Archive for September, 2009

Back Pain Help
September 30, 2009


This is Deb.  Tonight on Action News you’ll hear her story of back pain. (click here to watch my full report) She said it felt like she was constantly being stabbed with a knife in her lower back.  She had trouble standing and sitting and was taking a lot of medication.  She couldn’t take it anymore and she tells me about the new procedure she had in March at West Penn Hospital  that took all the pain away.

The Rockettes
September 30, 2009


The Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular is coming to town this holiday season. Tickets are on sale now… click here to buy them. The last time the show was here was four years ago and I took Ally. We both loved it.  Today some of the Rockettes came to town and I got to go to a “master dance class”.  Young dancers had a great time and learned the secret to that famous kick line and also learned the importance of hard work and confidence.  To be a Rockette you must be between 5’6″ and 5′ 10 1/2″.  I’m two inches too short… in addition to the long list of other reasons I would never qualify to be a Rockette.

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Here’s a description of the show:

“The grandest holiday show of all time. Bring the whole family!” -Time Magazine

The World Famous Rockettes return to Pittsburgh this holiday season in the 2009 edition of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular! Fill your heart with Christmas as a cast and crew of over 100 members brings America’s favorite holiday tradition to the Benedum Center. Delight in the dynamic precision of the legendary “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers,” and be swept away to re-live the very first Christmas in the awe-inspiring Living Nativity. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular is the perfect holiday gift for the whole family!

G20 Highlights
September 29, 2009


I would have to say my highlight of covering the G20 was Friday morning’s press conference.  President Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkosy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown walked in grim-faced. That’s the press conference where they announced intelligence had uncovered a covert uranium enrichment facility in Iran they say is designed for  nuclear weapons production.

To accommodate the thousands of international journalists there, everyone could pick up a headset with various language channels where you could tune in to your language for a translation.


I wish I had one of those headsets for this press conference. I had no idea what this delegate was saying in Spanish.


It took us a long time to get to the DLCC. First we had to park at Mellon Arena and go through security. We had to have our passes out and the search included bomb sniffing dogs.


Then we took a bus to the DLCC. But we took the long way. Traffic only ran one way through town so instead of going directly there we went the long way. The ride back was much shorter.

For the first news conference I sat with our media exchange partners from the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. This is Andrew Conte and Luis Fabregas.


In all the press conferences all of the reporters had their laptops open and they typed out their notes instead of the old fashioned way of writing. So there’s always a slight hum under the speaker’s voice.

The Convention Center was beautiful inside and there was lots of room for everyone. The glass walls gave everyone a wonderful view of our city even while we were inside working.  Lunch was on the second floor concourse and the food was really good although there wasn’t much time to eat.  I picked up some tomato bisque in a bread bowl on Thursday.  Delicious.


While I was safe in the secure zone, I kept up with what was happening with the protesters through my blackberry. My coworkers did a fantastic job in the thick of things!

That’s a quick behind the scenes look from my G20 perspective. What a wonderful experience!


My PGH Zoo Video
September 28, 2009

I just got one of those flip video cameras. LOVE IT.  So I pulled it out this morning when the kids and I went to the Pittsburgh Zoo to help kick off the American Diabetes Association’s walk. Even though it was raining…. hundreds of people came out to help raise money to fight diabetes. My grandmother passed away from complications related to Type 1 diabetes so it’s a cause dear to my heart.  Thanks for inviting me to participate! We had a great time and here’s the video the kids and I made of our adventure.

G20 Media Area
September 27, 2009

It was so interesting to be with the thousands of  international journalists inside the Convention Center. Here’s a short video of where we worked. There were rows of tables with power outlets and internet connections for us to upload our scripts. At one point I was sitting with reporters from Sweden, China, France and Japan. The five of us had a wonderful conversation about their perspective of the world and what their readers wanted to know from the G20. When they found out I was from Pittsburgh they bragged about how beautiful our city is and how smoothly everything was going. I was so proud!

My G20 View
September 26, 2009

Here is a look at my live shot location for the G20. We were out on the 3rd floor terrace of the David L Lawrence Convention Center. What a great view! On my right was the American network crews (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX) and to my left was SkyNews. It was so cool to walk down the terrace and hear all of the various foreign languages. What an experience!

Kelly’s Baby
September 26, 2009

Many of you have emailed me asking about Kelly’s beautiful baby boy. I have forwarded all of your emails to Kelly and I apologize for not responding to you myself but the G-20 kept me busy all week.  Kelly and Bennett are doing very well and they appreciate your prayers. A local photographer took some wonderful pictures and posted them online….  click here to see the pictures. They’re beautiful for so many reasons.

At President’s News Conference
September 25, 2009

I’m inside the David L Lawrence Convention Center waiting on President Obama’s press conference. We expect him to make a statement  accusing Iran of building a secret nuclear fuel facility. British Prime Ministser  Brown and French President Sarzoky are expected to join him. I’ll keep you updated.


Cool New Tool to Keep you G20 Informed
September 24, 2009

A cool new feature to our website this morning. Our Digital Executive Producer Tim McAteer built an awesome new page on our website you should check out: click here to see our new Twitter page which combines all things G-20 from my on-the scene reports from the Convention Center to Port Authority info to  G-20 Partnership info and much more all together on one update page.


I just posted this picture on that page. This is my view from the David L Lawrence Convention Center last night while reporting live from the G-20. Military helicopters were patrolling the sky around the area.  By the way, just below the helicopters is where Andrew Stockey will be reporting live for the next two days. I’ll be updating what I see happening both here on my blog and on Twitter. Please let me know if you see something happening we should be including in our coverage. Email me at Thanks!

Oh… one more photo… here’s Bob Mayo working hard also inside the G-20, too. (When it started raining yesterday… I stole his umbrella! )


My G20 Assignment
September 23, 2009

We’re swamped here preparing for our G-20 coverage. Our managers have done a wonderful job of organizing resources to keep you informed of everything happening this week.  I’m starting my day at 4:30 am each morning this week on Action News (filling in for new mom Kelly Frey whose baby, Bennett, is doing wonderfully! I’ve passed along all of your emails of prayers and thoughts).  Then I’m heading down to the Convention Center for the G-20 events throughout the rest of the day.  I”ll try to update my blog as much as possible from there as well as my Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Mind of a Protester / Molly Rush
September 15, 2009

** click here to watch my full report on Molly Rush**

Molly Rush is a gentle grandmother of nine …  who’s also a convicted felon.  She’s been arrested 20 times and served time in federal prison.  Her non-violent protest in 1980 is what sent her behind bars. She is one of the Plowshares Eight who broke into a nuclear weapons site on the other side of our state and hammered on an unarmed nuclear warhead and poured blood on documents.  I caught up with Ms. Rush at a protest march and asked her why she was willing to go to jail for her causes and whether it was worth it. She’s planning protest for the G20 next week.  I asked her what Pittsburgh should expect from protesters during the G20 and whether we should be worried about things turning violent.


Above is Molly Rush preparing for a march down Grant Street yesterday. Below are photos from 1980 when she was part of the Plowshares Eight.



Watch my full story tonight on Channel 4 Action News at 5:45.

Darfur Protest
September 14, 2009

Today Pittsburgh officially welcomed some new residents who left horrible conditions in their homeland.  Several Darfur refugees are now living in Castle Shannon with the help of Catholic Charities.  They wanted a better life for themselves but also want to draw attention to their country in hopes of helping those they left behind.  They came to the steps of their new city holding signs that had the names of all of the villages destroyed. So far, they say 3300 villages have been destroyed as part of the ethnic cleansing there.  Statistics show more than 300,000 thousand people have been murdered and 2.7 million people are now homeless.  This march down Grant Street is designed to bring attention to what’s happening there. This group will also place these signs… all 3300 of them… on Flagstaff Hill in Oakland during the G-20 Summit for the world leaders to see when they have an event at Phipps Conservatory.


City councilman Bill Peduto read their names one at a time to welcome them.


The march went from the city county building down Grant Street to Mellon Square Park.


Here’s my photographer Eric doing a great job.  For most of the march he walked backward to capture the best shots. He is extremely coordinated!


See my full report tonight on Action News at 6:04.

Amazing Cakes
September 13, 2009

What a cool idea! I’m posting this for any of you out there who are looking for interesting table centerpieces. At Polo for the Cure the creative folks with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society came up with the cool idea of having local bakeries donate cakes and treats for the event. They were works of art…. and so the organizers thought it’d be perfect to feature them on the tables.  By combining the desserts and the centerpieces… it got everyone mingling because everyone was walking around every table trying to decide which treat to taste (I noticed most people took a little bit from all of them!) The bakeries who donating had their business cards in front of their masterpiece and guests were able to take a card for their own event. I took all of these photos before we all dug in! (The last photo is the wonderful singer of the National Anthem helping my daughter and her friend to a second piece)


Polo For the Cure
September 13, 2009

This is my 15th year participating in Polo for the Cure in Ligonier. The money raised benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society… something dear to my heart since my grandfather passed away from leukemia.


Here’s a look at the “running of the hounds!”



This is the beautiful Laurie Racculia. She sang the National Anthems of both America and Germany. She’s been with us for the past 10 years and has the voice of an angel. (You can see the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Executive Director Tina Massari smiling in the background)


Here’s my daughter Ally and her best friend Hannah. They had a great time.



Here are the teams being presented with their awards on the field.

A special thank you to Dorothy Raizman, Richard Raizman and Kristine Samloff for having such a wonderful event for such a needed cause.  Click here for more information on leukemia or lymphoma and be sure to buy a ticket early for next year… this year was a sold out once again!  I have some more pictures I’ll post tomorrow including the AWESOME idea for table centerpieces in our tent!

Jerome, Rocky and Franco Help Wounded Vets
September 12, 2009

Click here to watch a touching story of Steeler greats reaching out to help wounded veterans.

This morning I was invited to Pittsburgh’s Field Club to do a story on Golf Supports Our Troops… and organization founded by Brian Coleman a couple of years ago to help with the recovery and rehabilitation of our servicemen and women wounded in the war.  Today’s event was also organized by Steeler greats Jerome Bettis, Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier.  Here’s a shot of Jerome teeing off.


Rocky Bleier  is a wounded vet himself. In 1969 he headed for Vietnam. Four months after landing there he was severely injured. One leg was shot up by an AK47 and later that same day he stepped on a grenade and injured the other leg and foot.    He spent two years in rehab and doctors weren’t sure he’d be able to walk again…. but his determination helped him go on to play for the Steelers and so today’s event has special meaning for him.

I interviewed a vet from Shaler.  US Army Specialist Robert Kaminski’s leg was blown off by a roadside bomb three years ago in Iraq.  He is thrilled to be a part of the event and told me he had trouble sleeping last night just thinking about playing golf with these football stars.  But the football greats all told me they were the ones inspired by seeing these wounded veterans find the courage to keep going.


(Here’s my photographer Dan Pratt capturing Franco Harris’ swing on the 15th)

In a bizarre sidenote….  when I went up to Franco Harris to start my interview with him… I realized I LOST MY PHONE ON THE GOLF COURSE! I was panicked but told Franco we’d go ahead and do the interview and then I”d retrace where I’d been.  During the interview the owner of Markowitz Communications, Saul Markowitz, who was handling today’s event found my phone. When the interview was over, Saul said, “Look what I found guys! Franco, *this* is what I call an immaculate reception”.  (***get it? reception? cell phone joke? LOL***)  Franco laughed pretty hard over that. I really think Franco should do a cell phone commercial using that. LOL. Saul should pitch that!

Here’s a photo of Saul (he’s on his phone… as ALWAYS…. I took this before I temporarily lost mine!)


I love doing these inspirational stories. Fun way to start my weekend!