Friday, March 31, 2006

Gone for the weekend........

Fire away at your mercy everyone. I am out of town until Sunday while I hang at a company retreat.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

For the night owls out there.......


For those in greater Burlington, check out Channel 17 tonight at 11:15 for an interview I did with Brian Pine. Brian and I both coach in the Center City Little League, and Brian had the idea of us doing a TV spot. Now, I have a feeling this will prove I have a face for radio, but we shall see.

This is the first time I have done anything on TV, so it should be interesting to see. I will be sacked out, so tell me how it looks.


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Random babble........

First of all, I must make a note to myself to check the site meter so I don't whine about not getting any page views. DOH!!! I must be new to the blogging thing!!! Secondly, as I sit at home on this gorgeous spring day, I have to put my two cents in on outgoing Mayor Clavelle of Burlington. I started off at WVAA as a part time guy, and then in a month moved on to being the full time newsguy. When I walked into my first press conference with Mayor Clavelle, I have to say that I was a little petrified. Here I was, talking to the man for the first time, and with that, this was the announcement that he was not seeking another term. In all of the chaos of the day, he didn't recognize me as a member of the media, and made it a point to ask about me, who I worked for, and if there was anything he could do for me. Good Lord!! This man had just made a huge announcement and he was asking about me?? Needless to say, I was impressed then, and am equally as so now. Take politics aside, the mayor has always been kind, gracious, and very open. Thanks Mayor for making my job easier.

Come to think of it, all politicians in Vermont are this kind. Can you imagine walking up to Da Gov in California and just BS'ing with him? I saw Governor Douglas while covering the Guard/State Police hockey game on Sunday, and just walked up to him and started talking. Martha Rainville was the same way as far as her openess and genuine kindness. Lieutenant Governor Dubie gets mad when I don't call him Brian, and the man even gave me his cell number and invited my wife and me to tour his sugaring operation.

I may rip on Vermont because I am a Californian and hate the cold, but as a member of the media, it doesn't get much better than here.


Monday, March 27, 2006

Sunday, March 26, 2006

A sneak preview

Hey, some comments on the blog would be nice so I don't think I am babbling to just myself!!!!(Just kidding, I always do that.) Here is a sneak preview of this week's piece for the Vermont Times. Originally I was going to get quotes from Governor Douglas and Martha Rainville, and contrast those with feelings the family members of guard soldiers have about the war. Well, it turned out just a bit different than that.

This isn't just a game......

For some, the third annual hockey game between the Vermont National Guard and The Vermont Law Enforcers to benefit the families of guard members serving overseas, was just that, a game. For Andrew Labounty, this game was the last bit of ice time he will see for the next year; next week, Labounty, a Swanton resident, will be deployed to Iraq.

Andrew Labounty is a member of the Vermont National Guard serving as a pilot on Blackhawk fighter planes. He has served six years in the guard, and has always wanted to serve overseas. Ideally Labounty would be serving with his unit, but as they don’t have any space, he will serve with a unit based in Alabama. He said even though he will be serving with an Alabama based unit, he will be serving his home of Vermont, and is not unlike any other soldier in that he leaves home with quite a bit of anxiety.

Sunday’s game, a 6-4 loss, gave Labounty a chance to play in front of 30 members of his family, some of which will not see him for the next year. “I have been playing hockey all of my life, today was a good chance to spend time away from work with guys I have been working with for the last six years.” Labounty continued to say he has very mixed feelings going to Iraq, not because of any personal beliefs, but knowing he may not come home.

Labounty will be flying assault missions in Iraq, a sharp contrast to dodging checks on the ice. As we spoke, one of his nieces and nephews came over the glass to hug him and just be around him. Later, he posed for pictures with various family members. I don’t know about you, but I say a good hockey game and spending time with family is a pretty good way to be sent off into war.

Note: Originally I had planned on writing this article on the feelings family members of guard soldiers have about their loved ones either being deployed overseas, or the possibility of that happening. After hearing about Andrew Labounty, my article instantly changed. Be well Andrew, and come home safe so you can play in this game again next year.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Graff continued......

By the way, check out the Vermont Guardian for this update on the Graff situation...........

Yes, I am alive


Yes, I am alive, but had the week from hell, so writing wasn't at the top of my priority list.....Keeping my sanity was.

Anyhoo, the thing with Chris Graff is just wrong. The man is an icon in Vermont journalism whom I believe was fired for all of the wrong reasons. Below is my short and sweet e-mail to the AP asking for Chris' reinstatement.

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing as both a journalist, and a concerned Vermonter. I ask that you reinstate Chris Graff to his position as chief of your Montpelier bureau. Mr. Graff knows this area, and knows the people as well, if not better than any journalist in the state. His integrity, knowledge, and ability to speak to everyone from a small Vermont farmer, to college professors at UVM makes him invaluable to us in the state.

Please reconsider your decision. I believe you have made a horrible mistake.


Chris Fells
News Director--WVAA 1390, WUSX 93.7, WLFE 102.3.
Sports Director--ESPN 1070 and ESPN 1490
Correspondent--Vermont Times Newspaper

On another note, get out and see all that our maple producers have to offer on open house weekend. ( Being a recovering Californian, I have never seen a maple "farm" before, so Alex and I are heading to Underhill today to see one. Being the lifelong Vermonter, Alex has seen tons of these, but I have not, so she gets to see me in all of my city boy wonder.

Monday, March 20, 2006


I was taking a peek at the site meter on the blog and noticed a couple of hits from, and the Sargeant at Arms. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm, am I not being controversial enough?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Aren't gas prices high enough??

The increase in the fuel tax in Vermont has passed through the House and Senate, and needless to say, I am not the slightest bit happy about it.

Yes, roads in Vermont are horrible. I dodge about a few dozen potholes on my way to work in the morning, but there has to be a better way to fund improvments and repairs than yet another tax increase. When I took my wife to the airport yesterday, the avergage price of a gallon of gas was abour $2.45 or so. Needless to say, we cannot afford yet another hike in the price of fuel. There are those who are struggling right now to put gas in their tanks so they can simply get to and from work in the morning. This increase just makes things more difficult to do so.

Now, what do I see as the alternative? Well, I honestly don't know, as long as funding road repairs does not include the governor dipping into the education fund. What do y'all think?

Friday, March 17, 2006

Da Prez and his band of lunatics

Ok, I have had enough. The war in Iraq is becoming more and more of a disaster every day, health care in this country is a joke, and now the limit on the national debt has been raised for the fourth time in five years. Why????????

Think of this, we pay 243 BILLION dollars a year in interest alone on the debt. The debt has gone up significantly since the end of the Clinton administration because of things like a pointless war without an exit strategy, money going to Bushies cronies, and increasing the defense budget while our own people starve and our seniors go broke trying to scrape up the money for prescriptions.

There are continuing ethical questions surrounding the Bush administration, Cheyney is out shooting people, and the Republican controlled House and Senate has given even more money to the war which will never end. Aid to the poor, homeless, battered women, Boys and Girls clubs, along with other social programs are being slashed so we can kill more people in Iraq, and so we can see gas prices go through the roof. The administration is being ruled by religion, and the conservatives are starting to think they rule the world. Bush still thinks he is doing a good job, even though his approval rating sits at a dismal 33%. Lord, even his own party doesn't think Bush is doing a good job. HELLO!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am hoping that in this year's mid-term elections that we send a message to the Republican party. If we as a country are so upset with the way things are being done in this country, get out and VOTE!!!!!! With voter apathy at an all-time low, I sincerely hope that those who give a rat's @ss about changing what is going on in this country go out and do something about it. We need change people!!!!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Vermont Times


To see the more serious side of my writing, pick up a copy of the Vermont Times. The Times is a free weekly that can be found throughout the Burlington area. This week I have three stories in there, so enjoy!!

It's that time again........

Ladies and gentlemen, it is that time again. Yes, it is time for me to make a royal fool of myself in going through the NCAA basketball tournament. Now I know this is not a science, but in past years, I just have not done well in picking this thing. Picking the 3/14 and 2/15 upsets is close to impossible, and the 8/9 games are a crapshoot. This year, I took the brackets and used it as bird paper. Where Simon pooped is who I picked, so if Simon pooped wrong, it is all his fault.

Here are the picks for this year:

Duke to win it all as with JJ Reddick, they simply cannot be stopped. Reddick has a great supporting cast behind him, and if they lose, I will be shocked. The rest of the Final Four should be Kansas, 'Nova, and North Carolina. I pick North Carolina mainly because as a college basketball nut, I REALLY want to see Duke and Carolina play in the final.


Southern Illinois over West Virginia as the Salukis are one of those mid-major teams that will surprise some people. They played a tough non-conference schedule, and have one of the best defenses in the game.

San Diego State over Indiana as the Hoosiers just don't impress me. I don't think they have it in them to win one for departing coach Mike Davis, and SDSU has been impressive this year.

Air Force over Illinois, yes you are reading that right. Air Force really has no business being in this tournament, but I think they will come out and win this game as they have something to prove. If they win, the naysayers are silenced, and a program that has come a long way will have a chance to be stomped by U-Conn in the second round.

Gonzaga is just overrated. Yes, they have Adam Morrison, but not much in the way of balance. I see them being knocked off by UCLA in the Sweet 16.

Best game of the first round will be Montana/Nevada. These are two teams from mid-majors who play lights out basketball. Despite the fact this is a 5/12 game, I really think it will be the best of the bunch.

Fire away everyone!!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

I have been warned.........

I have been warned that due to the fact I e-mailed the blog address to Corrie over at Women Helping Battered Women, I will get harassed. I have this to say to you Corrie.......BRING IT!!!! I CAN TAKE IT!!!!

In the news today......

Well, not much as nothing really that exciting is going on in our own little world known as Vermont. One thing I do need to mention is now that the voters in Burlington have spoken on Measure Two, this measure still needs to be approved by the state. I know that many do not like the idea of having another one percent added to their purchases, but remember that there are loopholes in this. Mainly, this will be added to purchases over $100.00. Now really, how many of us on a regular basis buy things over $100.00? For those who have bottomless pits for wallets, this simply adds $1.00 per hundred on purchases. Think about it, is an extra buck per hundred really that much? Even with as poor as I am, I can afford that. The key thing with this is that without this tax, the City of Burlington faces a 1.2 million dollar deficit. What that means is cuts in police, fire, public works, and other city services. Folks, our public safety could be jeopardized in some ways, and I know we don't want to see that!!

Monday, March 13, 2006

A couple of things...

First of all, I would like to thank the Special Olympics of Vermont for inviting me to do the PA and hand out awards for the Winter Games at Bolton Valley. I am a long time supporter of the Special Olympics, and being able to do some of the announcing was a great experience. Some of the athletes(well, actually all of them) just amazed me. Their spirit, their determination, and the raw emotion and happiness from winning a medal never fails to put a smile on my face. I think I was bear hugged a couple of dozen times, and high fived so much that my hands hurt. Trust me, I am not complaining in the least.

Secondly, after seeing Barak Obama speak on Friday, I have to say I am more impressed than I was before. Obama has the ability to take a crowd in the palm of his hand, squeeze, and keep them captivated. His speaking ability is incredible, his sense of humor fantastic, and he has amazing ideals. I would love to see him run for president in 2008, but I wonder if the US is ready for an African American president. I know one thing, if he runs, I sure am voting for him.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Hey Center City..I'm baaaaaaaaaaaack!!

This one will be short and sweet as I have a ton to do before I cover Barak Obama's speech over at the Ira Allen Chapel. Last night was registration and a "workout" for Center City and man alive I am glad to be coaching again. Where with working for Helldelphia last year, I did not have the time to coach, I hadn't seen most of those kids in over a year and a half. Yowzers, I forgot how much kids grow over a year!! Although I wasn't able to do much with my bum knee, it was really nice to be coaching again. I love coaching mechanics, the art of the two handed catch, and seeing how thrilled kids are when they make the slightest improvment. When coaching this year, I won't be "Fells", "The Radio Guy", or "The moron who said tonight's title game between BURLINGTON and Spaulding was South Burlington/Spaulding" (Hey, I got it right today), I am simply "Coach". Man, I love coaching.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Election Day Part II

I had to recover from Election Day in order to actually write about the insanity of the day. I ended up working about 17 hours that day, and was TOTALLY braindead the next day. I am shocked that I didn't call Bob Kiss "Smoochie" on-air or commit any other blunders. (Well, there was a doozy, but that is another story.) Here is the rest of the day:

3:15pm--Flop down on couch, attempt to nap.
3:30pm--Wake up as I couldn't sleep, and headed to Milton to see how the school budget vote was going and to get reaction from voters.
4:00pm--Start interviewing random people, some of whom looked at me funny, but got a few decent quotes.
4:30--Depart Milton, head to Colchester to do the same.
4:45--Arrive, bump into a few people I got to know during the strike, and then start talking to more random people, some of which did not like the fact the district was asking for more money after the strike. Really, not surprising at all. (Side note, Friday there is a recount on the passing of the budget as it passed by only eight votes.)
5:30--Head to Burlington for the real fun of the evening.
6:15--FINALLY find a place to park and start hobbling to City Hall on one and a quarter knees.
6:30--City Hall was just ELECTRIC!! There was quite a bit of excitement over the IRV, and the various issues that were on the ballot. I also bumped into one of the guys from VPR whose name escapes me. As always it was a great conversation.
7:00--Meander Church Street in search of coffee, and then head to Sweetwaters to talk to the Kiss folks. Now those are NICE people!! I had a fantastic conversation with Kiss' stepson about VAA, the Waterfront Theater, and how the election was panning out.
7:30--It's go time everyone, here come the votes!!!

We skip the timeline for awhile, as when I say I was having fun, I was really having fun. Maybe I am a sick and twisted humanoid, but being at City Hall when the votes are announced ward by ward is an interesting experience. Each of the Ward Clerks goes up one by one and announces the totals for each ward. This year, it was a bit different with the IRV as there were two and even three sets of votes that were announced. Now, all of us news people were writing furiously and calculating votes as we went, wondering if the IRV would kick in.

8:30--Miller loses her own ward which was not a good sign for her.
9:00--The final vote is announced and Kiss has 37%, Miller 32%, Curley 26% which means the IRV kicks in. Kiss and Miller are the two left, Curley, Cowpoop, and Loyal were out. (Poor Loyal, only 58 TOTAL votes.)
9:05--The final vote is announced and Kiss wins, pandemonium breaks out.
9:20--Head to Sweetwaters for the victory party and interviews.
9:45--Kiss enters and I swear that Sweetwaters shook. What a scene it was, and Kiss was just so low key about everything. He had this look of "aw shucks" and made his very short victory speech. To me this was a good sign as the man had just won the election, and it was like he found a quarter on the ground. He is very low key, which to me means he is all business and ready to face the tasks at hand.
9:50--Interview Kiss, leave Sweetwaters, and head to the Scuffer to talk to Curley.
9:52--After hearing Curley rant and rave about Miller and Kiss, I got a quote from his campaign manager and left. Curley more or less ripped into Kiss for not taking his congratulatory phone call which was WRONG!! I was there when Kevin called and Mayor-Elect Kiss could not hear him over the noise, and tried to call him back. I told Kevin I was there and that Kiss was trying his hardest to talk to him, but Curley wouldn't hear anything of it. Also, when I walked in, Curley was raving about how he is glad Miller didn't win and that he would have saved the city from the horror of a Miller administration. Needless to say, I don't think he recognized me as a reporter, so he has no idea someone was listening. Kevin, always assume there is a reporter around right after the election results are announced.
10:10--Talked to a couple of people outside of Sweetwaters and headed home.
12:30AM!!!--Finally fall asleep after unwinding. Total time of the day was 17 hours or so and I was so tired and so wound up from the day that I couldn't sleep. Here are the totals on the day......

1--Times I locked myself out of my car.
2--Full meals eaten.
7--Cups of coffee.
15--Interviews with voters.
17--Interviews/Discussions with politicians.
17 1/2--Hours worked.
24--Phone calls made to various camps, wards, etc.

What a day. As exhausted as I was, and it took me a day and a half to recover, man did I ever have fun.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

A day in the life of the one person news department.....On Election Day.

Now, this is going to be an interesting day. I see myself in 20 different places at the same time, and losing what is left of my hair at the same time. As of 3:00 this afternoon, here is my day:

3:45am--Alarm goes off, hit snooze button.
3:50am--Alarm goes off again, snooze button punched.
3:55am--Alarm goes off yet again, wife kicks me in the head, cat farts, and I finally get out of bed.
4:35am--Arrive at studio, almost slip on the one piece of ice left in the parking lot, but manage not to spill a drop of coffee.
4:45am--Sit in front of monitor and look at about a dozen press releases, write some gibberish, then start drooling as writer's block kicks in.
5:00--Crap, I really have to stop staring at the monitor.
5:10--Kick myself in the @ss, and bumble my way through three newscasts. In the process, since I not only have writer's block, but my tongue doesn't work, I remove said tongue and replace it with a coffee filter.
5:40--Replace replacement tongue with the old one. Neither one seems to work, so why not use the original?
6:00--Potty break, and yes, everything did come out ok, thanks for asking.
6:15--Curse the fact that Saint Mike's didn't make the second round of the playoffs in hockey and basketball as reading the IRS taxlaws are more interesting than what I wrote.
Fast forward to about 8:30, as the second cup of coffee kicked in, and there was only massive amounts of braincrampage and peeing. As they say, you don't buy coffee, you rent coffee.
8:30--See into the future and write the afternoon news.
9:00--Crystal ball breaks, realization there is an election today and head out to see Deano vote.
9:30--Comes to realization that watching Dean vote really won't be that much fun, but I just want to see if I can beat someone to the tough question.
10:00--Dean arrives, smiles, and poses for the cameras.
10:15--Done voting, the lunatic radio guy asks, "So, how did you vote on Measure Six?"(Anti-war/closing of Air Guard base.) Dean dodges question, but answers it without knowing he did so.
10:30--Back to the studio for more frantic writing.
10:45--More peeing.
11:30ish---Get news done with quotes, e-mail Shay at the Guardian with quotes from Deano, e-mail Curley, call Curley, curse the City of Burlington as they won't fax election results to the media, and then ponder what in the world will happen if IRV doesn't work.
12:00--Cut PSA's, and do other random news stuff, including making sure the fax machine works for those kind and wonderful towns that will actually FAX results over.
12:45--Go to leave to cover Hinda Miller voting, cannot find keys....Keys in car with door locked. Oh poop.
1:15--Arrange for door to be unlocked at home, intern gives me a lift home, and then back to the office to pick up my car, FLY to see Miller vote...OOPS!! TOO LATE!!
2:00--Curse my brain, and head home.
2:05--Damn, I need to stop peeing.
2:10--Phone rings five times in eight minutes; Measure Two, Six, and Eight reps calling me with their press conference locations and times, Alice to make sure I get paid, and Curley's office. (By the way, I forget his campaign manager's name, but he is HYSTERICAL!!!)
2:30--Eat for the first time since 4:30 this morning and start writing this to clear my head as I will be up until about midnight tonight.

More later, as this should be a fun night. Yes, I am being serious. As much as I am going on and on, this really is fun. Of course, my brain picks today of all days to go BOOM!!!! Naptime, more later.

See ya Kirby.......

I think it is a sign of age when you hear of the passing of one of your childhood idols. Yesterday, Kirby Puckett passed away at the age of 44. Growing up in San Francisco, I worshipped Puck. I loved the way he would run through walls to catch a fly ball. I loved the fact that someone shaped like a bowling ball could hit .330. I also loved the fact he played the game with passion, and had fun out there. Puckett recognized that baseball is a kids game, and that most of the male population could only dream about what he was doing.

When I was a kid, we would play wiffle ball against the garages of anyone whose parents would allow us to abuse their garage doors. Being the baseball addicted dreamers we were, (And for that matter still are) we made lineups, and tried to even mimic the stances of our "team". Well, as a left hand hitter, I don't think I did Kirby much justice when trying to hit from the right side, so of course, a change had to be made.....Kirby became a lefty. Man, in real life, Puck should have hit from the left side, because he was awesome!! Some of those shots that cleared the gutter, and went into the thorny bushes were legendary!! (I think I still have one of the scars from those darn things.) I was Kirby because I was the little guy with some heart, and countless dreams.

Thanks for the memories Puck, and rest in peace..

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Why I love this time of year.

Being the sports nut that I am, March has always been one of my favorite times of the year with the NCAA Tournament and the start of spring training. Now that I am covering the state basketball and hockey tournaments, I want it to be March all year round.

If you haven't gone to a high school hockey or basketball tournament game, do what you have to do to go. Drag the kids, bribe a babysitter, and walk uphill in 20 feet of snow to get to the game, because it will be well worth it. You walk into the gym and are defeaned by the cheers from both schools. You have a bunch of crazed kids screaming and yelling, along with their parents and grandparents, and the whole place feels like an indoor version of Mardi Gras. The cheerleaders are flying, kids are hitting the floor chasing after loose balls like their lives depend on it, and there is a collective gasp everytime a shot goes up.

When Wide World of Sports coined the phrase "The thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat", high school playoffs are what they had in mind. Kids jumping up and down on every hoop, not giving up until the final buzzer, and tears of joy and dismay at the final buzzer. These kids won't go on to the pros, or may not even play in college. This is their stage, and they live it up for all it is worth.

On a side note, is anyone dreading listening to the Rich Tarrant campaign ads for the next nine months as much as I am? Good Lord, I don't care to hear about how Red Auerbach releasing Tarrant helped "form IDX" until the campaign comes to its merciful end.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Well, I still have a knee

Well all, surgery yesterday was a success. The doc found a bunch of loose garbage inside of my knee, removed it, and sewed me back up again. I am on crutches until Monday or so, and then can start to walk around a bit. Swelling isn't too bad, and I can actually put a little bit of weight on the thing, but then I pay for it a few minutes later. Needless to say, I have been spending quite a bit of time on the couch, and have actually become one with the thing. If all goes well, I should be back at work bright and early tomorrow morning.

Now, as many people know, I don't sit around well, which is why I am babbling away right now. I have already grown bored with watching CNN, MSNBC, and have seen Sportscenter twice. I actually resorted to watching the NFL Combine on NFL TV, which can be amusing in a twisted sort of way. It is hillarious watching 350 pound men who haven't missed a meal since shortly after birth run the 40 slower than I could run it on crutches. A couple of these guys could be clocked with a sundial, and the time would be more accurate.

Anyway, observations from surgery yesterday.......Operating rooms are COLD!!!! The doc's had to put about 20 pounds of warm blankets on me so I wouldn't freeze to death, and watching your own surgery is actually pretty cool. I was actually able to see what the doc was looking at, and Doc Campbell put up with me asking question after question wondering if what he was doing was actually going to have me walking without serious pain in the next year. Needless to say, I didn't feel a thing, and other than the fact I was freezing my upper body off, it wasn't bad. (With the drugs I was on, one of those 350 pound linemen could have jumped on my knee and I wouldn't have known it.)

Back to the couch, and maybe some breakfast..