Archive for February, 2010

Cool Video – Skiing Pittsburgh
February 28, 2010

A friend sent me this video link on youtube. I loved it!  Check out these guys skiing through Pittsburgh… including down Mt Washington!  I contacted the man who made the video, Filmmaker Colin Sander and he gave me permission to repost it.  Until now, I’ve had a terrible impression of this storm…  shoveling and scraping and my gutters falling…. but these guys have given me a much better perspective! Enjoy!

Here’s what he wrote about his experience:

“A week before I was to head back to LA to start post-production on the Minspeak Doc., Pittsburgh got dumped on… The snowfall accumulation was the 3rd-largest in city history, and my friends and I knew we needed to take advantage of it. Besides just getting some great shots for the film, we shoveled-hiked-skied-snowboarded around town, from the hills of Oakland to the slopes of Mount Washington.”

Eyeglasses Soap Opera
February 24, 2010

Click here to watch a new soap opera style advertising campaign by Eyetique the local eyeglass store.  It’s called “Boy Meets Girl” and it’ll remind you of those old Tasters’ Choice commericals from the 80’s.  It’s an online ongoing ad campaign and takes advantage of the powerful impact of today’s social media. I can’t wait to see how it does!

Here’s a portion of the press release I got on it:

With a budget of less than $5,000,  Markowitz Communications filmed a five-part series that will be seen exclusively online (via WatchBoyMeetsGirl.com, Facebook and Twitter).  “First Encounter” hit the Internet on February 9 and to date has garnered more than 2,000 hits on WatchBoyMeetsGirl.com and YouTube.com The second installment will debut on Tuesday, February 23 at 10 a.m. EST.

“Markowitz has a plan,” Childs says. “They’re releasing one episode at a time over the course of several months in an effort to build a following, create a buzz and hopefully bring in new customers to our stores..”

At the completion of the series in April, Eyetique will host a party to celebrate life without snow (hopefully) and highlight this year’s Norman Childs Eyewear collection.

“I don’t know about you,” Childs says, “but after 30 years of ads and direct mail pieces, which all served their purpose and did very well for us, I’m pumped about trying something totally different.”

Winterfest at Seven Springs
February 24, 2010

We had a GREAT time at Seven Springs for WTAE’s Winterfest.  Here I am with Sheldon Ingram getting ready for the media race.  Somehow I actually won the gold medal in the race.  The object was to cross the finish line as close to 30 seconds without going over.  (Guy Junker was actually closer to the mark…. but since went over… the gold went to me.)   This was a big turnaround from the weekend before when I came in dead last. LOL!          The best part of winning the race wasn’t the medal… instead, it was the fact Andrew Stockey lost a bet with me over it and now he owes me lunch.  HA HA… PAY UP ANDREW!!!   he he he  : )

Click here for more information on Seven Springs.

Mrs Germfree – A Local Superhero!
February 19, 2010

My story tonight at 5:45 is with Mrs. Germfree. She’s a local mom who turns into THE GERMINATOR! to fight germs. I take her to a local home with two children… one who’s sick… and we take her germ-o-meter and test for germs.  See what we found and which surfaces are most likely to be contaminated in your home…. Click here for more information on Mrs. Germfree and to see what she uses to clean.

George Washington’s Chompers
February 19, 2010

I’m not sure our first president could have imagined his dentures touring the country…. but they are!

Pittsburgh’s Heinz History Center is hosting the world premiere of the Mount Vernon Collection.   Of course, there’s much more to the exhibit than just George Washington’s false teeth… but they were so odd looking I couldn’t resist posting it.  : )  (note to President Obama… take good care of your teeth… you never know!)

I love the History Center and so do my kids!  Click here for more information and I’ve included some of the release below.


History Center Welcomes George Washington Back to Pittsburgh — Mount Vernon Collection Makes its World Premiere at the History Center —

Feb. 12, 2010, PITTSBURGH – For the first time in nearly 250 years, George Washington is returning to Pittsburgh.

Beginning on Feb. 19, the Senator John Heinz History Center will serve as the premier venue on a nine-city national tour of Discover the Real George Washington: New Views from Mount Vernon, an exhibition from George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens made possible by the generous support of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation and presented in Pittsburgh by PPG Industries, Inc.   “Although Washington is one of the most recognized figures in American history, few people know the true character of the ‘Father of Our Country,’” said Andy Masich, president and CEO of the History Center. “This exhibition helps visitors get up-close-and-personal with Washington through a rich assortment of artifacts, life-like figures, and cutting-edge forensic scholarship.”

Visitors will enjoy nearly 100 objects, including full-scale figures of Washington, architectural models, decorative and fine art items, maps, manuscripts, and paintings.

Highlights of Discover the Real George Washington include:

  • The only complete set of Washington’s dentures, made of pewter, human teeth, and animal teeth;
  • Several original works of art, including Gilbert Stuart’s classic Washington portrait
  • Three full-size, life-like figures of Washington based on the latest forensic research showing him:
  • A lock of young Washington’s auburn hair;
  • Surveying equipment, including a compass used by Washington and 18th century firearms, such as a 1720s cannon from Fort Ticonderoga;
  • The Washington family Bible and four other rare books from Washington’s personal library, complete with his signature of ownership, that cover such topics as farming, botanical plants, and gristmills; and
  • Original pieces of Martha Washington’s jewelry.

“It seems only appropriate to open this important exhibition in a part of the country where George Washington first made a name for himself as a remarkable soldier and, at a very young age, became one of the most famous men in the colonies, if not the world,” said James C. Rees, executive director of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association.  “We’ve always found that people who live in the Pittsburgh area have a special fondness for George Washington, and we’re looking forward to opening one of the largest and most dynamic exhibitions that has ever been mounted on a Founding Father.”


Free Movie Tickets- Give Blood
February 18, 2010

I just got this email… it’s for a great cause!

Dear Central Blood Bank Donor,

Come to the Fire & Ice Festival and Chili Cook-Off and donate blood for movie tickets!

Central Blood Bank is hosting a blood drive from noon to 6 p.m. at this year’s Fire & Ice Festival at the Shoppes at Northway on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010.

Stop at each of the elaborate ice sculptures, taste some freshly cooked chili, and brighten area lives by donating blood!

All participating donors will receive one free pair of Showcase Cinemas movie tickets.

Central Blood Bank will be cooking up its own chili, too! Visit our booth and vote us best chili!

To make an appointment, call Christine at 412.209.7061. Or make your appointment online through “My Personal Donation History.” You can search for the drive by name, date, or location.

Saving Money / Fighting the Ice
February 17, 2010

This snow is RIDICULOUS.  My front storm door was iced-over again this morning… so I had to open the kitchen door which had four feet of snow piled up against it… and climb my way out around to the front of the house and pour salt and chip away. Nice way to wake up this morning.  I haven’t found any professionals to plow my driveway yet… but they’re worth every penny right now! And here’s what Meteorologist Erin Kienzle wrote on Twitter this morning: As of now 39.6″ of snow this MONTH alone. Once we hit 40.2″, February will go down as the SNOWIEST MONTH ON RECORD.

WOW.

Ok… Let’s talk about something more fun now: SAVING MONEY! I did a story last week on two local moms who’ve developed a website to help you save money. It’s called Living Pittsburgh and I think it’s a great idea…whether you’re forced to save money or just want to do the same things for less money! Click here to get to their website.  Heather and Rachel  both gave up their careers to stay at home with their children. That’s when they needed to cut back on how much they were spending and now they want to share all of their findings with you.  In addition to helping you find great deals on everything from restaurants to clothes to events…. it’s also a great place to go to get some ideas of fun nights out.  The page is set up to make it easy  to find what you’re looking for  either by food or events or special occasions … or even by neighborhoods. My thanks to Heather and Rachel for a fun story and a lot of great ideas!

From a Viewer
February 15, 2010

Click here to buy one.

WTAE Winterfest at Seven Springs
February 14, 2010

I think I came in dead last in the Celebrity Olympics.  I seriously need a trainer to get ready for next year!  LOL…. but other than embarrassing my children in the Olympics…. we had a great time! The conditions are amazing and it was nice to get away for the weekend and ENJOY the snow rather than shoveling and shoveling and SHOVELING it!

The bad news is my camera battery died so I don’t have any photos for you.  But I can tell you about the beautiful new spa that opened up at Seven Springs that I am going to have to go back and try. Click here to check it out. Some of my coworkers tried some of the services and said it was fantastic.  Zach took a snowboarding lesson and loved it and Ally was in Junior Ski School and had a great time, too.  We also tried the tubing park at night for the very first time. My kids could have stayed there all night.

Click here for more information on Seven Springs.

Call for Parents of 3-6 year olds
February 9, 2010

I just got this from the Carnegie Science Center:

PITTSBURGH — Carnegie Science Center is inviting parents of children ages 3 to 6 to join staff at sessions designed for discussing and brainstorming ideas about programs for youngsters in this age group.

Parents can choose from sessions offered on Tuesday, February 16, or Tuesday, February 23. The sessions are scheduled from 9 to 10 am on both dates.  Parking is free for those attending these sessions, and a light breakfast will be provided.

Parents who register for these sessions can bring their preschool children along. Science Center staff will be on hand to interact with these children in Exploration Station, Jr. during the focus group session. Afterward, registrants and their children can enjoy the Science Center at no charge. Space is limited to the first 15 parents to sign up for each date.

Those who are interested should register online at CarnegieScienceCenter.org. For more information, call 412.237.3306.

Duquesne Light Update
February 8, 2010

Here’s the latest update from Duquesne Light on progress:

10 p.m. update – 2-7-2010

PITTSBURGH – Duquesne Light crews continue to make significant progress in storm restoration tonight, as 6,400 customers remain without service as of 10 p.m. This is down from a high of 57,000 customers reached Saturday morning.

The heavy, wet snow has caused limbs and trees to break and fall into power lines, causing disruption to customers.  Compounding the problem is road conditions, slowing crews from reaching some areas.

Duquesne Light has also brought in 74 lineworkers from outside the company to help in the storm cleanup.

As restoration efforts continue around the clock, and new cases of trouble are found, Duquesne Light is projecting to have power restored to the largest number of customers by midnight Monday.  The remaining customers out of service should be restored by Wednesday afternoon.

Difficult Weekend
February 8, 2010

What a difficult weekend!

It took me an extra hour to make it home from work Friday night.  I lost power for most of Saturday.  I shoveled snow for two days trying to dig my car out.  On Sunday the  snow ripped down my gutters and broke my awnings.

I’m starting to understand why the White House nicknamed this storm “Snowmageddon”  I’m also starting to agree with Meteorologist Stephen Cropper. Punxsutawney  Phil is a rodent!

Save a Snowball!
February 5, 2010

Just got this email from the Carnegie Science Center:

SAVE A SNOWBALL NOW AND NAME YOUR OWN PRICE ON JUNE 21

VISITORS CAN CHOOSE THE AMOUNT THEY WISH TO PAY ON 2010’S SUMMER SOLSTICE BY BRINGING IN A PRESERVED SNOWBALL

PITTSBURGH — This weekend’s snowstorm is arriving in a hurry, and Carnegie Science Center is offering a unique opportunity to capture a bit of winter now, preserve it for a few months, then bring it in—and celebrate the Summer Solstice with a special “Name Your Own Price” Day.  All visitors who make a snowball this winter, save it in their freezer, and bring it in on the first day of summer, Monday, June 21, will be able to choose what they pay for general admission.   In addition to naming their own price, every person who brings a snowball to the Science Center on that day also will be able to launch his or her snowball into the Ohio River from aboard the USS Requin submarine (weather permitting).  Hundreds of snowballs survived the winter and spring of 2009 in freezers throughout the region and beyond, making their way to the Science Center—in coolers, freezer bags, frosty coffee cans, and plastic storage containers, among others.

The Science Center invites all who would like to name their own price for a day to start packing the snow and remember these snowy facts:

  • Snow forms from tiny crystals in clouds. Snow is not frozen rain; that’s called sleet.
  • Most snowflakes melt before reaching the ground.
  • No two snowflakes are identical.
  • Each snowflake is made up of two to 200 separate crystals, on average.
  • Although it appears white, snow actually is transparent. Snow crystals act as prisms and break up the Sun’s light into the entire color spectrum. The human eye can’t handle that kind of sensory overload, so it is processed as white. If a region’s soil contains more iron, giving it a reddish tinge, snow may appear pink—wind will blow dirt and dust into the atmosphere and clouds, where the snow crystals form initially.

Guest Teaching
February 5, 2010

I wanted to say thanks to blog reader, Robin, who suggested a cool story for me to cover. I shot that story yesterday… and got to meet Robin… and you’ll see it in a few weeks on Action News.  So thanks for the suggestion and if any of you have ideas for stories please write me a quick note. The email form is on the right side of this page.  All emails come directly to my private email so don’t worry, they won’t show up on this blog.  Or you can always just email me at: mwright@hearst.com.

Last night I had a great time speaking to a University of Pittsburgh class on marketing and public relations.  My dear friend, Sue…. public relations genius…. is teaching and doing a great job.  She wanted me to share how stories make it on the newscast and to describe the various positions in the news department.  We also talked about social media… blogs, Facebook and Twitter… and how its changing the scope of how reporters do their jobs.  I explained to them when I started this blog several years ago I did it because my boss forced me.  I barely knew what a blog was.  I had no idea what to write and was frustrated at the thought.   I started by making fun of what was going on behind the scenes of the newsroom.  But then I started writing about some stories I was covering…. fun trips I was taking…. showing off how hard the photographers worked… then I started including some of the charity events which I would emcee which was so rewarding. Then I started getting feedback from you. How cool!

Blogging is now something I look forward to doing.  It is so nice getting to know the people who are watching the newscast.  I just wanted to say even though I was reluctant to do this…  it is now a joy and I wish I had more time to put into blogging ( but the news deadline is constantly ticking down and I run out of time.)    So know that you’ve made this blogger appreciate how the news is changing and how it’s now possible to have a two way conversation with viewers…. something I never thought would be this easy way back when I was in college.

Ankle Replacement Options
February 2, 2010

Baby boomers listen up:  You’ll want to hear the story of James Costello.  He is showing my photographer Terry Connell the result of his total ankle replacement surgery. (Click here to watch my report and  Click here for Dr. Stephen Conti’s contact information at Allegheny General Hospital.)

A procedure piloted here in Pittsburgh 13 years ago by Dr. Stephen Conti is allowing patients to still have full range of motion. The traditional fix was called fusion surgery and takes away a lot of the patient’s mobility. Dr Conti is the Director of the Division of Foot and Ankle Surgery at Allegheny General Hospital. He says the need for such surgery is growing as baby boomers are more active and want to stay active into retirement.

Mr. Costello told me his bad ankles forced him to quit his job as a pipe fitter and quit coaching youth football.  But after this total ankle replacement he’s doing well and has joined a gym and spends as much time on the golf course as possible.