Archive for September, 2006

Local Artist
September 29, 2006

There is a very impressive local artist you may want to check out online if you have a few extra seconds.

Her name is Holly Wayne. I recently ran into Holly at an event at Nemacolin Woodlands resort. She was showing the piece you see here. Isn’t it wonderful? It’s even better in person. Holly grew up in Pittsburgh and I think it translates into her art.
Her site is

Her pieces are industrial and beautiful and interesting and modern and sentimental and as you can tell I love it. She says the steel mills of her childhood inspired many of her pieces. That’s clear. I think that’s why I like her stuff so much is because it is Pittsburgh.

Holly told me, “We all need to remember our past, because it has made us who we are.  Cultures preserve their history and teach their lessons to their young through stories.  Once the stories are lost, they’re lost forever.  The same is true for our artifacts.  I think that artists are today’s storytellers.    
“I am drawn to the spirit of America’s past and I want to preserve a sense of what was. Many industries are represented in my work through artifacts and discarded found objects.  
“I want us to remember what it was that made our country great.  Although I do create modern pieces, much of my art reflects America’s industrial past.   It becomes a kind of snapshot of that era, integrating in a three-dimensional way, scenes that are interesting to look at and historically significant. 

” In 1999, I felt the need to create a New York skyline piece and I began collecting materials.  Then, when the tragedy struck on 9/11, like many Americans, I was compelled to visit Ground Zero.  For most of us, these visits were a pilgrimage.  I think we all needed to make some sense out of what had happened. 

“During a recent trip to New York, I became concerned that the original setting of the World Trade Center would be lost by the appearance of so many new buildings.  Architecture, like art, reflects the spirit of a people and of their time.  For me, and for millions of others, the World Trade Center was a symbol of our strength as a nation, our aspirations, and our need to strive and excel.  I feel relieved knowing that I have created this piece of art that preserves the original World Trade Center skyline and its place in history.”

While she was in New York, even Regis stopped by to check out her stuff.
If you’d like to see it in person….. some of her work is on display at the Nemacolin gallery through the end of the year.


Cool Jewelry
September 26, 2006

Cheri Hayden is someone I want you to meet. She’s making jewelry for the Oscar presenters this year!
She even gets to go to Hollywood to meet them all!
I first met her about a year ago at a charity benefit. She’s from Greensburg, very young, very talented and very determined. I’m so proud of what she’s doing.
She makes all kind of beautiful jewelry…. Especially necklaces. Her specialty is called the “backlace.” It’s a choker style necklace in the front…. then it drapes down your back. You can see why brides all over the country are ordering her pieces. Of course it looks great with formal dresses … and even hip casual with turtlenecks.

Here’s her website if you want to check out more of her stuff.

She just finished doing gift bags for the stars involved with “Fashion Rocks” and she’s working out several other deals all over the place. Her slogan is appropriate it’s “for the girl who wants to make a grand exit.”

I’m hoping to do a full story on her on Action News when she’s getting ready for Oscar night. We’ll see what kind of things celebrities will be wearing.
But right now I just wanted to let you know what she’s doing.
She tells all the young women out there “if I can do this, they can do anything as well! My husband and I are big supporters of Girl Scouts. I am always telling them that I am just a regular girl from Greensburg. I am living proof that you can be a complete “girly girl” and really kick butt in a primarily male dominated industry.”

Tonight (Tuesday September 26th) she’s going to be at the Hard Rock Cafe for Whirl Magazine’s Model Search Finals.
Great Job Cheri! I look forward to seeing more of your work!!

Dance Squad
September 24, 2006

Sometimes we like to tease the new people here. We can’t help it. I was teased when I first started in this business long long ago. So those of us who’ve been around awhile sometimes gang up on the new ones. Come on, it’s fun!

Anyway, we have a part-time associate producer who is darling. Her name is Missi and she’s very bright and does a great job. All associate producers are dear to my heart because that was my first position.

Missi is still going to college at Pitt…. and she happens to be on the dance squad. She’s the one on the far right. I told you she was darling!

I want to take my six year old daughter to a game to watch but I think she’s too worried that the huge Panther mascot will try to come talk to us. Ha!

Well, when word got out that she was on the dance squad…. one of our directors, who I’ll call “Helena” to protect her identity…. started teasing her by doing “jazz hands” every time Missi walked by. Of course, Missi is a good sport and played along. Then “Helena” and I and the others…. started making up a sort of pretend soap opera around Missi and her dance squad team. There was the girl on the squad who no one liked… the girl who couldn’t quite get the routine down…. and Missi herself, in our imaginary story, would cause lots of trouble. We could have written a whole show on that imaginary squad.

But things got a little out of control when “Helena” went to a Pitt football game last weekend. As luck would have it, “Helena’s” ticket just happened to be right smack in front of Missi.

Poor Missi.

Let’s just say “Helena” had a great time doing jazz hands throughout the game…. and much much more.
I’m sure the other dance squad members wondered who in the world that woman was.

Somehow Missi held it together. In fact, when Missi came back to work she couldn’t stop laughing about it. Great sport.
I was teased non-stop like that when I was an associate producer. I know one day Missi will be on the other end of that teasing. I hope she finds a sport as good as she is to enjoy it.

Fresh to Death????
September 24, 2006

Kids today.
Can someone please tell me what “fresh to death” means?
The girl police say helped the gunmen into the Duquesne University social used the phrase. Five basketball players were shot that night.
We wanted to find out more about Brittany Jones who’s 19. We looked up her “my space” site and she said she’s attracted to guys who are “fresh to death”.
I actually had to read that on the news. I’m sure I didn’t pull it off…. and I’m still not quite sure what it means.

Book Review
September 23, 2006

I want to give a shout out to my friend Bill Deasy now. Many of you know him as a local rocker who puts on a great show. (I’ve seen him many many times… it all started the first time I saw the Gathering Field)
If you have seen him, you know he’s a great singer/songwriter…. but what I’ve just learned is that he’s also a wonderful author. His debut novel has just been published.. and I just finished reading it. It’s called ‘Ransom Seaborn’ and I loved it. It’s beautifully written and the ending is awesome… If I say any more I’ll give it all away so I’ll stop.

According to Bill’s website there’s a contest to enter for Bill to come talk to your book club. (it’s worth starting a book club just for him to stop by I think).
It’s worth picking up a copy. Bill is a great guy with a great family…. and I’m glad to know them.
I told Bill I can’t wait to read his next one!

If you’ve already read Bill’s book and are looking for something else…. I also just finished ‘The Kite Runner’ which is spectacular….. and I’m in the middle of ‘The Glass Castle’ right now. So far, it’s great… I’ll keep you posted on it!

Goodbye Summer
September 22, 2006

Today is the official last day of summer!!!
It flew by, didn’t it?
I do love Autumn. In fact, September and October are my favorite months. There is nothing like going to a South Carolina beach at the end of September. And, come on, the Steelers are back!!! So it’s a fun season.
But I’m going to miss the warm days…. and especially a Channel Four tradition. You may have heard us talk about it a little on the news. Every Wednesday is ICE CREAM DAY.

The ice cream truck pulls up at 3:00 at our station’s front door and my co-workers line up like cattle for it. In fact, you’d think someone pulled a fire alarm the way the building empties out so quickly.
The company picks up the tab… which makes the ice cream all the sweeter.
I get the vanilla ice cream between the two chocolate chip cookies… whatever that’s called.

Here are some photos from our last ice cream day.
Goodbye Summer.

Polka with Ploeger
September 21, 2006

I’m watching Dancing with the Stars right now.
It makes me think of Action News Anchor Jake Ploeger and the night he showed off his skills.
He was sent out on the fun assignment of covering a big Steelers Super Bowl party.
And it was the truest kind of Pittsburgh party: POLKA.
Here’s something you didn’t know about Jake: he’s a polka king on the dance floor. He really knows how to roll out a barrel of polka fun!

Ok. I’m kidding.
There was NO WAY Jake was going to join the polka party and no way he was even going to try.
As the night went on the polka people asked Jake to join them. No thanks, he’d say. After a few hours, they were begging him. But check out the picture…. he refused to even take off his coat! He was taking no chances.

Here he is that night on the dance floor sidelines with one of Action News’ biggest fans. In fact, he calls himself Superfan. Mark is a D-J in Latrobe. He has his own radio show. Marko Polka. Get it? I looked up this picture on
Thanks Mark for taking this picture.
If you ever see Jake out anywhere… ask to see some of his famous “Ploeger Polka” moves.

Hair Troubles
September 19, 2006

I thought I’d share a small sample of the letters I’ve saved about my hair. It seems my hair generates a lot of emails and these handwritten letters…. and they all have different advice. What’s a girl to do? ; )

“hey michelle – you need a make over. it looks like you are wearing a mop on your head”

“dear michelle, I watch channel 4 all the time. but I’m about to change. Why? Because I’m tired of looking at your ugly straight hair… please get a body wave then use a large curling iron.”

“You’re a very pretty girl and have a great personality only thing wrong, back of your hair is not nice. needs to be combed good.”

“your hair was always so nice. now it looks like h – – -.”

” the style with it pasted to the side of your head doesn’t do a thing for you. You act like you are afraid it is going to come unglued if you turn your head.”

Ok… Ok…. Most of the letters I get are very nice. I appreciate all the support but it’s a little fun to get these types of letters, too. It reminds me that the very least I can do is comb my hair so people will continue inviting channel four into their homes each night. I’ll keep working on it.

Polo Problems
September 17, 2006

I guess I just forgot about the running of the hounds.
I thought my daughter would love coming to the polo match with me. I imagined her getting all dressed up and enjoying the horses and eating all the yummy treats. But before the match began the traditional running of the hounds caused more than a little chaos in our tent.
Every year I M-C the Polo For the Cure match with Sally Wiggin. It’s one of the charity events I never miss. I’ve done it 12 years now. I love it. It’s beautiful out in Ligioner but most importantly the proceeds benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. My grandfather died of a rare type of leukemia so finding a cure is something dear to my heart.
In addition to bringing Ally, I also invited my dear friend Bonnie and her two girls Meghan and Hannah. They’re wonderful friends.
Ally and Hannah are best friends. They’re in the same class. They share a locker. They eat lunch beside each other everyday. They are PETRIFIED of dogs.
That last one occurred to me as I announced it was time for the running of the hounds.
I should have recognized the screams. A couple of the feisty hounds ran straight to our tent, chased the girls around the table several times, then jumped up on the table.
When I made it back from the announcer’s stand…. I found both girls shaking with their arms wrapped around Bonnie’s legs. Totally FREAKED OUT.
I should have know better. I have history with those hounds. A few years ago one of them “marked his territory” on my friend, Katherine Roberts’ foot.
By the time it was time to stomp the divots… things did calm down. The skydivers were amazing, the balloon release was inspirational, and lots of money was raised to find a cure for leukemia and lymphoma. One special moment was when the winner of the $1,000 prize donated all of the money right back to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Can’t wait until next September to do it all again… hounds and all.
A big thank you to Dorothy Raizman, Kristine Samloff, and George Omiras for letting me take part all these years.
If you’d like to donate to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society here’s the website:

Stupid Steeler Question
September 15, 2006

I’ll submit my first blog by making fun of myself.
It involves me, a Pittsburgh Steeler, and an embarrassing question.
Last January, Action News did our whole show from Heinz Field.
We were there to bring you the Super Bowl sendoff pep rally live.
Very Exciting!
I took my seven year old son with me…. and dressed him in his favorite player’s jersey: Jeff Reed.
The rally was spectacular. We were right next to Dan and Pat Rooney and they looked just as excited as my son.
Just as the players were leaving the stage Jeff Reed spotted my son’s jersey and walked over to say hi.
Since we were still on the air I decided to ask him a few quick questions. After the first few …. this came out:

Me: “Since you’re the kicker, are you worried about the weather in Detroit?”
Jeff: “Um, well, since we’re in a dome weather won’t be a factor.”
Me: (Silence)

Yes. We were still live on television. Jeff was gracious and quickly changed the subject to help me out. But my “friends” weren’t that gracious and and you can’t imagine how many called to make fun of me.
“Hey, Michelle, maybe you should have ask Jeff if he was worried an opened door in Detroit would affect his kick.”
“maybe the heating vents could cause a draft… Jeff should prepare”
Then a couple of days before the Super Bowl… my phone at work rang.

Me: “Hello.”
Caller: “Hi Michelle. This is Jeff Reed.”
Me: “Riiiiiight …. and I’m Condoleezza Rice. Who is this really?”
Caller: “(laughing) It’s really Jeff. “
Me: “Sure it is. Is this Art Carr (Action News photographer/constant prankster)? I’m working on a story right now. Call back and make fun of me later.”
Caller: I just called to say don’t let that question about the weather bother you. I’m sure you were distracted by everything happening at the pep rally. It’s no big deal. I ran into your camera crew in this restaurant and thought I should call.”
Me: “This is NOT Jeff.”
Caller: “Hey, they’re taking a cell phone picture of me talking to you right now to prove it’s me.”

*** (phone picture comes across of Jeff Reed talking to me) ***

Me: ” Oh. It is you. Well, ONCE AGAIN, let me apologize for embarrassing myself. And let me thank you for coming over to shake my son’s hand. That was nice. He’ll never forget it.”
Jeff: “No problem.”
Me: “Good luck in the DOME.”