An Afternoon Start to the Evening News

February 28th, 2014 at 4:39 pm by under 10 On Your Side, News, Personalities

It seems we’re all affected by something I call “time creep.”  Everything is starting a little earlier these days, and that would include 10 on your side, which has just launched a 4pm newscast.   It’s an early appetizer of the days events, and news happening now.  I couldn’t resist snapping off a few behind the scenes photos.  See you at 4! 

The gang is ready for WAVY News 10 at 4pm

The gang is ready for WAVY News 10 at 4pm

The Newsroom: Photos Behind the Scenes

February 20th, 2014 at 9:46 pm by under 10 On Your Side, News, Personalities, Uncategorized
WAVY Photojournalist Drew Smith on a night story.

WAVY Photojournalist Drew Smith on a night story.

By now, many of you know how much I enjoy photography, which walks hand in hand with storytelling.  I recently spent a few spare moments in between newscasts capturing the scenes of co-workers undertaking the daily responsibility of being on your side.  I hope I captured some of the serious work and light-hearted moments of  The Newsroom.   See photos here.

Nicole’s Notes: “More Than Boobs” raising cancer awareness

February 19th, 2014 at 7:42 pm by under Health, News, Personalities, Uncategorized

UPDATE: The event was a success! What an amazing show of strength and courage by the models- all survivors of various forms of cancer, and support from their families and friends. Organizer Justin Pantophlet tells me they raised $5,293.00! Here are some pictures from Saturday.


It couldn’t have been possible without these sponsors/donors: Murphy’s Irish Pub * Stihl Corporation * Townebank * Bay Disposal * Moore Consultant Services * ESME Boutique* Beach FC Soccer * Dan Ryan’s For Men * Dennis Blackmore @ Creed Realty * Cambria Children’s Boutique * Rico Marcelo Photography * Kazam Bikes * MindTheatre art by Karl Greaves * Andrew Carney Portrait Photography * Lendy’s Café * Bravo’s * Mobile Beats * Tapped Gastropub * Keagan’s Restaurant * Brother’s Pizza * Route 58 Deli

Now, the inspiration behind the event: How cute is this picture? The man you see getting a sweet kiss from his daughter is Steve Golding.

Steve Golding

Steve Golding getting a kiss from his daughter

He lost his battle with cancer at the age of 50. His brother in law, Justin Pantophlet, emailed me this info about Steve,                                                             My brother-in-law passed away of lung cancer that metastasized to the brain. He is born and bred from New York City. A true city boy and he would help clean up after 9/11 everyday.  As he was not a policeman or firefighter, he was not considered a first responder, but he he did help to clean up everyday. It is believed that the asbestos/smog that he incurred during the cleanup fostered his cancer.  Unfortunately he was not eligible for the Zodroga Act. He did charity work for “Rolling Thunder.”

That’s the main reason why Justin became involved in raising cancer awareness. He invited me to emcee a fashion show he organized sponsored by “More Than Boobs” or MTB on Saturday February 22, 2014 from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Lesner Inn in Virginia Beach. Tickets start at $40. The band Borderline Crazy will provide the entertainment.


Just check out the model’s stories and you’ll see why this event is so special to so many people. I think cancer has touched all of our lives- whether it’s a friend or a relative or co-worker who has been diagnosed. My godfather, Sid, fought a tough battle with multiple myeloma, a blood cancer.

Nicole with her late godfather, Sid

Nicole with her late godfather, Sid

I visited him and helped him when he was getting treatment in Chicago and as we took our walk around the cancer ward I saw all different types of people… different ages, sexes, races, sizes… fighting the same fight. Multiple myeloma is the same cancer NBC anchor Tom Brokaw recently announced he’s battling. One of my sorority sisters from college was diagnosed with breast cancer and she has shared stories with me about the process from diagnosis to treatment and the struggles that come along with it especially the cost of treatment and the time needed to heal. Honestly, it seems I hear a new story every few days from people I work with or see in my everyday errands about their diagnosis or a family member’s.

"MTB Fashion Show Models"

“MTB Fashion Show Models”

Justin actually said he had no idea the “MTB Fashion Show” would become such a big event. He wrote,

                           Never did I think I would be still be involved in doing this to this day. The idea was to have an event where we could support good cause that did not involve running or walking for a cure.  While those events serve their purposes and raise a tremendous amount of awareness, I wanted to do something outside of the box. I started the organization over 3 years ago and the reason leading up to the start was because of my personal experiences with my brother-in-law. It started with the first event called “Beer for Boobs Tour” which is now our Cruising for Cancer Tour. This event is still a very popular and fun event that has evolved throughout the years. It was at that first event that I recognized how much people were starved for something different that is fun, entertaining, inspiring and where you can still get involved with participating in a good cause. One our guest stated to me that he was having such a great time celebrating individuals that are survivors and he was all smiles. That same individual is one of our cancer survivor models this year. From there, MTB organized our very first cancer awareness fashion show where we had only 5 models, once which has since passed away. That event had touched so may people by it stories, inspiration, celebration and entertainment that we have continued to host these fashion shows. The idea behind our events quickly became one of entertaining, empowering, celebrating and inspiring of the individual cancer survivors and patients. We do this on the basis on welcoming all cancer survivors. Among our Cruising for Cancer Tour and the cancer awareness fashion show event, we also had our very first karaoke contest in raising cancer awareness in October of 2013″.

These are pictures from last year’s event.

You’ll see my colleague Bruce Rader emceed. You can see more photos in this slideshow and pictures from other events the foundation has sponsored.

MTB poster

 I’m honored Justin asked me to emcee the event and I’m looking forward to participating this weekend, hearing more stories, learning more about the disease and how we can all help those who are affected and their families. Hope to see you there! How has cancer touched your life? What are you doing to raise awareness? Please share your stories.





The newsroom’s top 5 at 5: Meeting of the minds

February 19th, 2014 at 3:41 pm by under 10 On Your Side, News, Personalities
WAVY producer Laura Mammarella listens to afternoon presentation with fellow producer David Craft

WAVY producer Laura Mammarella listens to afternoon presentation with fellow producer David Craft

It’s a twice daily event; a meeting of the minds, where we bounce ideas off of each other for stories to occupy slots in the late news.  The tone of these 3 pm meetings ranks somewhere between a business conference and a 2-for-1 happy hour (minus the drinks).   This meeting takes on special significance, since it marks the final afternoon conference for two talented producers:  Laura Mammarella is staying on the late news, with added responsibility.  But David Craft is moving to our daytime line-up, as we endure a bit of producer shuffle.  Laura has a quiet professional approach to the job, while David projects a booming personality, made bigger by an infectious laugh.  Strong story ideas pitched by Lauren Compton and Jason Marks made this affair brief.   You see more on our late news.  But first, today’s top 5 at 5.

1.)  2 dead on Maersk Alabama.    The former Navy SEALs, who worked for Virginia Beach based security firm,  were discovered Tuesday on the container ship, which was docked in Port Victoria in Seychelles off the coast of Africa.  Art Kohn is working his sources as I write this.    The Maersk Alabama was recently featured in the movie “Captain Phillips,” which was based on the story of the ship’s hijacking by pirates off the coast of Somalia in 2009.


2.) Man accused of sexual battery at Norfolk school.   Anne McNamara is following a story which requires some serious digging.    A female student told police a man inside Bayview Elementary touched her inappropriately.   Police have charged him with aggravated sexual battery.  More details are coming at 5.

3.) Dodge tolls; pay the price.   Andy Fox explains why taking alternate routes to avoid tolls at the tunnels could cost you in a way you may not have considered.

4.)  New rules of the game?   Anita Blanton has found the Virginia High School League, an organization which regulates high school activities,  is considering new regulations on transgendered athletes.

5.)  Two Bucks could get you $400 million.   The only investment with that kind of yield is a powerball lottery ticket.   But such a lucrative payoff comes with odds of winning it all at 1-in-175 million.  In other words, you have a better chance of being crushed by a vending machine. 

David Craft listen to Asst.  News Directpr Mark Kurtz in afternoon meeting.

David Craft listen to Asst. News Directpr Mark Kurtz in afternoon meeting.

Nicole and I will see you at 5, and yes I will pony up a pair of George Washington portraits for that long shot, and avoid my next trip upstairs for that Diet Coke.


The Newsroom’s top 5 at 5: The weather breaks

February 18th, 2014 at 3:03 pm by under 10 On Your Side, News, Personalities, Uncategorized
Hampton Roads soars into the 60's, as meteorologist  Tiffany Savona works in the weather center.

Hampton Roads soars into the 60′s, as meteorologist Tiffany Savona works in the weather center.

 Everyone seems a little more excited  since the sun peaked through winter’s grey veil, and temperatures reached 60 plus degrees.   The newsroom is a little giddier, a little louder, and a lot busier.  In between chatter on who was on Fallon’s Tonight Show premiere, and tutorials from Jane Alverez-Wertz on how to post stories on, our team is working their sources and pulling together the big stories to watch from your community.   So, here are my top 5 things to watch during our 90 minutes of news beginning at 5.

1.)  Man accused of killing infant daughter.    Taking the life of an  innocent child perhaps is the most heinous crime one can commit.   Outrage is multiplied when you factor in this little girl was just five months old; totally dependent on someone for life, only to have it taken away.  Anne McNamara has the difficult task of sifting through the details of a story all of us wish would never have to report.

Photojournalist Aaron Kurtz edits Andy Fox's special report you'll see at 6.

Photojournalist Aaron Kurtz edits Andy Fox’s special report you’ll see at 6.

2.)  Murder suspect walks.  Andy Fox is once again asking the tough questions stemming from the case of Eric Nixon, an 18 year old accused of murder in the shooting death of a 16 year old at a carnival.   Andy broke this story last fall, and now has access to the internal investigation about how this could happen.  Andy has some startling revelations in his story: a must see at 6.

 3.) ”Fun” in funeral not funny.   This may be difficult for many of our viewers with ties to the military.  But two pictures posted to social media by a member of  the Wisconsin National Guard Funeral Honor Guard are sparking outrage.  You’ll see them on WAVY News 10 at 5.  One of the captions reads: “We put the ‘fun’ in funeral.”  The military is now investigating.

4.)  Community fires back on gun violence.    This weekend’s shooting just off the campus of Old Dominion University has obviosuly upset those who live in Lambert’s Point.  Lauren Compton is with them now at a civic league  meeting.   She’ll tell us what’s happening at 5:30.

5.)  Saturday snow days heating up.   We’ve been on this when the snow was still flying Virginia Beach.  Tonight, Stephanie Harris and Jason Marks are covering a proposal to drop a plan to make students attend school on two more Saturdays to make up for time lost during our winter storms.  Both will have reports during our 90 minutes of news, with Jason staying on the story for our late night news.

The first thing I see in the WAVY newsroom: Morning anchor Don Roberts finishing up his shift on a sunny Tuesday.

The first thing I see in the WAVY newsroom: Morning anchor Don Roberts finishing up his shift on a sunny Tuesday.

The sun looks inviting as morning anchor Don Roberts sits in silhouette finishing up his long day.  He gives me his usual “SEE yah” as I work in the friendly chatter of the WAVY newsroom.    All of us are thrilled that nature has broken winter’s icy grip, and thus gives Don Slater a break from our ”Top 5 at 5.”  


The Newsroom’s top 5 at 5: Art of over-communicating

February 17th, 2014 at 2:29 pm by under 10 On Your Side, Community, News, Personalities, Uncategorized
WAVY News Director Jim Gilchriest talking to Don Slater about forecast.

WAVY News Director Jim Gilchriest talking to Don Slater about forecast.

“Talk to each other, OVER-communicate!

That is one of the edicts from WAVY News Director Jim Gilchriest.  Reporters in the field have to talk to producers in the newsroom, who talk to the anchors when they come in, who talk to those working the assignment desk, who talk to reporters in the field.   To be ”on your side,” as we frequently pledge,  everyone has to know what everyone else is doing,  especially when that light goes on at 5pm in the studio.   That’s why I knock out my top 5 things you should watch for during our 90 minutes of news moments after I arrive.  It’s part of my over-communication process.

 1.)  Saturday school’s out?   Usually we’re powerless against nature, but a Virginia Beach school board member is fighting back after the effect of recent snowstorms.   10 on your side has learned that Joel McDonald will present a resolution to end those Saturday sessions.    Stephanie Harris is also gathering numbers on how many students attended class this weekend.    

2.)  Southern weather for a change.   Could Punxutawney Phil be a little off?  Maybe.  At least in Hampton Roads, winter will have a seat for the next several days instead of pounding us for the next month.   Just remember, that the only thing we can be sure about our weather is that it changes rapidly.   See the WAVY weather blogs for background, and be sure to catch Don Slater’s forecast at 5.       


Meteorologists Don Slater and Tiffany Savona “tag- teaming” on weather information during a recent storm.

3.)   Frozen fishkill.       Our rapidly changing weather figures into much of our coverage tonight.   Liz Palka is investigating why dead fish are turning up in the waters around Virginia Beach, and it’s a cold reality check on what winter temperatures can do.

4.)  Pothole potshots.    Anita Blanton hit one.  I dodged a few on Brambleton Avenue on the way to work.  This winter thaw heats up  old problem, and we’re on your side pointing out where some of the worst craters await your vehicle, and most importantly, what VDOT will be doing about it.

5.)  The wrong man .   A local attorney is suing Norfolk police after they arrested Dahson Iraldo for the murder of an 86 year old barber in 2010.     Those charges against Iraldo were later dropped, and Ava Hurdle just interviewed Iraldo’s attorney over why they’ve filed this lawsuit.

As I write this summary, I hear police scanners and assignment editor Typhanny Wiggins talking about someone’s story.  It sounds like another example of our over-communication.  I better find out what’s going on, so we can tell you about it beginning at 5.

Saying goodbye is never easy

February 17th, 2014 at 6:15 am by under Personalities

On Feb. 15, 2014, the world lost an amazing husband, father and grandfather. Littleton Judson West, Jr., known as “Junior” to his friends and “Pop” to his family, passed away Saturday just one week after his 78th birthday. If you’d met my grandfather, you’d love him. His humor was unlike any other and he never failed to make someone smile. I like to think I got some of my wit and humor from him.

Pop and Mammy

Pop and Mammy

I was his first grandchild. I’ve always loved hearing stories about how I started a tradition of him napping with the little ones in his chair. He apparently is to blame for my love of eating peanut butter straight out of the jar. One story I’ve heard over and over is how he taught me I didn’t need a spoon for the peanut butter – I could just stick my fingers right in – sitting on his kitchen floor.

Some of my favorite memories include our family vacations to the Outer Banks and helping Pop in the garden. He made a great pot of soup using vegetables from that garden. We called it “Pop’s soup” and the grandkids always talked about how he should open a restaurant. We’d serve his soup and my grandmother’s fried chicken, and all the kids and grandkids would help run it.

Pop was my favorite person to play Uno with. I’d get giddy at the thought of pulling out the cards and dealing them out with my grandmother, because you never knew what was going to come out of his mouth. My grandmother (we call her “Mammy”) and I would gang up on him because we found it hysterical when he’d call us names.

When his health started to deteriorate last year, he worked so hard to have one more Christmas at home with his family. It was one of the best Christmases I can remember.

Pop loved WAVY. He’d been watching for years before I finally was able to come home to Hampton Roads, and he bragged to anyone who would listen about how I worked for “Channel 10.” He loved to hear the stories about everyone here.

The last thing Pop said to me at the hospital was “You’re not bothering me.” I was getting ready to leave and told him I was going to head home so he could nap when he said those words to me. I’m so grateful to have those final words and that memory to carry with me.

Saturday, I noticed a vase of flowers in his hospital room. The note said “I love you. Thank you.” They were addressed to my grandmother and we’ve determined they were from Pop for Valentine’s Day. He constantly told her that while she was taking care of him and she spoke about how he’d shuffle around the house and sit down next to her just to sit with her for a while and tell her that. They would have been married 58 years in April. He loved her until his last breath.

To the staff at Sentara Obici Hospital – thank you. Thank you for taking such good care of Pop and for being there with us Saturday to help with whatever we needed. It’s been a hard past few days, but knowing you all cared so much for him and laughed at his jokes makes it easier.

I love you, Pop. I hope you’re off on some grand adventure.

Nicole’s Notes: How have the new tunnel tolls changed your life?

February 14th, 2014 at 3:54 pm by under News, Personalities, Traffic

It’s been about two weeks since we’ve been charged to go through the Midtown and Downtown Tunnels in Norfolk.


My first tolled ride was to get to work on Super Bowl Sunday. It was a weekend evening so it was pretty slow although V-DOT crews were inside doing work. Ever since then, I’ve taken mostly the Downtown and I can tell you, traffic is much much lighter. We’ve done the stories on how folks would probably find another route and it seems that’s the case. Andy Fox just did a story on some numbers he got from The Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization (HRTPO). Maybe some people didn’t buy an EZ-Pass yet and they’re going the long way in the time being. By the way, if you still have questions about tolls, check out this story Anita Blanton did. Maybe some folks just figured out it would cost the same for the tolls as it does in gas money to take the High Rise Bridge in Chesapeake or another route. So, how have the tolls changed your life? It’s going to cost me about an extra $800 a year to commute to and from work before they raise the prices. I’ve talked to folks who say they really have to follow a strategy for their trips from Portsmouth or Suffolk into Norfolk, Chesapeake or Virginia Beach. One person I talked to actually decided to quit a job he loved teaching classes at a gym in Portsmouth because he’d have to go back and forth a few times a day and it just wasn’t worth the cost. Lucky for him, he got his old job back in Norfolk. I read a letter to the editor in the Virginian-Pilot from a West Ghent resident who was actually happy to be able to get out of his neighborhood now. I can only imagine he’s talking about a change in the extreme backup on Hampton Boulevard that leads to the Midtown Tunnel. One thing I think we all should do while this system is new, check your EZ-Pass accounts. We’ve already reported on some folks who got overcharged.

Elizabeth River Crossings said it was due to a sensor issue. has an entire page dedicated to toll stories. Be sure to check it out. I want to know how the change is affecting you. Please share and drive safely!

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.