See you later April. You certainly did your part to help us stay away from drought this year. Honestly…you were a little on the cool side. But we embraced it and everyone got along this year. Well done, April.
Yeah…that may have been a little weird.
Something I struggle with occasionally is seeing the positive in people and situations. I like to think that I am a very positive person, although at work I often play the cynical old guy. But one of my off-and-on issues is not getting caught up in a rut and seeing negative. The "normalness" of life sometimes gets to me. To help me fight this when I feel it coming on is listening to different kinds of music. This morning on the way to work I listened to a CD I bought yesterday at Mari-Mann Herbs in Decatur. It is an instrumental CD designed to help improve creativity.
Yeah…that may also have just gotten a little weird. But hang on…
Music can be used to touch and bring out emotions. This is a no-brainer of course. Music can take back to nay place and time in our lives and there are a lot of emotions that can come with that. So why would it be out of the question that music could be used to help stimulate certain parts of our brains? So anyway…I listened to this CD on the way to work this morning and it was like I got in my car and immediately got out of my car at work.
On the way to work I just listened to the music and thought. I thought about anything and everything that popped into my head. While I was thinking I tried focusing on the positive aspect of whatever creeped into my head. For example…Faye came up a lot on the way to work this morning. What I focused on was how hard she has been working the past few months with her new job. Her work is paying off and helping us set up the future that we want to have. I focused on what an amazing person she is. Really. She has the strongest moral barometer of any person I know. Honestly…it doesn't always make me happy that she can usually see the right thing to do! But when it comes down to it I can always count on her for clarity.
I also thought about work a lot. As with any job there are always aspects of work that can be taken positively or negatively…and our individual attitudes make a huge difference in how any situation plays out. So while I thought about work stuff on the drive this morning I focused on overall what a great job this is. I basically get paid to act like a clown sometimes, actually help people most of the time, and ALWAYS connect with people. When you boil this job down it is all about connecting with people.
I don't want to sound like Jerry Maguire here…but we really do live in a cynical world if you let the noise get to you. Turn on the radio and you don't have to work hard to find a talk station that thrives on negativity to hold an audience. Turn on the TV and you will easily find a reality show that COUNTS on the negative parts of the human condition to keep an audience "entertained". And then of course we are bombarded with bad news 24/7. In fact…it can be quite hard to stay positive in this tough world. And sometimes I struggle to stay out of the muck.
But for this morning…and this day…I have won the battle. Tomorrow will be another day. And I hope to attack it the same as today.
We are almost done with April. That went fast. And it was wet, too. At the station so far we have had 6.04" of rain. Coming into April we had 6.10" for the YEAR. So we've almost doubled what we had for the year in this one month. That brings the total for the year so far to 12.14". Average for this time of year is 10.28"…so we are almost 2" over so far for the year. We will catch a couple of dry days to start the week and by Wednesday night the rain come again…
I didn't do diddly squat this weekend. Faye had to work through the weekend so I spent a lot of time alone. I spent a lot of time with the dogs. They didn't spend a lot of time outside this weekend because of the rain. I watched some TV, played some video games, and did a few things around the house. My plan initially was to get a lot of yard work done, especially yesterday. But of course we all know how that turned out with the rain for most of the weekend.
So far I've had one of those "TPS reports" mornings. Four or five different people talking to me about the same thing! Meanwhile I've still got all of the other things I have to do this morning. Somehow, though, I've managed to overcome and persevere…even if I did get short with a couple of people. Isn't it funny and a little ridiculous when we get cranked up about our first world problems? I mean…it's not like I have to worry about killing a bear so my family can eat tonight. I don't have to worry about where to get clean water so we can drink. It's just a little frustration in the morning at work and no big deal in the grand scheme of things.
I always like to throw in a little perspective at times like this…even if I am not in the mood to tell myself that I need to get over myself.
See?? All better now.
From Kathy ($/15/13):
I'm glad it's going to rain. Nice slow rain so it soaks into the ground. The biggest problem I have with the rain is the fact my dogs all have white in them so I'm constantly toweling them off. It isn't a problem with the little ones but the 105 lb dog gets to be a bit much!
Our three dogs put us in a constant struggle to keep the house not looking like it houses 3 dogs! I'm feeling ya, Kathy!
From Kathy (4/22/13):
Does the morning shift not drink the water?? Nobody in the AM is having a baby. Come on mornings get with the program somebody on mornings needs to have a baby!
Ha! It is like a baby factory around here! To give you an honest answer, though…Faye and I are not quite ready for kids yet. Maybe next year for us. Mark and his fiancé have some other things to take care of before they start having kids…like the wedding! And I have no idea where Samantha is on that subject but my guess kids are no where close to being on her radar yet. We do have two people behind the scenes that are expecting, though!
From Devin (4/22/13):
I have been hearing that WAND will be dumping Accuweather on the Local Weather Station and will be making some changes. I have heard word that Channel 17.2 will become Cozi TV and channel 17.3 will launch and it will be a full screen Live Doppler 3D and NOAA Weather Radio all the time. Could you give more info on these changes and a possible timeline on when these changes will take effect please? You do a great job with the blog. I read every entry!
Thanks for being loyal to the blog, Devin! As to your other comments/questions…you seem to know a lot more about the situation than I do! Maybe when I want to know something about what is happening around here I will ask you!
I'm not being snide. I am being serious. I know the station is trying some new things…and I know what they have tried already. But I really have no idea what they are going to try next. The ideas you've presented make sense to me but I have heard nothing about where COZI is headed. Frankly…I'd love to hear who or what your source is! It would be nice to know what is happening around here…
That's it for this week! Thanks for sticking with this blog, Gregorians. While you are here take a minute or two and poke around some of the other blogs. Stacey Skrysak has been doing some good work on her blog…mostly about babies. JC has been talking about his upcoming kid on his blog. Geno Reynolds is still cranking out his movie blog. There are some very cool things happening in the blogosphere around here!
The other day there was a kid that just got a job in television news in North Dakota. He was just getting into his very first newscast. To open the newscast they ran what we call a tease. It is just a little off the top where the anchors tell you what is coming up during the news. This new kid, we will call him AJ...because that is his name…, started reading the tease and it was not going well. He was shaky at best. After the tease they ran what we call a stinger. That is a recorded little bit that transitions from one thing to the next. In this case it took us from the tease to the opening of the newscast. Coming out of the recorded stinger the two anchors came on camera…with their mics open…and the first thing you hear is AJ saying under his breath "…gay…f'ing sh%$".
Well…one of those words you can say on the public's airwaves provided it is in the right context. Those other two words can cost the station a boat load of money. And it is widely accepted that saying one or both of those words on-air will likely get you fired. And that is what happened to young AJ. The station at first suspended him. But the world is a lot different than it was when I started in this business. "Back in the day" when you messed up like that the station could suspend you and issue an apology for the incident. A week or two pass and the kid could get back to work. But these days when something like that happens it is INSTANTLY transported all over the world on social media and websites like YouTube.
AJ's gaffe went viral in a hurry. So the station decided to fire him. Now some in our business think that was pretty harsh. And some in this business, including me, think the kid had it coming. I mean…we all know when we put a mic on that we should assume everything we say is on-air. And then if you still decide to use bad words it is your decision and you deal with the consequences. And from what I hear this kid knew he was going to be fired and does not blame the station for doing it.
I think the part that may bother me the most about the situation is that yesterday the kid was on "The Today Show". Now that show's job is to bring interesting stories to the public. I can not disagree that this kid's mistake was interesting on a number of different levels. But the downside to them bringing the kid on is that now new people to this business will get the idea that all you have to do to become famous is mess up horribly. Now people coming into television news will know you either have to be very good…or very bad…to make a name for yourself. Do you realize how many very good broadcast journalists there are that have been working their tails off for years and will never get to sniff a national show like "The Today Show"?? And this kid got half an hour with a national audience for showing no discipline with his words. UGH! My guess is someone will give him a job simply for the name value. But that will be a short-sighted move…unless the kid is given the proper time to learn his craft and become much, much better at the gig.
I'm not bagging on the kid, mind you. He made a mistake that really could happen to most of us. From what I hear the kid even understands what happened. I don't think he should never be given a chance to work again. I hope he can bounce back from his auspicious start and make a career for himself. I guess my gripe really is with "The Today Show" at this point. Or maybe I am just jealous because this kid royally ^%$#@& up and was rewarded for it.
It is entirely possible this morning that we see some snow flurries. It could be that we also see some rain sprinkles. There won't be much of either…but let's face it. It is April 24th. Who needs to see snow flurries on April 24th???
Some of us got a decent amount of rain over the last day or so. Springfield only caught around .4". But Mattoon has had over an inch. Decatur caught over half an inch. It was certainly nothing like we had last week. But it was a nice amount that did not seem to contribute to any more flooding. It looks like we are heading into a relatively dry stretch. Friday night might bring a little rain…but getting into next week is going to be VERY nice.
For a while now I have joked about the age of the morning crew. I refer to Mark and Samantha often as "The Kids". I tell Romper Room jokes in the newsroom. It is all taken with good humor. These are good people with fantastic senses of humor. And we like to have fun at work.
But now the jokes are on me. This place is going to be full of "kids" very soon! We are in somewhat of a baby boom at WAND. Taneica the morning editor, Kyle the morning producer, Dawn Sterling, Stacey Skrysak, Kevin Chierek, and JC Fultz are all expecting babies very soon! I think Taneica will be the first to go…in June. And then one by one, month by month, all of these babies are coming out. Skrysak is even bringing 3 into the world at the same time! That makes 8 babies total by my count!
JC and Kevin are both due in September. That means that unless we get some fresh blood in here soon September is going to be all Greg…all the time! In my youth I may have enjoyed being on-air around the clock. But as Danny Glover's character in "Lethal Weapon" so aptly said, "I'm getting too old for this %^&*!"
The situation has made for some great jokes, especially with Skrysak being so "baby prolific". But at the core of it all everyone at the station is very happy for all of the parents-to-be. And of course employers love people getting married, buying houses, and having babies. That means all of these people will need their jobs more than ever now…
I listened to a guy on the radio this morning talking about our economy. He has a book out called "How to make $1 million an hour" and it is basically about how hedge funding took down our economy. The guy was fascinating and actually made a lot of sense. The point behind his entire book is that the government needs to find a way to break up the big banks because they have become too big and they are playing VERY risky games with our economy…even after they were bailed out. It is actually a little frightening.
Something else the guy said that surprised me is that China only owns 8% of our debt. Remember that ad campaign a couple of years ago that showed Chinese people laughing at how much of our country they own now after helping to bail us out? Yeah…apparently that was just an ad campaign. The guy on the radio said that one of these hedge fund managers put $500 million of his own money behind that campaign to scare the American people.
If you want to look into some of this stuff yourself here is a link where you can find more information about the guy that was interviewed this morning. Yes…I heard it on "Coast to Coast"…but that doesn't mean it isn't true! At the very least it was an interesting listen.
We could really be looking at some serious rainfall through early Friday morning. A lot of the models we use are predicting anywhere from 1 to 3 or even 4 inches of rain for some of our counties. That is a LOT of rain, especially when you factor in the fact that a lot of us have already had an inch or two in the past couple of weeks. We've gone from drought to potential flooding!
Someone sent me a link last week. If you've been reading this blog long you know I am a little ate up over the price of gas. Well this link is to an article on the Exxon-Mobil website that breaks down what goes into the cost of a gallon of gas. I found it enlightening. If you care to know…it is a pretty good read.
After yesterday's horrific Boston situation I thought about what to post on the blog this morning. I think just to bring it down a notch I will stay away from that topic here this morning. There is enough out there...and I can't really add to it.
I don't want to invade anyone's personal space...but I just want to mention that before I left work yesterday JC Fultz was in the newsroom. He was just getting back from doing a school visit, where he spoke to kids about weather. That means his work day started well before noon yesterday. When I got to work this morning...running a little late because I stayed up late watching news coverage, and then I had to drive through a couple of nasty storms...and lo and behold...JC was still here.
Anyone still doubt that JC was the right choice for Chief Meteorologist??
Happy Tax Day! Ha! Personally I think this day would be celebrated if the average United States citizen believed that our tax money wasn't somehow being funneled into the bank accounts of a select few. Yes…I guess I just pretty much stated that I don't trust what the government does with our money.
But on a positive note it seems we are looking at a fairly wet week! I know farmers are itching to get into the fields. And I am by no means an Ag Expert. But after last year's drought I think it would be nice to start this warm season with a good solid drenching. And then it needs to rain a bit once a week or so. Our best chances for widespread rain will come Wednesday through Thursday…and right now it looks like we could get quite a bit of rain.
I believe I saw a cougar on the way to work this morning. I was just south of Dalton City on Route 121. I had my high beams on…and at the very edge of the beams I saw an animal cross the road. It was quite a ways ahead of me. It ran like a cat. It was too big to be a fox…about the size of a coyote or a small wolf. I know dogs and cats very well…and this was a cat. From response on Facebook it seems that we do have cougars around here. So my guess is that I really did see a cougar on my way to work this morning. That is a first for me!
From Kathy (4/10/13):
I know I've said it before I would rather have the meteorologist predict bad weather and not have it , than have bad weather and it not be predicted. When you stress the storms are going to be bad it gives us a chance to tie stuff down or put it in the garage. Thanks for the warning about the weather. Now if you could do something about the pollen so my allergies settle down.
As it turns out the storms did get a little nasty for some of us! Fortunately it wasn't a huge event. But the wind got a little strong and we had a nice amount of rain!
Sorry…pollen is more of a biological issue! We can't do much about plants…unless we freeze them out.
That's it for this week! Thank you for reading the blog.
I've always liked Jesse Ventura. He was a great professional wrestler. He was a great commentator when his days in the ring were done. I liked him as a politician. I like the TV show he does/did about conspiracies. So I follow him when he puts stuff out for public consumption.
Sure…he gets a little deep in theories of conspiracy. He says things that can be uncomfortable to hear. But I don't always think he is wrong. Sometimes what he says makes a ton of sense to me.
Ventura lives part-time in Mexico. That is interesting to me because my Dad lives in Mexico part-time, too. So when I hear him talking about that experience it reminds me of my Dad. And I can understand some of what he says about it. I came across a YouTube interview with Ventura early this morning where he talks about being in Mexico for four months. He basically tuned out American TV and media. It seems like it has done him some good…
Chances are good for storms today. Chances are slight late this afternoon into the evening that we will see severe weather. If things come together for nasty storms wind will be the primary concern. We could see some wind gusts over 60 miles per hour late this afternoon into the evening. Once we get past that threat we will turn our attention to the possibility for heavy rain tonight into tomorrow morning. We could see a couple of inches of rain fall in some places in a short amount of time. So flooding will be a concern.
Tonight into tomorrow morning we will also have noticeably colder air moving in. Today we will get back into the 70's…tonight dropping into the 40's…and tomorrow only warming back up into the 50's. What is that old Central Illinois expression?? If you don't like the weather…wait five minutes…
Be safe today and tonight, Peeps. I'm not saying this will be StormPocolypse 2013…but a couple of these storms could get rough.
Back to work this morning! Wrestlemania was a pretty good show. I would not rank it among the best Wrestlemanias…but I also don't think it was the worst. All in all I think it was worth the money we spent on it. And it was certainly worth taking the day off yesterday!
Do you follow my Facebook page? The past few days I have been doing something on that page that has been pretty interesting. On Friday it was announced that JC Fultz has been promoted to Chief Meteorologist here at the station. Friday afternoon I posted a quick little congratulations to JC on my Facebook page…and the response was overwhelming. I think I got more "pop" from JC's promotion than he did! So I decided as a joke that I would congratulate JC on his promotion every day for a while on my Facebook.
I guess the response should not have surprised me. But some people really did give me unexpected response. Some questioned why it wasn't me. Some asked me if I was posting about it so much because it bothered me. So I told all of them that they need to read this blog more! As YOU know because YOU have been reading this blog…I could not be happier for JC. As a matter of fact I posted on this blog a while back that I thought JC should be Chief…and I had no interest in the position.
I think everyone is very happy that JC got the big bump. And it isn't like it shouldn't be expected. He became Assistant Chief a while back…kind of like being Vice President. So this next step is a natural transition. So one final time…CONGRATS JC FULTZ!
It is starting to look like next week is going to be pretty wet! As long as you can plan for it…that is not bad news. It is quite possible that we could see a couple of inches of rain by the end of the week. There is a decent chance for scattered storms every day next week until Thursday…when things taper off to spotty showers. Let's face it…we still very much need the rain. Just because "they" aren't officially calling it a drought anymore doesn't mean we aren't a couple of dry weeks away from getting too dry again.
There is no feedback this week. It's okay. Feedback is not an indicator of how well this blog is doing. With Facebook and other social media being so much better with online conversations…most of the thoughts on the blog this week have been posted on my Facebook page. You can find the link to that page at the top of this blog if you want to check it out. There were some great comments on that page this week.
Someone did send me a link to a story about mass shootings. It is an interesting piece. Keep in mind I did not fact check the article…and it does have a noticeable typo at the start of the article. That can lead a person to question credibility. But the article does illustrate how easy it is for certain national leaders to steer a debate and mislead the public. Here is the link.
That's it for this week! I will be off on Monday. Sunday night is WrestleMania 29…so I am taking Monday off so I can stay up and watch the show. And yes…I do this every year. Next year WrestleMania 30 is in New Orleans…and I am taking a week or so off (assuming I still work here then) because Faye is taking me to the event as a present!
So the breaking news I was dealing with yesterday morning was the Tommy O'Dell death. He had been on the run for a couple of weeks after the shooting of Ben Newton in Mattoon. O'Dell was wanted for that murder. The warrant was issued for his arrest and he fled. The word I got was that he has family in Texas. If you follow his path from Illinois through Missouri and ending up in Arkansas…you can see that he was likely meandering down to Texas. But I have no way of confirming that hunch. That is just my speculation. But it is speculation that I had in common with the Mattoon Police, as they were in contact with law enforcement in Texas.
The shooting of Tommy O'Dell brings about a few issues. Let me clarify a couple of things first. O'Dell went to school in Mattoon. I knew who he was but did not really know him. I can remember seeing him around but can't remember ever talking to him. He was a year ahead of me in school. I did graduate with his sister, though, and I always remember her to be a sweet girl. We weren't necessarily friends…or enemies. But I do remember having conversations with her over the years when we had class together, etc. And thinking about her doesn't bring up any negative thoughts.
I also did not know Ben Newton, the man that was killed by gunshot at Toaster's in Mattoon. His sister was a year ahead of me…Tommy's age. I also did not really know her. But I think we had a couple of conversations and she too seemed like a very sweet person. And from watching interviews with Ben's family…and knowing people that knew him…it seems like Ben came from a very good group of people.
While I did not necessarily know the people allegedly involved…I am from Mattoon and I live there now. So I am not without feeling when it comes to this very sad situation. We have had murders occasionally in Mattoon. But they don't happen very often. And when they do happen it seems to impact all of us that live there. That is a big reason why I have blogged about the issue and discussed so much on social media. It hits home for me, as well as many other people.
I do not know if Tommy O'Dell shot and killed Ben Newton. I know that the authorities think he did or they would not have issued a warrant for his arrest and set his bail at $5 million. That's a pretty serious move and indicates that they really think they had their guy. But Tommy O'Dell never had his day in court…and that is a CRUCIAL element to our justice system. Because he was never found guilty we in the media have to be careful to always say "allegedly" when referring to the murder of Ben Newton.
It is an obvious emotional situation for anyone that was touched by the victim. When I have mentioned to people that we have to consider people innocent until proven guilty I have been hit with "would you say that if Ben was your relative"…and my response is "absolutely yes". No matter what happens or how badly it hurts we MUST remain true to our principles. We simply can not jump the gun on declaring people guilty in the public eye before they have their day in court. Among the many tragedies of this situation is the fact that Tommy O'Dell will never have that day in court.
There is also the issue of O'Dell's family. His alleged actions…and his verified actions that lead to his death…leave more than one family victimized. Ben Newton's family and friends will grieve his death for as long as they live and always be left wondering what this young man would have achieved had he lived longer. But Tommy O'Dell also victimized his own family. He had at least one child that I know about…and I think had more. He has siblings and parents. He has friends. And none of these people had anything to do with Tommy's alleged actions. His decisions were not their fault. To them…they have also lost a son…a brother…a friend…and a father. When we speak of Tommy O'Dell…regardless of our rage over what he allegedly did…we have to remember that there are also innocent people on his side of the fence.
So when you are posting something about this issue on Facebook, or Twitter, or anywhere else online…ask yourself one important question before you hit enter: Would I say this in person in front of Tommy O'Dell's family? Remember…his family didn't do anything wrong. They deserve just as much respect for their grieving as the Newton family.
Tomorrow is Feedback Friday. You are more than welcome to sound off about anything you like. Your feedback will be posted tomorrow. Hit the feedback section below…or if you have a lot to say send me an email with "Blog" on the subject line.
This is going to be a short blog post and I apologize for that. I've been working on a breaking news situation and it is killing my blog time! I can't tell you anything about it right now because confirmation is tough to get before sunrise. But lemme just say that you should stay tuned to us through the day…
Okay…so maybe I am not going to get out of the weather business to get into sports. April Fools Day! But…one can't do weather forever, can one??
It's really interesting to look around this TV market lately. Not so long ago we had some LONG tenured anchors and weather people. In some cases someone would be on-air in the market for 30 years or more (Judy Fraser). Now all of that "old guard" is gone. After that one guy left this place a couple of weeks ago we find ourselves with no one that has been here for more than 20 years or so. As a matter of fact…is there even anyone in the entire market that has worked on-air for 20 years or more? Doug Quick is close at right around 19 or 20, I think. But outside of him I think Sean Streaty has been here around 19 years or so. And that is it. I've got a little over 15 years now…and next in line is JC with around 11 years. Forgive me if I am missing anyone.
I'm not going to turn this into a "glory days" blog. I am not even suggesting that this current trend is a bad thing. But you can't deny that it is happening. I think it is actually happening in most industries. People that have been around for a long time generally make more money than someone right out of school at their first or second job. So it can boil down to basic economics. Push the people out that make more money…hire people that don't cost as much…and the profits float to the top of the chain, right?
So…I guess the question is…how do you get to the top of the chain where people are actually making the money?
We will see you later, March. I will be honest with you. It kind of feels like you pulled a "Crying Game" on us. I won't get too much into detail…but let's just say you were not quite what we expected when you came to the end. We expected spring…and you gave us record breaking snow. I suppose we should try to stay positive…so let me end our conversation by saying "Thanks for the moisture"!
Hello April! You are already looking warmer! All we need this month is a good rain every several days and steadily rising temperatures. Yeah…your bar is fairly low this year thanks to what the previous month did to us. Basically all you have to do to make us happy is bring us a typical spring before we crash into 100 degree heat in a couple of months!
So I have come to a major decision in my career. After long consideration I have decided that I want to move over into sports. Lee Davis retiring has really had me considering what I should do next. I watch Noah Newman and Matt Loveless working so hard at their craft and it inspires me. I love sports. If it weren't for all of the women that read this blog I would make it mostly about sports. You can tell because sometimes I just can't help but to break out with some little sports tidbit. So I think the way I would really like to finish my broadcasting career is to make the move over to sports…and soon. Stay tuned!