Archive for July, 2009

Knockin’ on Seven’s Door
July 31, 2009

I just got this release from the cool minds at Markowitz Communications and thought I’d pass it on to Steeler Nation.  I think this will be our next battle cry:   “Knockin’ on Seven’s Door”

When Pittsburgh Knocks, Victory Answers

Iron City Makes Its Case for the 2009 Season

(PITTSBURGH) July 31, 2009 – They have their one for the thumb, and they even traveled down the “Road to the Six-Pack”, so now how can the “Stiller” Nation cheer its team to lucky number seven?

After the viral success of Iron City Light’s “Road to the Six-Pack” campaign that helped lead our team to a 2008 championship season, the local brewery knew that in the 2009 season, our home town football heroes would be gunning for that seventh ring.  So Ronin Advertising and Markowitz Communications, the marketing, advertising and PR brains behind Iron City Brewing Company, decided that the Steel City needed yet another lucky battle cry.  From donning T-shirts, to waving towels, those who bleed black and gold can boast that their team is now “Knockin’ on Seven’s Door.” Fans will be able to enjoy Iron City Light and receive “Knockin’ on Seven’s Door” merchandise throughout the 2009 season.



What Should our G-20 Slogan Be?
July 31, 2009

Pittsburgh is working to coordinate things for the G-20 Summit which will be here September 24 &25.  One of the many things it’s doing is encouraging businesses to present a uniform logo and message as we welcome international visitors. That exact slogan hasn’t been chosen yet so I think we should start pitching suggestions for it.  County Executive Dan Onorato and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl say they want the message to portray how Pittsburgh has reinvented itself from a steel town to a center for cutting-edge technology. Email me at with your suggestions for how to put that portrait of Pittsburgh into a short and catchy phrase. (for a crash course on the G20 click here)


This came up on my tour of Bayer Corporation because Bayer will be the first company to put up the yet-to-be-determined sign which will welcome people driving in from the airport to downtown. What a cool place! (excuse my blurry photo I’m still trying to figure out my new blackberry but that’s Ravenstahl and Onorato on a tour with a gaggle of media)

Bayer was just awarded a federal grant for $750,000 for carbon nanotube reinforced polyurethane composites for wind turbine blades….. translation#1: making wind power more efficient ….. translation#2: another reason Pittsburgh is cool.

Bayer has already been getting international phone calls about the G-20 and has put together a new website to help our visitors navigate their way through the summit and through our city. It’ (my thanks to Robert Kumpf and Bryan Iams for the tour!)

The Pittsburgh G-20 Partnership wants to show off local companies such as Bayer to the world in hopes of attracting new business to our region. Other companies in the airport corridor that are interested in joining the welcome effort should contact the Pittsburgh G-20 Partnership.

Money For Online College
July 29, 2009

Today I interviewed career coaches with the Empowerment Tour. They pulled their giant RV into the Waterfront in Homestead (in the pouring rain!) to talk about four million dollars in money available to help those who want to retool their skills by taking online college courses. Click here to get more information.


I interviewed Sidney Siegel who’s looking for work. He wants to update his skills to have an edge in getting a job. He told me the last job fair he went to had one hundred job openings and two thousand people show up.

The coaches are touring the country to get the word out about the changing world of online classes. They’re headed to Cleveland next.

Copacabana in Pittsburgh
July 29, 2009

I had a fabulous time at the CLO’s production of Copacabana! It’s in Pittsburgh through August 2nd. Click here to buy tickets.

Here’s the description:

A love letter to the Technicolor® 
musicals of the 1940s!

Travel back in time with Lola, Tony and Rico when “music and passion were always the fashion.” Inspired by Barry Manilow’s Grammy® Award-winning hit song “Copacabana,” this old-fashioned musical weaves a seductive story of love, jealousy and murder as told through the eyes of an aspiring songwriter. Complete with splashy production numbers and an original Latin-inspired score, Copacabana features more than a few surprises for even the biggest Barry Manilow fan.

July 28, 2009

My story tonight at 6:15 is about trichotillomania.  People affected have the uncontrollable urge to pull out their hair…. strand by strand.


I talk to a brave local college student, Jennifer.  She first started pulling out her hair when she was 12.  It’s been a tough struggle for her. Now, she’s 20 and completely bald. She says Debbie Mancuso who owns Hair Enhancements of Pittsburgh has changed her life. Debbie helped Jennifer get a wig and helped her get her confidence back. Now, even though Jennifer still suffers from the disorder she has the courage to go to college. She shares her story and her appreciation for the Ladies Hospital Aid Society which helped her afford a wig.  If you know someone who suffers from this or if you’d like to make a donation click here.  Also, the LHAS is having its annual gala Saturday, August 22 at the Westin Convention Center Hotel. (Click here for details.) The keynote address will be with Jai Pausch, wife of “Last Lecture” author and Carnegie Mellon University Professor Dr. Randy Pausch.  Tickets are $350, part of which is tax deductable. For tickets call: 412-648-6106.

Inspirational Kid
July 22, 2009

Here’s a preview of a story my photographer, Tim Lohle and I are working on for tonight: (click here to watch my full report)


14 year old Travis says he was tired of being known at school as “the sick kid.”  He had a brain tumor.  But thanks to a procedure never done before at Children’s Hospital…. he’s heading into high school tumor-free and tells me he’s looking forward to being known as “the normal kid.”  My report on his procedure tonight at 6:15.

The Case Against Big Ben
July 21, 2009

The lastest on the Roethlisberger case:

RENO, Nev. (AP) – A woman has filed a lawsuit accusing Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger of raping her last summer in his penthouse room at a casino in Lake Tahoe during a celebrity golf tournament.

Roethlisberger’s lawyer adamantly denied the allegations Tuesday.

“Ben has never sexually assaulted anyone. The timing of the lawsuit and the absence of a criminal complaint and a criminal investigation are the most compelling evidence of the absence of any criminal conduct. If an investigation is commenced, Ben will cooperate fully and Ben will be fully exonerated,” David Cornwell said in a statement.

The claim seeks at least $390,000 in damages from the quarterback, who has won two Super Bowls and is one of biggest names in sports. The lawsuit also alleges hotel officials for Harrah’s Lake Tahoe went to great lengths to cover up the incident.

Teresa Duffy, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office in Douglas County, which includes part of Lake Tahoe, said no complaints were filed about such an incident either with sheriff’s deputies or the district attorney’s office.

The woman’s lawsuit says she didn’t file a criminal complaint because she feared she would be fired and expected Harrah’s would side with Roethlisberger.

The woman said she had been promoted from VIP shift manager and was working as an executive casino host when Roethlisberger struck up a friendly conversation at her desk during the golf tournament.

The next day, July 11, 2008, she said he telephoned her to tell her his television sound system wasn’t working and asked her to look at it.

She said she was unable to find a technician so she decided to handle it herself because she had been told how important it was to please celebrities.

In Roethlisberger’s room she said she determined the TV was functioning properly but as she turned to leave but the 6-foot-5, 240-pound quarterback stood in front of the day and blocked her, the suit claims.

The lawsuit said he then grabbed her and started to kiss her. It said she was “shocked and stunned that this previously friendly man, that appeared to be a gentleman in her previous contacts with him was suddenly preventing her from leaving, was assaulting her and battering her.”

She said she feared that because he was a football player he could or would physically harm her if she tried to fight him off but that she objected and protested several times.

“But instead of stopping, Roethlisberger began fondling plaintiff through her dress and between her legs,” the suit said. He then “held her against her will and physically moved plaintiff and pushed her onto his bed” here he raped her, the suit says.

She told him “You don’t want to do this,” and begged him “I am not on any type of birth control.”

Afterward, he asked if there was a security camera in the hallway. She said he then instructed her to claim she had repaired his television if anyone asked why she was in his room.

The lawsuit says the woman required hospitalization for treatment for depression after the alleged attack.

The woman’s lawyer, Calvin R. Dunlap, of Reno, declined to answer questions about the lack of a criminal complaint and why the civil action was brought a year after the incident allegedly took place.

“Neither I nor our client will be making any comment,” Dunlap said in an e-mail to AP. “We believe the matter should be resolved in court rather than in the media.”

The lawsuit also names eight Harrah’s employees as defendants and alleges the cover-up involved the chief of security at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe and was carried out with the knowledge of John Koster, president of Harrah’s northern Nevada operations.

John Packer, spokesman for the hotel-casino, did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.

The suit says Harrah’s security chief Guy Hyder gained the trust of her parents while she was hospitalized for depression and persuaded them to give him a key to her home. She said Hyder and others then entered her home and allegedly erased information from her computer and confiscated it.

The lawsuit claims that when the woman first reported the attack to Hyder he dismissed her distress and crying and said she was “over reacting.

The woman said Hyder told her that “most girls would feel lucky to get to have sex with someone like Ben Roethlisberger” and that “Koster would love you even more if he knew about this” because Koster was good friends with Roethlisberger and admired him greatly.

Steelers spokesman Dave Lockett said Tuesday the team is aware of the lawsuit, and “we are gathering information.”

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Silence the Violence
July 21, 2009

Today I met some extraordinary people trying to make a difference.  Hundreds of people gathered in downtown’s Market Square to encourage youth to choose peace.  Organized by the MGR Foundation, the rally included about 25 youth performances of poetry, song, speeches and more on the subject of violence.


Here’s a picture of my photographer, Gary Morris, working hard.

I talked to three teenagers who all witnessed shootings and I talked to a man who was shot and survived years ago… but his best friends was just murdered this month. You can see their stories and some of today’s performances in my story at 5:35 tonight on Action News.

One of My Favorite Authors Dies
July 20, 2009


Angela’s Ashes is one of my favorite book recommendations.  Frank McCourt won the Pulitzer Prize for writing it based on his impoverished Irish childhood.  I was sad to see that he passed away Sunday. He was 78.

I was blessed to have had the chance to meet him. He came to Pittsburgh and  I was thrilled when I found out I was assigned to cover the story and had the opportunity to interview him.

Fun at Kennywood
July 20, 2009

My brother, Derek bought us all tickets to Kennywood last weekend.  We spent most of the day on the roller coasters. Only Derek and Zach were brave enough to try the water rides. On the Log Jammer… they didn’t get too wet… but check out what happened to them on  the Pittsburgh Plunge!

One Giant Leap for Mankind
July 19, 2009

It is the 40th anniversary of the first walk on the moon.  40 years later…. still amazing.

It was July 20, 1969, when Mission Commander Neil Armstrong made the historic first step from Apollo 11’s landing craft, the Eagle, onto the surface of the moon. What a hero!
At 10:56 p.m. his was the first human foot on another world. With more than half a billion people watching on television, he climbed down the ladder and proclaimed: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” Buzz Aldrin joined him, and described the moon’s surface as “magnificent desolation.”  For two and a half hours they explored and took pictures.  They left  behind an American flag, a patch honoring the fallen Apollo 1 crew, and a plaque reading, “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon. July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.”

Red Door Farm / Chilled Radish Soup
July 17, 2009

I’m doing a story  on urban gardening today at 5:45. A local company called Steel City Soils is pushing the idea of growing food in the city no matter how small the space.  I’ll show you how the company can help you get started and even help you maintain it.  Its slogan is: “Eat Your Backyard!” (click here to watch my full report)

But in the meantime… I wanted to share something here.  While we were shooting the story,  the homeowner, Nick Krug,  made me Chilled French Radish Bisque.  When he mentioned it… I cringed because I am not a radish fan. But trying to be polite I tried it and LOVED IT.  It is refreshing and delicious! Here’s a video of Nick bringing out his homemade bisque.

It was so unexpectedly delicious that I made him print out the recipe for me and I’m going to share. Enjoy!


Chilled French Radish Bisque

4 C French Breakfast Radishes, cliced 1/4″ thick

1 C white onion, sliced thin

2 T unsalted butter

1 Bay leaf

1 T rounded, flour

3 C Chicken stock, preferably homemade

1 t Kosher salt

1/2 C Buttermilk

1/2 C French breakfast radishes, grated

2 T Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed

TT Chives, sliced (TT=to taste)

Wash the radishes. Remove the tops and slice about a 1/4″ thick. Slice onion as thin as possible.

Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the onions, bay leaf, and radishes. Cook over low heat about 10 minutes. Do not brown. Add the salt. During the cooking process, the radishes will begin to lose a little of their color, and will render their natural essence.

At this point, add the flour and combine with vegetables. Pour in chicken stock and mix well. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 additional minutes. Remove bay leaf and pour into a blender. Add a towel to the top of the lid to protect against a sudden hot splash or accident. Puree until smooth.

Cool soup overnight.

Grate the remaining radishes and add a pinch of salt.

Add the buttermilk and the lemon juice. Stir in grated radish. Pour soup into frozen demi-tasse cups and garnish with chives.

Yields: 16 demi-tasse cup servings; or 16 – 3oz portions.

Recipe is courtesy of: Nick Krug’s The Red Door Farm

Double Hand Transplant
July 17, 2009

I especially love my job when I get to cover stories like this one. (click here to watch my full report)


What an amazing thing to see. 11 weeks after the nation’s first double hand transplant  done here in Pittsburgh at UPMC the patient was showing me how he’s now able to move his fingers. Incredible.

57 year old Jeff Kepner works every day on his therapy. Right now, while he’s able to move his fingers he still  has no feeling in them. The very first sensation he wants to feel is holding his wife, Valarie’s, hand. The doctors say that should come in another nine months to a year and he’ll have full use of his new hands in one to two years.


He and his hand therapist showed me some of the daily exercises. He lifts a balloon over his head and passes a tiny basketball from hand to hand… even plays connect four.

He lost both hands and both legs in 1999 because of a bacterial infection. He almost died. He told me he always felt that God kept him alive through all of that for a special reason. He thinks this surgery is the reason. He wants to be an inspiration to others.

Honey Bees
July 16, 2009

imagesSome of you have commented about my story on what some local beekeepers are doing to move honey bees from unwanted places (homes or warehouses)  and set up their hives where they can thrive. The groups say since honey bees have been having such trouble surviving in the last few years…. we should do everything we can to help them and not exterminate them if they build a nuisance hive. One of the groups I talked to is Burgh Bees. They teach people how to become beekeepers and have honey tastings and much more. For more information click here. There’s also a cool recipe that I want to try called Honey Cake. Yummy!

Who Has Best French Fries in Pgh?
July 15, 2009

Yummy story tonight from Call 4 Action reporter Aaron Saykin. He’s looking at who has the best french fries. He’s been doing a taste test all day (I’ve resisted so far LOL) and we’ll have the results tonight at 6:15.