Archive for November, 2008

Science Center Closed Friday
November 26, 2008

 FYI: I just got this notice and thought I’d pass it along in case you’re planning to take your kids to the Science Center on Friday. 

Dear Mrs. Wright,

Due to large crowds anticipated for the WVU/Pitt football game at Heinz field, Carnegie Science Center will be closed Friday, November 28. The Science Center will re-open at 10 am on Saturday, November 29.47359

Inspiretees / Historical Website
November 26, 2008

  I’ve noticed you like to check out the links I share about local products to buy. Thanks to all of you who checked out the local illustrator. He already sent along a nice thank you note. 

  Here’s another one for you that might make a nice holiday gift. A local woman named Michele Conti has designed these shirts embellished with Swarovski Crystals. 


  She calls them inspiretees because they are inspired by her faith. Here are a couple of examples. Click here to get to her website.        




  If any of you have any other links to local websites that might make good holiday gifts please pass them along to me to share. 

    And if you like local history, you make want to click here to check out an old amusement park that used to operate near Ellwood City. It was called Rock Point Park. Thanks to Bruce who passed this along to me.

  Here’s a section from the website: 


Some stories beg… no, demand to be told… and this one is compelling.

Rock Point Park, a wonderful Victorian-era amusement park once located near Ellwood City, PA (about 45 miles north of Pittsburgh), has a very unusual history. With beginnings in the “Trolley Park” era of the late 1800s (the exact date it difficult to pinpoint because of its evolution, but it is widely accepted as 1885), the park quickly became one of the favorite destinations for recreation in Western Pennsylvania.

Local Illustrator
November 25, 2008


  This is Charles Ott.  He’s an artist from Baden and sent me a quick email about his work to share with you here…. and he’s offering us a holiday special deal.  



Click here to get to his website.

He does pen and ink drawings featuring the landmarks and scenes of Pittsburgh, as well as historic landmarks of the United States.

Here’s the description from his website: ” The collection displays the beautiful architecture of colleges and universities, in addition to prominent industrial and commercial structures created all by hand in stunning vivid detail.   The illustrations make unique gifts for Christmas, college graduations, birthdays, retirements or that Pittsburgh sports fan.”

Here’s part of his email to me

” I would like to welcome you, the WTAE staff and your viewers to my new website, My website features very detailed pen/ink illustrations, all of which are created by hand. The works presented are a part of all of us in some way, whether through the landmarks, colleges or steel mills people used to work at. I wanted to offer a “special” deal with the illustrations particularly this holiday season. One, to mark my first Christmas season online/Pittsburgh’s 250th anniversary and secondly to help out local Pittsburghers. When someone purchases a print, I will offer two additional prints at no cost. Often when it comes to holiday shopping, you run into that problem of finding a unique gift for a friend, relative or co-worker. I hope that you and all Pittsburghers enjoy the work presented.”

Thanks Charles….  and Happy Holidays!

Deasy and Holiday Gifts
November 19, 2008

    OK OK OK….  I’m sorry I haven’t been able to post in a while. Thanks to all of you who’ve written in asking me what’s going on. : )

    First, my friend, Bill Deasy is releasing a new album.


He’s a fantastic local singer/songwriter and I’m a big fan. Click here to hear a sample of his new stuff and order yourself a copy. (It would make a great stocking stuffer!) 

  Speaking of Christmas, I’m trying to figure out what to get my children. Normally there is one big gift we ask Santa to bring… this year we’re having trouble coming up with something. This morning the always-plugged-in Ashley DiParlo had some good suggestions… including Rock Band to go with our Wii.


 She said it would be fun for all of us to do together.  I reminded her that my 10 year old would rather crawl under a rock than have his mother play in a rock band with him.  But it might be something my kids could do with their friends…. so I’m putting that on my list for Santa.  Ashley is one of the coolest people in our newsroom (Ally loves her!)  and I trust anything she suggests.  If any of you out there have any other suggestions for a 10 year old boy and 8 year old girl…. please email me!  

  And one final thing today, our neighborhood woodpecker doesn’t seem to mind the snow and cold. He was up early the last couple of mornings knocking on the side of my house.  If anyone knows how to get him to move on to another home… please let me know…. soon!

Surgicorps Making a Difference
November 12, 2008

   Here’s more from the beautiful story I did yesterday on Action News at 6:00. 

   For those of you who missed it,  a local plastic surgeon, Dr. Jack Demos founded a charity called Surgicorps 14 years ago. It’s a wonderful program in which medical volunteers donate their time and talent to go to developing countries to operate on people… especially children… who can’t afford surgery. In America, problems such as cleft palates and cleft lips and missing ears and other deformities are all repaired at birth. In other countries, kids aren’t so blessed. And as they grow up they’re shunned from society. Dr. Demos organized trips because he knew he could make a difference. He has. This past July, Dr. Demos retired from his successful plastic surgery practice in Pittsburgh and is devoting his time to the charity he founded. This week Surgicorps is moving into a new office (before everything was run out of his practice’s office), hiring a full time person to solicit donations, and upgrading the website. Click here to get to the website.

    Click here if you’d like to donate. Most of us are not able to leave our families to do something like this, or we can’t afford to take time off from work, or simply can’t offer any services like Dr Demos and his professional team can…. but what a great feeling to be able to help financially. 

   His volunteer medical team and support staff of 27 just got back from Vietnam ….. here are some photos from their trip. 


       Anita Harnish who is a freelance producer….. volunteered her time to go along with local production company Mind Over Media to document the trip.  Mind Over Media is going to donate a video for the new Surgicorps website …. hoping that people will be able to see the work the Pittsburgh team is doing and donate money for their projects to continue.  It does take a lot of money even with experts donating their time. For this Vietnam trip, the cost was $3500 per person for air travel and hotel stay. Many of the team members took their personal vacation time and their own money to make that happen.  


     When I interviewed Dr. Demos he said when his trip is over…  it’s not the 50 children who leave the hospital with successful outcomes…. it’s all those people who have to be turned away that he remembers. One little baby on this trip caught a cold and couldn’t be operated on. Many of the patients are not able to handle surgery for a variety of reasons and must be turned down. Sometimes, he says, crops come in during the week of surgery and a person has to go help their family harvest and can’t take the time needed for the surgery. Dr. Demos says that’s so heartbreaking.  


     This is a photo from Ho Chi Minh city. Anita told me it was a beautiful place.


   Here is a shot from the operating room.  The medical team works 12 hour days for the 10 days they are there. It is not easy… but you can imagine how rewarding it is to make such a dramatic difference in someone’s life.  Dr. Demos reminded me that over all the world the bond between parents and their kids are the same. We all want the same things for our children and he said it’s so wonderful to see a mother hold her baby after the surgery knowing that her baby’s life will be so much better because of this Pittsburgh group that so selflessly donated their abilities.  









    The next trip is to Bhutan in April. I hope to check back and see how that goes. 

    How proud I am to have such a great group of people from Pittsburgh making such a difference around the world. What a wonderful thing and I hope the Surgicorps mission continues to grow.

Strip District Fun / Ticket
November 11, 2008

   Here’s some fun we had over the weekend with our friends in the Strip District… but as you browse through these photos of our adventure… you can also think about how I lost track of time and the fact my parking meter was running out! UGH.

   Here are the girls being entertained at Wholey’s Fish Market. 


         That’s a talking cow. : ) 

        And below is something you don’t see it regular grocery stores. 


   And it’s also something you don’t smell in regular grocery stores.


    I could not get them to pose in front of all the fish … or the headless pigs hanging up. HA! 

    The kids also loved all the free fudge samples from  Fudgie Wudgie Fudge and chocolate factory…  and the free bread sticks from Mancini’s Bread Co.

    We bought a lot of goodies from people selling things along the sidewalk and enjoyed musicians all along the way.      

      Fortunes sells great coffee… and great hot chocolate for the kids… so we took a much-needed break in here from the chilly weather for a while.



      We’re inside Rania’s now…  watching them make tortillas.  


   Back at Wholey’s…  we watched them grab some live lobsters from the tank for a woman’s dinner.

   We had a few hours of fun…..  a little too much fun for the parking meter on Smallman to handle. So I’d like to give a big shout out to the officer who wears Badge # 41 from district #31 for the $11 ticket. I totally deserved it….  but who was I to interrupt the kids’ adventure?  ; )

Three Random Things
November 8, 2008

   A couple of weeks ago Mike Clark and I ran out to Panera Bread to pick up lunch for ourselves and a few people back at the station. (I got the Fandango salad with chicken.. yummy)  While we were waiting on the food, this wonderful woman recognized us and we went over to say hello. Mike promised her we’d post this photo on my blog…. so here you go and thanks for watching Channel Four Action News! 


     And then, I wanted to show you this.

     Somehow this painting ended up right beside my desk.

    I’ve been looking at it for weeks. I have no idea who painted it or who it belongs to or why it’s beside my desk …. so I finally broke down and thought I’d post it here hoping someone would be able to solve the mystery for me.


  And finally, here’s a Halloween party photo from my friend, Katherine I talk about in San Francisco. She’s the cheerleader.  She, of course, didn’t expect me to post it here….. but since she lives on the other side of the country…. I’m betting she’ll cool off by the time she arrives here to hurt me for doing this to her. : ) 


   Thanks for the picture, Katherine! Happy Halloween!

Apache Blessing
November 7, 2008

   Here is the last thing I’ll share from my recent vacation to Arizona.  This Apache elder sat under a tree with my kids and me and talked to us about his life.  He was soft spoken and my kids were mesmerized by every word.  He talked for about 45 minutes and then sang two songs in his native language. Then he wanted us to stand to receive a blessing. 


       He took out some pollen in a small tube and rubbed it on our wrists and forehead top of our chest. Then he said a prayer. He talked of the healing powers of what he was doing. 

   When I stepped out of line to take this photo… he scolded me…..  oops! … and told me to stand back where he told me. 

   We thanked him for his blessing and I’m sure it’s something my kids will never forget.

Guess Who’s on Rachel Ray?
November 7, 2008

phpthumb_generated_thumbnailjpg  I just got word that a woman who I talked about on one of my first blog posts is going to be on Rachel Ray in the morning (Friday Nov 7th at 10:00am) Caren Weaver is a local organic baker. Her company is called Truly Wize Bakery and she makes the best cookies I’ve ever had. The chocolate cinnamon ones are my favorite and that’s what she’ll be talking about on Rachel Ray! Click here to get to her website.  I first met her at the Polo for the Cure event which benefits The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She donated tons of goodies for the event and my kids and our friends stayed at her table most of the time gobbling down as many cookies as we could.  I talked about her on my blog…. and we’ve kept in touch. I’ll be so proud watching her on Rachel Ray tomorrow. Now I’m craving her cookies and I might go to her website and place an order before the whole country tries doing that tomorrow.

Hiking in Sedona’s Red Rock
November 6, 2008

  There are a few more things to share from my recent vacation to Sedona.  We stayed at the beautiful Enchantment Resort which is in the Boynton Canyon right in the middle of “Red Rock Country.” The spa there was rated #1 in the world!!!!!!!! But there was so much fun stuff to do with the kids…. I never went to the spa. Maybe next time.   The view really is magnificent and there is no way to capture it on camera. I took these pictures as we were hiking up the mountain. 

     Isn’t it beautiful?

     I loved it… of course, before our second hike my mother called to warn me about getting gobbled up by a mountain lion. That was in my mind the entire hike. So I’m glad to say we made it back to the resort without incident. Last night when I saw this story of a jogger getting attacked by a rabid fox in Arizona and having to run for miles with it as it chomped on her arm… it reminded me of our hike and that’s why I’m posting these photos for you today.

      The only other thing to share from my trip was the Native American blessing we received. I’ll post that one tomorrow.

Ton of Election Night Photos
November 5, 2008

  You should know I’m going to be hated for posting most of these pictures here of my wonderful co-workers.   But I wanted to say thank you to all of them for making our election coverage excellent. Here are, thanks to producer Rich Cook, some pictures of what was happening in the Action Newsroom last night starting off with our News Director Bob Longo and President and General Manager Rick Henry.

Great job everyone! 




Coming Soon
November 5, 2008

   My friend and wonderful producer Rich Cook brought his camera to capture some of the newsroom happenings on election night. Rich produced all of our web update videos which I anchored.. and when he wasn’t doing that…. he was snapping away… especially when the pizza arrived.  He was kind enough to send me some of his pictures… and in a few hours I’m going to post them to give you a behind the scenes look at what was going on in the Action Newsroom.

Garbage Bag Gala
November 4, 2008

        This was a fun event and a very unique way to raise money. I loved it! I was invited to emcee the 7th annual Garbage Bag Gala to benefit a wonderful program by the Salvation Army. It was held at the Fox Chapel Racquet Club.  Last year this event raised more than $30,000!   Here I am with Mrs. Pennsylvania Wendy Sledd,  Co-Chair and local attorney Dana Levine and Ms. Galaxy Deborah Wright.  

     All the money raised goes to the Salvation Army’s downtown Family Caring Center. Major Lynette Reel from the Salvation Army joined us and was very appreciative for the donation. 

  But we also had a great time!  It was a women-only event… and there was great food, great music, and great fun. Check out some of the creative gowns made from garbage bags! 

   Here I am just before the event …. getting help with my dress. : ) 





  Thanks so much to Dana Levine who invited me and to everyone else involved for making this event so special. Great job!

Coming up….
November 3, 2008

     Tomorrow night I’m going to be live on doing election night updates. So if you’re not near your television….or if you live somewhere other than the Pittsburgh region….  just log on to our website and I’ll help keep you informed of the latest news from the election.  

     I also wanted to let you know I just posted some additional Halloween photos at the bottom of my previous post.

    In  a few hours…. I’m going to post a cool event from this weekend.  I emceed a wonderful event last night (right now I’m putting together a story for the newscast and don’t have time to upload the photos). It was the Garbage Bag Gala. The idea is for women to donate the money they would normally spend on an evening gown… and instead design a garbage bag to wear. Some of the “dresses” were amazing! Also, Ms. Pennsylvania and Ms. Galaxy joined us. Great night and what a creative way to raise money for the Salvation Army’s Family Caring Center. I’ll show you pictures in a little while. 

     And I finally made it to the brand new Nordstrom this weekend at Ross Park Mall. I wanted to tell you I went to the coffee shop there on the lower level and got a Mexican Mocha….. YUM!  I can’t wait to get another one. It’s chocolate and cinnamon…. and I’m already addicted.

Last Minute Costume
November 2, 2008

    One of my good friends is visiting this weekend from Orlando. Troy has been a family friend for as long as I can remember. 

    Troy and Derek and I decided at 9:00 Halloween night to go to a party and needed a costume.  So here we are at a local drug store … and we quickly found all the costumes were gone. 

     We met up with….. wait, can you guess?????? ….. It’s the beautiful Marcie Cipriani and her husband, Chris (he’s dressed as an anchorman) 

   We also ran into the adorable Melanie Taylor who’s dressed as a bumble bee (perfect since she’s now with B94) And you can see my ridiculous wig (I have no idea what I’m supposed to be) … and Troy’s ridiculous wig. 

     Derek was so ridiculous… I just cropped him out of this photo.  Sorry.

     **** After I posted this …. I got some more pictures… so I’m adding a few more… see if you can tell who these people are: