Uncategorized

Is Desean Jackson a good fit for Redskins?

April 2nd, 2014 at 9:57 pm by under Sports, Uncategorized

He was a thorn in the side of the Redskins defense every time he took the field as a Philadelphia Eagle.

But now DeSean Jackson will be wearing the burgundy and gold.

A lot of people have been scratching their heads since the Eagles just out right cut all pro wide receiver Desean Jackson last Friday.

Jackson admits he was angry and embarrassed when the Eagles made the move–but right away his phone started ringing.

Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin the 3rd, defensive back DeAngleo Hall put the full court press on Jackson, imploring him to join their team.

Last night Jackson gave in, signing a 3-year $24 million contract and the Redskins got their man.desean jackson

So what do we make of all of this.

Prior to today, the Redskins offense had the potential of being pretty good. Quarterback Robert Griffin the 3rd had a really good season two years ago, but his bum knee caused him to have a sub-par performance this past year.The signing of DeSean Jackson now gives RG-3 a trio of 2 all pro’s Pierre Garcon and, DeShawn Jackson–teaming up with newly acquired Andre Roberts. Throw in young tight end Jordon Reed and Griffin now has plenty of quality targets.

There has been a lot of speculation as to why Eagles coach Chip Kelly would just cut one of the best receivers in the NFL. He didn’t trade him, didn’t try to work something out, they just got rid of him.
Why?

According to a variety of stories, Jackson was a diva, didn’t get along with his new coach, was late to and even missed meetings, a no-no in the structured NFL. He was considered a malcontent. And lets not forget the un-substantiated reports that he was associated with gang members in his home town L-A.

Now where do you think these reports came from? Obviously from people in the Eagles organizations. Kelly wanted knew he was getting rid of Jackson, and wanted to get out in front of it. Jackson was a twenty-something millionaire athlete, who was probably full of himself, and may have not liked the idea of a new coach coming in telling one of the team’s “superstars” what to do.

I don’t know what to believe.

Most teams have professional investigators who look into the backgrounds of their players. Even though the Redskins were under the gun to make this deal happen they had several days to do some checking.

I have no idea what went on behind closed doors. There is no dispute that Jackson has been problematic since he came into the league, he didn’t follow certain rules, he was always asking for new contracts—he was a diva. But he admits he never saw his release coming.

Mike Jones of the Washington Post reported today, Jackson admitted feeling a wide range of emotions: anger, frustration, embarrassment ranking among them. Jones posted the following quote from DeSean in his article.

“I feel they embraced me as far as RGIII, DeAngelo Hall reached out to me and made me feel like it was home here,” Jackson said Wednesday via conference call. “After everything that was going on the past couple days and the last week, that’s a big step of their first move for me. I think DeAngelo Hall really stepped up to the plate and called me and said, ‘Look, bro. I know I’ve been playing against you for a long time, but I feel like this is a situation where if you came in here, you could help us out a lot.’ For myself, I was still at a point in my career where that made me very humble for everything to go down and happen the way it happened. But coming in here, Bruce Allen, Mr. Snyder,Jay Gruden, I think it was an open-arm situation and I just was looking for an opportunity to come in and be productive and help out any way possible. I think this place right here is a great place and has some great things going on and I’m just happy to being an addition to helping this team win.”

Was this a wake up call for the 27 year old Jackson? Will the change of venue be the one thing that turns his attitude around? Maybe Chip Kelly thinks that in his system he can take any receiver and turn him into a star and he doesn’t need Jackson around, regardless of the fact he was their best receiver. The one thing unique about the NFL is teams can cut players every year regardless of their contract. Jackson is guaranteed $16 million dollars.

If he has three great years, it ends up a good deal. If he doesn’t work out, the Redskins lose $16 million.

Only time will tell. Want to bet a Dr. Pepper on this one?


March 24th, 2014 at 7:24 pm by under Sports, Uncategorized

UVA headed to the Sweet 16

UVA headed to the Sweet 16

They might not be tournament favorites like Michigan State, Louisville, Arizona and Florida, but Coach Tony Bennett and his Virginia Cavaliers just keep doing what they are doing–pulling off impressive wins–and Hoos now head to New York City to take on Michigan State in the Sweet 16.

ACC schools Duke, Syracuse, North Carolina, Pittsburg and NC State–are finished for the season.

Their conference now resting firmly on the shoulders of
UVA–the regular season and ACC tournament champs.
After an easy win over 16 seed Coastal Carolina, He Hoo’s ganged up on 8th seed Memphis last night. Senior Joe Harris, and sophomores Malcom Brogdon and Anthony Gill all scored in double figures and hit more than 50 per cent of their shots.

Unselfish on offense and tenacious on defense, UVA is not your usual number one seed–but after missing out on a trip to the both the pre-season and post-season NIT last year, Bennett and company finally gets that trip to the Big Apple.

Next for the Hoo’s, a highly anticipated showdown against 4 seed Michigan State Friday night. It will be Virginia’s first Sweet 16 appearance in 19 years–and boy is that going to be a fun game to watch.


Nicole’s Notes: Free dental care, from the heart

March 12th, 2014 at 11:46 pm by under 10 On Your Side, Health, News, Personalities, Uncategorized

UPDATE : Racheal Judy emailed me today and said they broke a record over the weekend. The patient you see in this picture below is Melissa. She is thanking Dr. Tim Johnston, owner of Norge Dental Center, for saving 3 teeth that she would’ve lost in the next 6 months if she hadn’t gotten the proper care.

Norge Dental Care, Dentistry From The Heart

Norge Dental Care, Dentistry From The Heart

In the third year of the Dentistry From The Heart program, Judy  wrote:
 *   257 patients were seen
 *   over $100,000 of free dental work was provided completely for FREE
 *   913 dental services were performed (including exams, cleanings, fillings, etc)
 *   First patient arrived at 12:10 am to get in line.
 *   Event was supposed to end at 5:00 pm, but dentists stayed until 8:30 pm to make sure no one was turned away.
Look at these pictures.

What a way to start your new week – with a big healthy smile!

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There’s nothing like a clean fresh mouth! Some folks are scared to visit the dentist, but I just love how my teeth feel and look after my appointments. I realize everyone doesn’t have dental benefits or enough money to get the recommended cleanings and exams twice a year- and any other dental work that’s needed. And it can get expensive!

Staff member with patient

Norge staff member with patient, 2013

There’s a local group of dentists and volunteers working to make sure anyone who needs, can get dental care. The Norge Dental Center in Williamsburg is hosting its free Dentistry From The Heart event on Saturday, March 22 at its offices on Richmond Road from 8:00 am until 4:00pm. Fillings, extractions, or cleanings will be performed for those 18 and older who can’t get dental care elsewhere. Registration starts at 7:30 am. Patients should arrive early and be dressed for a long wait in line. Also bring chairs, blankets, snacks and water. Patients will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis. Rachael Judy from Norge Dental reached out to me a couple of years ago about this event and she’s been following up ever since. She emailed me this after the clinic last year, “Our very first patient came at 10:20 pm the night before, and slept there to receive care! His name is William and he drove from Gates County, NC.  He and a few others camped outside.  We served over 200 patients with free dental care!   James was our patient who traveled the longest distance……He traveled from New Jersey to receive care.  We were able to save a tooth he would’ve lost had he waited much longer.”

Judy said they had over a dozen dentists volunteer their time. They came from their own practices to help their four Norge Dental Center dentists serve more people. For more information, visit their website or call (757) 941-7682.

We’d love to hear from you after your visit. Post your comments and share some pictures with me on Facebook.

 

 

 

 


Here We Go Again!

March 2nd, 2014 at 12:44 pm by under Uncategorized, Weather

As of Friday evening, preliminary indications were that we’d see this thing hit late Monday afternoon and into the evening hours. It’s now looking much sooner than that…with rain hitting us by around 5:00 AM Monday and quickly changing over to a wintry mix by 7:00 AM and even some snow beginning from Williamsburg northward. The wintry mix (mainly sleet pellets) will likely continue for an hour or two before changing over to all snow from north to south into the Hampton Roads cities by around noon. North Carolina can expect the wintry mix by late morning…changing over to all snow by around 1:00 or 2:00 PM. The height of the snowfall for most of us will likely be in the early to late afternoon.

Here are a couple of variations of the NAM forecast model indicating snowfall totals before it ends early Monday evening.scalenam1nam2You will note the possibility of 4″ to 6″ of snow in areas from Williamsburg through the Northern Neck! I have not included the (later-arriving) GFS model here; this model has indicated far heavier snow than what would be indicated by the ongoing situation. So the GFS is being watched, but discounted for being “off” by a lot. The 7:00 AM European model run will not be complete until mid-afternoon, but earlier model runs fall roughly into line with the above projections from the NAM.

A couple more graphics here. First, here is a snowfall total map from our very capable friends at the National Weather Service in Wakefield:totalsnowThis map is in line with current thinking about the “placement” of the snow (in an east-west orientation), but is somewhat heavier farther south than what the above NAM maps indicate. With the models showing a trend toward farther south and sooner in the day, this map may be an anticipation of the upcoming forecast models continuing the farther south trend. And a slight nod toward the too-heavy GFS. If sleet continues longer before snow begins (& it could), then the above snow totals would likely be lessened somewhat.

Here’s the snow totals map put together this morning by my colleague, Jeff Edmondson:Monday_SnowAnd this is pretty much in line with all thinking on the upcoming storm. One thing to note: When we talk about “ice accumulations” here, we’re talking about sleet pellets and freezing rain, but mostly sleet. Sleet gets easily crushed into the pavement by tire treads creating ice. Sleet is bad enough, but freezing rain is horrendously destructive and especially dangerous on the roads. At this point, freezing rain could be a problem, but not a huge one. With the temperature dropping rapidly on Monday morning, any water falling from the sky and on roads (& especially bridges!) could quickly freeze as temperatures drop to around 27° or 28°. One thing in our favor on all of this is that the soil temperature is in the 40° to 45° range, thus more easily melting any icy stuff that initially hits the ground. Of course with snow pretty much everywhere through the region by early Monday afternoon, tire treads will turn all that snow into ice on virtually all roads.

These maps and forecasts are still subject to change as we draw closer to the actual event, so be sure to stay informed in the next 24 to 36 hours. Jeff Edmondson will be on the air between 6:00 & 7:00 this evening. I will be filling in for Tiffany Savona for FOX43 News at 10 and WAVY News 10 at 11. Jeremy Wheeler and Jeff will be with you from 4:30 AM through 1:00 PM tomorrow. Tiffany Savona and I will take over at 1:00 PM through the evening hours tomorrow.

Here we go again!


East Carolina, Florida agree to 2015 football meeting

February 27th, 2014 at 11:38 am by under Sports, Uncategorized

East Carolina, Florida agree to 2015 football meeting

By Bruce Rader Thursday, February 27, 2014, 11:36 am

Pirates Will Visit Ben Hill Griffin Stadium For First Clash Against Gators Since 1983

GREENVILLE, N.C. (wavy) – East Carolina and Florida have agreed on a single-game contract for the Pirates and Gators to play at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Sept. 12, 2015, according to a joint announcement by both institutions Thursday.

The meeting will mark ECU’s second visit to Gainesville and first since 1983 when No. 6 UF used a late fourth-quarter touchdown run by Neal Anderson to post a 24-17 victory on Oct. 22.

“I’m sure many of our fans will remember the last time we played in The Swamp,” East Carolina Director of Athletics Jeff Compher said. “While it’s a great opportunity to compete in that environment against a program with the tradition Florida has, I’m confident Coach (Ruffin) McNeill will have the Pirates ready to play.”

The contest against Florida will also maintain the continuity of Southeastern Conference opponents on the Pirates’ future schedules, which includes visits to South Carolina in both 2014 and 2016. In addition to a 17-game series with the Gamecocks that dates back to 1977 and one previous encounter with the Gators, ECU has also faced current SEC members Alabama (1998), Arkansas (2010), Auburn (1985, 1986, 1994), Georgia (1990), Kentucky (1993, 2009), LSU (1981), Missouri (1982, 1983) and Tennessee (1995) in its history.

ECU’s 2015 non-conference schedule now includes road games at Florida and BYU with home matchups again Virginia Tech and an opponent to be announced.

The Pirates, who compiled a 10-3 record and made their seventh bowl appearance in the last eight years in 2013, will open play in the American Athletic Conference this season after a 17-year membership in Conference USA.

East Carolina Football

Florida was 4-8 under third-year head coach Will Muschamp last fall.


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.

Web

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: 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 WAVY.com, 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.       

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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.


Va. Beach to get arena proposal from ESG

February 15th, 2014 at 12:18 am by under News, Sports, Uncategorized

Two outstanding companies, both with wonderful ideas have finally given the Virginia Beach City Council something to smile about.

W.M. Jordan Co. and The ESG Companies have put together proposals that should eventually lead to Hampton Roads finally getting that 18,000 seat arena the region has wanted for years.

On Tuesday, ESG a Virginia Beach company founded by Eddie Garcia over 60 years ago, will present to council plans to construct an 18,000-seat sports arena and entertainment complex across from the city owned Convention Center. The deal came together after the company hosted business leaders from China last summer.

Unlike the Jordan proposal which was given to council three months ago, the ESG group will promise to design, build and facilitate the project using all private funds. Although S.B. Ballard Construction Company in Virginia Beach will be involved in the building of the arena, a major player will be Mortenson Construction, which just broke ground on a new NFL stadium for the Vikings in Minnesota. Mortenson is considered one of the largest sports contractors in the nation, and has offices in several US cities as well as Shanghai, China.

China is a major player in the venture. While the Jordan proposal is expected to need equity contribution from both the city and the state, Andrea Kilmer, the CFO of ESG says her project will be built with private money. That statement will have Beach tax payers and council members jumping for joy.

But who would loan ESG some $200 million dollars to build an arena without a major league sports franchise an anchor? A bank in China has agreed to finance the deal. ESG would pay it back over time. Chinese companies invested $14 billion in the US last year, driven by aggressive economic reforms in China, a more liberal policy environment for Chinese outbound investors, and a positive outlook for the U.S. economy. Local company Smithfield Foods was bought by a Chinese company this past September for $7 billion dollars. So a $200 million dollar loan for an arena in one of America’s top resort cities seems like chump change.

But deals that seem too good to be true often are. While the ESG group may not be asking the city to help with construction costs, Virginia Beach taxpayers will be expected to kick in for various improvements. A giant TV screen outside the building, a skating rink, improved roads, parking lots, maybe even a new off ramp at Birdneck Rd. The cost could be as much as $50 million, but would be less of a burden on the city’s bond ratings than what may be required by Mr. Lawson’s proposal. Considering projects like light rail and the Dome Site are still on the council’s priority list, interest rates and bond ratings are important. As any citizen knows, you can only borrow so much.

But where does an arena rank on the council’s priority list? A year ago, it probably wasn’t even there. But with these two fabulous proposals on the table it has moved up close to if not to the top. It was certainly discussed at the council’s last private retreat.

If ESG builds the arena, SMG will manage the building. They also manage the John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville. Should the W.M. Jordan group get the bid, Comcast-Spectacor would run the building on a 25 year lease and would kick in millions of cash for construction costs. Both plans are aesthetically breathtaking, the ESG building with giant doors in the back that would open for sound stages and equipment for state of the art concerts and sporting events.

The devil is in the details and that may end up being John Lawson’s biggest problem. He told me his proposal was the most extensive and time consuming his company has ever undertaken. It is very specific, every nail, window, and door handle accounted for. Ms Kilmer’s offer is expected to be a little more vague. Had Lawson presented his proposal earlier, before the Chinese came for their visit, it may have already been approved.

But that boat has sailed. City staff will now go through both proposals with a fine tooth comb. Term sheets will have to be written, and citizens will get their say. It will be one of the most crucial votes by the City Council in decades, and could frame the oceanfront for generations.

They have to get this right. The winner will end up being the heroes. But if they don’t follow through with their promises and the project is not completed, they will always be remembered as the goat.

More on this story Monday, February 17th on WAVY-TV and FOX 43 news.