Archive for June, 2008

NAMI Helps People
June 29, 2008




   There is a local group working to help those suffering from mental illness. That includes everything from something as common as depression to things which aren’t so common such as schizophrenia. If you or someone you care about is battling mental illness, NAMI can help. This group works with families and communities to make a difference. Mental illness affects one in five families… that’s why there’s nothing to be ashamed about.

 Here’s some info I took from the NAMI website: 

Mental illnesses are medical conditions that disrupt a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others, and daily functioning. Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, mental illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life. Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and borderline personality disorder. The good news about mental illness is that recovery is possible. 

(Click here to read more about it.)

 That’s why it’s vital to families, employers, and leaders in our region pitch in. Please join us October 5th for a walk at the Heritage Trail on the South Side at 10am. Click here for more information.  Last year was the first NAMI walk and we got three times as many participants as expected! This year we’re hoping for even more. (So go ahead and write it on your calendar now.)    The picture is from the kickoff meeting as we were encouraging businesses to donate their time and sponsorship to a wonderful cause. 

   There is lots of help for people suffering from mental health problems. NAMI can help point you in the right direction. So if you need help click here to get started. If someone you love needs help, NAMI can help you confront the issue in a delicate way.  Mental health problems are not something to be embarrassed about… many people are going through the very same thing.  NAMI can also help family members who feel the impact…. husband and wives, brothers and sisters, parents and children. I’m so proud to offer my support! 

Hummingbird Help
June 28, 2008

  I can’t believe all the response I’m getting from the hummingbirds. It’s great! Our meteorologist Erin Kienzle is trying to attract them to her house… and I bought two feeders for my house and just hung them up yesterday. So far…. nothing.  I have no idea how my mom got so many at her house. She has that special touch of making everything look easy. I’m going to share some of your emails about it… but don’t worry, I won’t use your names or email addresses: 

 Please help me I cant get hummingbirds to come to my home.   I had 6 when I lived in Liberty Boro but since I moved to Mopnroeville, I can not get any.  Help.   I have the feeders and I planted petunias and columbine and other flowers to attract them but they won’t come.  I am very upset I love them and enjoy watching them…. But they won’t come.  Help! 

  Here’s another:

 Hi Michelle – We have lots of hummingbirds and do as your person posted does by making our own food — – store food doesn’t attack them as well.  To keep bees and ants from getting into the feeder rub cooking oil lightly over the yellow flowers on feeder. They also like it if feeder is near hanging baskets or flower beds.  My sister who uses 10 pds of sugar per week for her 100+ hummingbirds said to start making food a little stronger in the first few weeks then once they start coming in good you can level it off some. Have a great day!


  Please share your questions or advice. I have no idea what I’m doing… but I’m going to give it a try. 


Your Hummingbird Suggestions
June 26, 2008


Thanks so much for all of you suggestions on attracting hummingbirds. Our meteorologist Erin Kienzle and I were talking about how to get them to come to Erin’s new feeder. Erin is promising me pictures soon…. in the meantime here’s one of your how-to emails which we really appreciate.  The above picture I at my parents’ house.

I saw Erin asking for hummingbird help today on the noon show. I have swarms of hummingbirds and thought I’d try to help.  I mix a solution of 4 parts water with 1 part granulated sugar. (I haven’t had good luck with pre-mixed/pre-packaged hummingbird food.) I boil the water then stir in the sugar until dissolved. Let cool, then add to a clean hummingbird feeder (I don’t add red food coloring, but you could…the hummingbirds will be attracted to both.) I clean my hummingbird feeders every week to every other week.  Also, some hummingbird feeders have yellow ports…these might attract stinging insects, such as yellow jackets, wasps, bees, etc.  I usually keep half the amount of yellow ports on the feeder before hanging it where I can watch for feisty feasters.  The final thing I can suggest is that you keep your feeder free of ants, but do not use ant/insect sprays because that will harm the hummingbirds too.      Good luck and enjoy! 🙂

  I will post some more of your suggestions soon…. Right now I have to get back to preparing for the newscast tonight.

Lemonade Stand Donation
June 26, 2008

 Remember the lemonade stand my kids and their friends, Hannah and Meghan, held during our neighborhood yard sale?

        The kids worked so hard and decided (without prompting from the moms) to donate the money to a charity that helps needy children their age. Project Bundle Up was the perfect choice. 

  This is Melissa Fereday the Director of Project Bundle Up. She’s great and works so hard all year long for the fantastic cause. She stopped by the station to pick up our donation. (Actually, I just saw her again last night at the Heath Miller mini-golf fundraiser and I’ll post those pictures when the photographer emails them to me). Melissa is expecting a new baby any day now.. and I know she’s going to be a GREAT mom!

I’ve seen first-hand how it helps so many wonderful children.  The shopping trips for winter gear are so important. The children get to pick out brand new coats and hats and gloves and boots. Some of them have never had the experience of going to a store and buying something new.  This not only keeps them warm and dry and the bus stops and playing outside during recess…. but it also gives them a feeling of pride and fitting in.  All kids seem to have it tough these days with everything they have to face in school….. Project Bundle Up helps. 

 I realize our donation is not the biggest… but every little bit helps. And what an important lesson for our children to see their hard work one hot Saturday morning make a difference.

        Click here if you’d like to donate to Project Bundle Up. And let me know if your kids are doing something to raise money to help others (whichever charity they choose) and I’ll post it on my blog.  I highly recommend it!

Titanic Floods, Hummingbirds, and Wendy
June 25, 2008

     Thanks for all of your advice on the hummingbirds. I’m going to send them to Erin and she’s promising to give me some pictures of her set-up. I am also going to post some of your suggestions when I get a chance to copy and paste them. 

    I’m also sending Wendy your well wishes.  Many of you are asking whether the station asked her to come back early … and I want to let you know that it was Wendy’s idea.  Since her twins are in the hospital now, she said they’re being very well cared for and she wants to take her maternity leave when they come home. I will also post pictures here when she gives me the ok.  I’ve seen some photos and they’re so tiny and so darling! 

    Also, I got this email yesterday: A water disaster shuts down the Titanic exhibit.

   Are you kidding me? That ship is still doomed.  Since I have a family membership… here’s the email I got from the Carnegie Science Center. I guess it wasn’t really appropriate to make a water joke about something that probably costs a lot of money to fix. I love the Carnegie Science Center and hope they are able to make quick repairs for smooth sailing for the rest of the show. 

Dear Mrs. Wright,Carnegie Science Center’s SportsWorks® attraction and Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition will be closed Wednesday, June 25, due to a water main break that occurred earlier today. Due to cleanup and repairs to the water main, bothSportsWorks® and Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, housed within the SportsWorks® building, will be closed tomorrow, June 25. The main Science Center building will be open with full operations. 

For more information or if you have reserved tickets to Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition for Wednesday, June 25,  please call 412.237.3400.

June 24, 2008

  First let me say, I have passed along all of your emails to Wendy on the birth of her twin boys… and her coming back to work to hold off on her leave until the babies come home.  Everyone is healthy and I’ll keep you posted! 

  Now, here are the hummingbird pictures I snapped from my parents’ kitchen window. 

How cool! Derek did a great job putting up the feeders…even though I enjoyed making fun of him. 

     Today Meteorologist Erin Kienzle told me she’s trying to attract hummingbirds and so far hasn’t had any luck. So if you have any advice on how best to get the birds to pay a visit, please email and let me know. Erin promises to get me some pictures. 

    They are amazing! 

Wendy is back
June 24, 2008

         If you’re wondering… you weren’t seeing things. Wendy is back already…. at least for a couple of weeks. 

         I go on vacation for a week… and in that time she gives birth to twins and beats me back to work! : )  

       She gave birth to beautiful twin boys 10 days ago. They’re tiny and amazing. I’ve only seen the pictures but I can’t wait to meet them. Since they’re going to stay in the hospital for a while, Wendy decided to come back to work and hold off on her maternity leave. 

      So many of you have passed along sweet and encouraging messages to me and I’ve forwarded all of them to her. She’s very appreciative of your support. 



Derek and the Bird Feeders
June 23, 2008

I’m back from vacation. 

We had a wonderful time with family. My parents spoil my children… but I can’t complain because they spoil me, too. 

I took a lot of pictures and will share some of them (I’ll try not to be too boring).  There was the big surprise all-yellow birthday for my daughter…. My Dad’s 70th birthday (he and Ally share a birthday!) …..

But since I’ve already uploaded these photos… I’ll start by making fun of my brother, Derek.

My parents have started to enjoy watching the birds.  Their home has a ton of windows and so it’s perfect.  Mom took Ally to the store to pick out some hummingbird feeders. 

     Mom asked Derek to go outside the kitchen window and drive the pole into the ground (which he bent.. ha ha ha) … and then hang the feeders.

     He’s obviously having the time of his life, don’t you think? ; ) 

    My camera was sitting on the table and I couldn’t resist capturing the effort.

   While I’m introducing you to Derek, let me tell you another story. He took the kids and me to the amusement park Kings Dominion. On almost every ride we were on there was a camera along the way which took our picture. Then when the ride is over and you’re walking out there’s a booth which displays all the photos just taken. On every single ride, every single time, Derek already knew where the cameras were positioned and he made some freak face and pointed at the camera. Which made everyone focus on our pictures and the terrified look on the faces of the rest of us.  My kids think that my brothers are just about the coolest people on the planet… and I have to agree. 


     Actually, I shouldn’t make fun of him because I enjoyed waiting and watching for the hummingbirds to arrive.

      It didn’t take long before they found this spot…. and I have pictures of them… but I still have to upload those. So you’ll see those soon. 

     Our other brother, David, is Derek’s twin (I’ll try to find a way to embarrass him, too) ….. speaking of twin boys….. I can’t wait to meet Wendy’s new little ones! I’ll keep you posted.  


Edible Arrangements…. Yummy!
June 21, 2008

        We ordered this during my vacation. It’s from Edible Arrangements. We invited the whole family over and dug in. 

        I first saw this when one of the fruit arrangements was delivered to the newsroom for some reason. Isn’t it beautiful? The fruit is perfect, too. 

        The chocolate covered fruit went fast (apples, strawberries, and bananas)…. but everything was fantastic. 

        If you’re having a party and want a WOW factor…. or if you’re looking for something to send someone other than flowers…. I highly recommend it.

      Click here for the website

The twins are here!
June 18, 2008

   She was due in mid-August, but of course it had to happen the very first time I went out of town all year.

   Wendy had two precious baby boys at the beginning of my vacation.  I am glad to hear everyone is doing well and I can’t wait to meet them when I get back. 


Your Personal Star Story
June 14, 2008

    If you’re into stars… here’s something you may love. 

    A local company can replicate the night sky from any day and any location to create your own Star Story.  You can send in your special day and location….  and the company called Starologie will use crystals to form a snapshot of the sky at that very moment in time. They use Swarovski Crystals.    You can commemorate an anniversary, graduation, or birthday. They can even do a future sky configuration… for a future special moment. 

  For those of you who’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know my fascination with the stars and the adventures I’ve had looking at the night sky. 

    That why I think this new product is cool.  It’s from a company in New Castle, Pennsylvania and the employees make each tee configuration by hand. Of course, each one is unique.  I talked to one of the owners, Michele Conti, and she has a shirt with crystals forming the night sky over New Castle, PA on July 22nd 1961.. her birthday. She says when she wears it people always ask about it and are amazed. 

    The company started when the other owner, Ryan Mitchell (who’s obviously a romantic) was searching for the perfect gift for his girlfriend.  They tell me each shirt comes with a personalized car and beautiful custom Euro-tote bag.  I think I’m going to have to buy one for my cousin, Lisa. She’ll love it! 

  Click here to get to the Starologie website. 




Mystery Photoshopper
June 12, 2008

   Do you remember the t.v. show Home Improvement? Our graphics artist guy reminds me of the neighbor whose face was always hidden behind a fence. 

  You can call him Weebs. He’s very talented! 

  I took this picture to give him props for all the cool photoshopping he did for my blogs with those Penguins pictures. 

  I should be able to say, now you know the face behind all the creative photos…. instead, I can only say now you know the eyes behind the masterpieces.

  Thanks, Weebs!

Shane the soldier’s email
June 11, 2008

  Here is the latest email from Shane the soldier. Looks like he appreciates all of your emails which I’ve been forwarding to him…. so please send along any thoughts. You can send him an email through me by using the box on the right.  Looks like we’ve turned Shane into a Pens fan!



          Thank you so much for replying once again, I know you must be extremely busy and the fact that you still make time to write me an e-mail is very much appreciated.  I just read the e-mails from your followers and I was overwhelmed with excitement to have had so many.  I will do my best at personally thanking each and every one of them.  

          I don’t have much of an oppurtunity to follow many sports while I’m here but my roomate here is a huge sports fan and told me that the Penguins had lost in the finals to Detroit.  If true, I apologize for the loss but they still remain my favorite team.  I regretfully have never been to a Hockey game so I think once I return home I just may have to make a trip to watch them play, I’d most definately enjoy it!

          As for myself, I’m doing fine I guess.  As good as can be expected anyway.  It really isn’t that bad here for me.  It’s just like anything else, you get out of it what you put into it and I usually make things harder for myself.  I believe my 2 week leave is in AUG so I cannot wait for that, I can’t even imagine what it’s going to be like to be in the states again.  I’m almost frightened by the thought of it.  

The building structures here are beautiful, well most are anyway and there’s alot of statues here.  I would’ve loved to have seen Iraq before the war.  I think it may have been a beautiful country.  It’s a little after midnight here and my eyes are getting heavier with every word so I think I will cut it a little short tonight.  Thank you so much once again.  And thank you for the picture, I love pictures.  I’ve never seen the Stanley Cup before.  Thanks again Michelle.

                                                                                                       Your soldier


Email Raccoon Response
June 10, 2008

  It seems not everyone thinks I did the right thing by catching a raccoon.  I got this email response from a Wildlife Refuge.  

   “Your raccoon story is of great concern to us as many times a mother raccoon is removed and/or killed and 6 or 7 babies ALSO die because their mother has been taken away.  The raccoon babies stay with their mother until fall.  They are a family unit, much like a cat with kittens or a dog with pups.  Moral, don’t mess with wildlife…. ” 

  Now, I’m sad. I certainly don’t want to separate a family like that.  I guess I feel I had to choice after the raccoons starting coming out during the daylight and boldly walking up to my glass family room door and staring at us and were not scared when I pounded on the door…. I thought I should get them far, far, far away from my kids.  Hopefully we can catch the rest of the family and they can all make a home together somewhere else.  

Raccoon Side Show
June 9, 2008

  Yep. This is a little side-show we had going on with our lemonade stand Saturday morning.

  For those of you who’ve been reading my blog for a while, you remember all the trouble I had with these little evil critters. They tear into my garbage and drag my trash all through the neighborhood. I’ve taken pictures  of them red-handed.  Many of you wrote in with great suggestions on stopping them from getting into my garbage… and that worked. But recently they’ve been coming out of the woods behind my house before it gets completely dark and looking at us through the glass door.  I’ll knock on the door to get them to scram … but they just stand there looking at us. Freaky! So I had a neighbor set a trap to get the family of three living under my shed. After a few misses…. BAM! We got one Friday night.  

    So until my neighbor could come pick up our evil pet and release it in the park… far, far, far away from my house….. my son and his friend, Meghan, decided to cash in our our catch.

         He looks so cute in this photo… but believe me, he wasn’t happy… so Zach drew a chalk line that everyone had to stand behind so they couldn’t get too close. 


       Several people went down to check him out. But I don’t think anyone actually paid to see it. ; )        

       One raccoon down… two to go.