bobby Wilder how my pass looked).  What a fun experience and an awesome idea to bring us chicks together for fun and information (I still don’t know much about football, but I do like to yell “Move The Chains” during games). Check out this video of the four hour event from Old Dominion University. And sign up early next year- the 300 spaces filled up fast for the first one!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Nicole’s Notes: VB woman on a mission to become “The Next Great Baker”

June 23rd, 2014 at 3:52 pm by under News, Personalities, The Hampton Roads Show, Uncategorized

A Virginia Beach woman has been serving up treats to folks in Hampton Roads for a few years now and she’s ready to show the world she is “The Next Great Baker”. TLC chose Brandy Smith as a contestant on its network show which airs Tuesday, June 24 at 9:00 p.m.

Brandy Smith of Virginia Beach, contestant on TLC's "The Next Great Baker"

Brandy Smith of Virginia Beach, contestant on TLC’s “The Next Great Baker”

They’re having a viewing party in Virginia Beach. I found out about Brandy because I did a story with her cousin McKenzie a few years ago.

McKenzie emailed me and shared this about Brandy, “Her situation is different than most on the show, 2 days before leaving to film, she found out her husband who is only 40 has Stage 4 pancreatic cancer.  They have 3 young children and soon she will be the soul bread winner in her home.  Our goal in this premier party is to get her exposure for her incredible cake business.

Brandy Smith's cake

I talked to Brandy on the phone and learned the business is called “Sophisticakes” and it was born out of her love for creating cool 3-D cakes for her kids on their birthdays. She’s a trained artist so she says she created different designs. She told me she likes to create designs that nobody else can. Folks started asking her about the cakes, and before you know it she was taking orders for wedding cakes, groom’s cakes, and cakes for all occasions. She says someone she took a class with asked her to go to the casting for TLC’s “The Next Great Baker” and it was a long process that started in October, 2013.

She’s kept a positive outlook as her husband Jason fights cancer and hopes this appearance will get the word out even more about the business she loves so much. In fact, they’ve been traveling to Chicago for cancer treatment every other weekend for the past four months and says he is about to start treatment here in Hampton Roads. His disease is now stable and has not progressed.

Brandy Smith & Family

Brandy Smith & Family

Brandy said to me in an email, “We have been overwhelmed and feel truly blessed with the love and support our family has received from our friends, family, and community.”

She went on “The Hampton Roads Show” on WAVY-TV  Monday June 23 to talk about her quest and whipped up some strawberry balsamic cupcakes. Tune and support our local gal and follow her on Facebook to stay on top of her progress. Brandy told me she dreams of having a storefront business someday. Right now she gets her orders online only.

 


Hey Daddy, Read This

June 12th, 2014 at 2:09 pm by under 10 On Your Side, Community, Health, News, Personalities, Uncategorized

   “Many thoughts come to mind this  FATHER’S DAY 1993!  Father's Day 599693_10100713632756286_1292965230_n

How thankful I am to have a dad.. and all that you’ve done for me.

    You know my three children well.. their ages are 17, 10, and 7.

Kristen’s the oldest, and the there’s Dawn, and last, but not, least, is Kevin.

    My wife and my children are my greatest blessings, but let me brag about you,  dad.

 You’ve always been there for me, my brothers, sisters, mom, and I’m glad.

    While we grew up, you worked several jobs, ’cause you felt you had to do it.

We had what we needed and sometimes more- we just asked and you saw to it.

   I remember days you worked late, we knew you were home by the squeal of car brakes without fail.

Your arrival was usually good news, unless you had too spank my tail!

   Dad, you seemed to never miss church on Sunday…no matter what you did on Saturday night.

You said making time for parties and fun…and denying God was not right.

   Dad, you could fix anything… plumbing, electrical, the car, if we’d holler…

I knew you were smart, and you taught yourself, while trying to save a dollar.

   You liked to sit out on our steps… and watch the changing neighborhood.

You made your point of speaking to children and encouraging them to do good.

    If we were walking and you saw a weed in the sidewalk… you’d go back…

You always told me to pull it out… because, after winter, it would leave a crack.

   You graduated high school but once you told me you wished you had gone on to college.

Instead, you earned a Ph.D in common sense... the best kind of knowledge.

   I’ll admit, I took you for granted while growing up… you were always there.

And I was surprised when my friends would tell me they had no dad who cares..

   It was hard to believe that a man would make a baby… and simply leave…

but it’s happening every day… as more and more unmarried couples conceive.

   I’m just glad my dad stayed around… your example showed me the way.

I love you dad… and I want to say- thank you on this Father’s Day.

   I guess the best way to show my thanks to a very special man…

is by using your example, and working hard,

to be the best DAD I can.”

(C) 2004 Don Roberts, from the book, HEY DADDY READ THIS, IUniverse Publishing.


‘Round The Block

June 4th, 2014 at 10:28 am by under Community, Health, News, Personalities, Uncategorized

I did something very unusual Monday afternoon. I took a walk around the block, -with my neighbor. I’ll call him MIKE. He’s a public servant who happens to wear blue -and silver. MIKE arrived home at about the same time I was heading out. MIKE works crazy hours- so, we’ve got that in common. Another thing, he and his wife are raising a toddler, an infant, and a dog. I’ve been there, done that- flea & tick spray still in the cab. girl-on-bicycleMy kids are now grown and gone. But, they come back! And with their children! 5 of the 7 grands were with me on this day. We were headed out, the kids on bikes, for a ride ’round the block. And that’s when I saw MIKE roll up. He’s cool. But, sometimes I just don’t know. Maybe, it’s his job. Maybe it’s mine. We’ve had our moments- as neighbors will- “Breaking News again, huh, Don? Don’t you ever have any ‘good news?’” OUCH! (Here’s some good news: It’s called a “Good Fence!” ZING! ) Ha ha… yeah. I don’t believe our meeting this time was a coincidence. Considering the Breaking News of the day, I found myself looking for his piece of silver… to see if he had added another color to it – black. Not yet. Back to the task at hand, our children! They were ready to roll and set some new land speed records on this urban course! MIKE planned the same thing with his 3 year old, an adorable little girl, on a custom bike with no pedals- how cute! So, the 8 of us stormed the neighborhood! And while the kids did their thing, we, kinda did ours… two neighbors, two dads, two friends, just watching, and walking and talking. About what? What else? The weather, and our children.