Archive for March, 2010

Get Your Photo w/ Stanley Cup!
March 31, 2010

Just got this email from the History Center…. and wanted to pass it along so you could make plans:

It’s a hockey weekend in Pittsburgh!

The Stanley Cup will be on display at the Senator John Heinz History Center and Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum, beginning tomorrow April 1 at 3 p.m., offering fans the opportunity to take their photo with the most famous trophy in sports.

Thanks to the generosity of the Penguins organization, the National Hockey League, and the Hockey Hall of Fame, Pens fans can get up-close-and-personal with the Stanley Cup along with 10 additional trophies earned by the Penguins throughout the years, including the Hart Trophy, the Art Ross Trophy, and the Prince of Wales Trophy through Sunday, April 4.

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On The Scene of a Car Wreck
March 31, 2010

What an emotional day.

I had just finished up some interviews for a story I’m working on and was heading back to the station when it happened.

I had told my photographer, Tim Lohle, that I needed some coffee before heading out for my afternoon shoot. So he offered to run by Starbucks in Wilkins Township for a quick jolt.

We took that Monroeville exit and began driving down Route 22 chatting about how to get everything done in our busy day.  All of a sudden traffic stopped.  We were about 15 cars back and strained to see what was happening.  We saw the fire department rushing up and realized there was a wreck.

Tim pulled over and we got out and saw it was bad.  Other drivers were already by the overturned truck and we could see they were talking to people still inside the overturned truck.  It was great to see how quickly medics arrived.  All of the emergency responders were wonderful.  They pulled out the driver and immediately started CPR.

It was dramatic. He wasn’t responding.

On the other side crews were working to get his mother out of the vehicle. She didn’t make it.  At last check he was still struggling to hang on to life.

In an instant, Tim and I had gone from talking about how there weren’t enough hours in the day to do everything on our schedule…. to  talking about how precious life is and we need to appreciate every moment… no matter how busy.

In the middle of the tragedy it was so wonderful to see how many other busy people stopped everything going on in their busy day to stop and help.

John Grisham & The Innocence Institute
March 25, 2010

Meeting best-selling author John Grisham was a thrill.  I’ve read six of his books so I’m a fan.  But more importantly I had the opportunity to  meet Drew Whitley whose real life is much more chilling than any Grisham novel.

Click here to watch my report.

Drew served 19 years in prison for a murder he did not commit.  DNA evidence cleared him of the 1988 murder of a McDonalds manager in Duquesne.  Whitley is featured in an art show at Point Park University called “Resurrected.”  Local artist Daniel Bolick painted portraits of men who served time and later exonerated. The portraits are amazing…. the stories behind the faces are haunting.

Bolick, Grisham, and Whitley were  featured in a gala Wednesday night  to raise money  for the Innocence Institute at Point Park University headed by director Bill Moushey.  The group helps those in prison wrongly convicted of crimes. They are working on 14 cases in southwestern Pennsylvania now.

It’s so impressive that Grisham donates his time to help causes such as Drew’s.  (Grisham flew his own plane here just for this event) If you’d like to see the show, head to Lawrence Hall at Point Park University before April 2nd.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
March 19, 2010

I spent today with  Mr. McFeely as he encouraged college students to keep Fred Rogers spirit alive by being a good neighbor and volunteering. Here’s Councilman Bill Peduto reading a proclamation that declares today “Won’t You Be My Neighbor Day.” Click here to watch my full report.

I talked to several Pitt students who told me that Mr Rogers inspired them and that’s a big reason they’re volunteering today.  Fred Rogers would have been 82 years old on March 20th.  He continues to make a difference in so many lives. The United Way has made it easy for you to volunteer by putting together a website with lots of ideas so you can find something right for you. Click here to check it out.

Varicose Vein Fix
March 19, 2010

Click here to watch the story I did on a procedure that fixes varicose veins in a couple of minutes.

I went to the Pittsburgh Vein Center in Monroeville and Dr Mario Plaza-Ponte let me watch the procedure on an auto mechanic whose legs were bothering him after he stood all day.  The VNUS® Closure procedure is an alternative treatment option to traditional vein stripping surgery and brings state-of-the-art technology to an age-old disease. The technique uses heat to close the vein and allows the blood to flow properly.  You don’t need to be put under since local anesthesia is used and so you can drive yourself home…. or back to work.

Click here for more information on The Pittsburgh Vein Center.

Sweetened Beverage Tax
March 18, 2010

I’m getting so much feedback on the story I did about Mayor Ravenstahl’s idea to tax sweetened drinks to help cover the $15 million needed for the city’s pension fund.  Basically, he wants a 2-cent per ounce tax on everything from chocolate milk, to soda, to sweetened iced tea.  He got the idea because Philly is considering the same thing.  Ravenstahl is going to Harrisburg next week to talk to legislatures about it.

I talked with the owner of Turner’s Dairy Farms about the idea.  Chuck Turner, Junior is a third generation owner of the company. He said it would impact his business in a big way.  He gave me and my photographer, Kendall Cross a tour of his plant in Penn Hills.

“Two cents per ounce, for example, on a 16 ounce iced tea, is 32 cents. This product only sells for 69 or 79 cents out of store as it is. Nobody in this country has taxed iced tea since the English tried to tax tea in Boston in 1773 with the Boston Tea Party.” said Turner.  He says maybe Mayor Ravenstahl should get prepared for a Pittsburgh Tea Party!

Click here to watch my full report.

Dani’s Journey at Children’s
March 16, 2010

Meet Dani.  He’s five and just got a new liver and is on the waiting list for a new kidney. He’s been through a lot!

Click here to watch my full report.

Lindsey is part of one aspect of Children’s Hospital that is making a big difference for Dani.  She’s a Child Life Specialist and she’s been helping him through his eight weeks here so far by explaining procedures and machines and just having fun. I had a wonderful time learninge what an important role Child Life Specialists play in keeping these precious children feeling ordinary in this extraordinary times in their lives.

Dani went back home to Virginia on Wednesday while he waits for a kidney to become available.  I hope he doesn’t have to wait long!

Newest Double Hand Transplant
March 15, 2010

What an amazing opportunity I had today to interview the newest double hand transplant patient. (Click here to watch my report.)

This is Chris. He’s from Harrisburg… but you can see why he feels right at home here in Pittsburgh!

Chris got this Steelers tattoo in 1996 and is a life-long fan.  Doctors were very careful to save the tattoo as they attached a new arm just below the tattoo. Chris also has a new hand on his left side.

He lost both hands and most of his right arm in a farming accident in 2008 while helping a friend.  You can hear more about his experience tonight on Action News at 6:00.

Controversial Clean Room
March 10, 2010

Tonight I’m doing a story on a new project aimed at determining whether the environment plays a role in autism.  (click here for more on my report) Dr Scott Faber from The Children’s Institute in Pittsburgh has designed a “clean room” in conjunction with Skip Kingston, PhD from Duquense University.  They have taken out all toxins and pollution and allergens and will have 10 children with autism and their parents stay in this special room for two weeks to see if their bloodwork changes.  Dr Faber says some people with autism have trouble getting toxins out of their body and he wants to see if this will help them detoxify and what impact that has on their disease.

Dr Faber is convinced that autism is caused by a combination of genetics and the environment and he’s hoping his clean room can make a clearer connection.  This phase of the study will cost more than $300,000 and he’s planning for the next phase to allow the children to live in the room (which will be expanded for more space) for a month 24/7 to see if there is a difference.  I will keep a close check on the project and let you know how it’s going.

Meeting Cheryl Tiegs
March 10, 2010

If you think I look intimidated in this photo…… I am!

Cheryl Tiegs is lovely and I had a great time talking with her. Click here to watch my full report.  She’s here with the Home Show at the convention center and you can meet her Friday. She’s the spokesperson for Cambria quartz countertops.

She was so nice and when we were figuring out how to do the interview she was kind enough to suggest we both sit down “so we’ll be the same height.”  LOL! I’m much shorter… in fact, in this photo she was sweet enough to sort of slouch down near me (and I’m wearing high heels!)

She loves how charming Pittsburgh is and even loves our weather!  We chatted about beauty, parenting (we both have sons named Zach), and the environment . She told me the biggest key to being beautiful is to never stop learning and doing interesting things. She says that is what makes people interesting and, in turn, beautiful.

Body Scans
March 4, 2010

Click here to watch my full report from West Mifflin Imaging (click here for their website) on how more people are paying out of pocket for full body scans to check for health problems BEFORE they have any symptoms. Many people, especially baby boomers, want to catch health problems early and more and more of them are getting scanned to see what’s happening. The scan takes only a couple of minutes and can catch any problem with organs or bones before symptoms occur.  It was fascinating to see the 3-D images on the screen!

Miracle on the Hudson
March 4, 2010

Click here to watch my full report.

Doreen Welsh met me in Sewickley to tell me her story about being a flight attendant on the “Miracle on the Hudson” flight.

She was working on USAirways flight 1549 heading from NYC to Charlotte  Janurary 2009 when the plane lost power and Captain Sullenberger told everyone to “brace for impact!”  She didn’t think she’d make it out alive… but Captain “Sully” had nerves of steel. He calmly landed the 150 passengers in the Hudson River. Amazing!

Doreen was hurt physically and emotionally.  On impact an angle iron came up through the floor and punctured her leg which would take a year to fully heal. Emotionally, she was not able to work on another flight although she has flown as a passenger.  After 39 years as a flight attendant, she decided to retire from the only job she’s ever known.

After telling me about her “90 seconds of sheer terror”, she told me she’s starting a new phase in her life –  she’s going to be an inspirational speaker and travel around sharing her story of that flight especially how there are times in life when you must rely on the kindness of strangers.  When she was seriously injured during the crash, she had to rely on two strangers to help her get out.  She says in addition to being grateful to Captain Sully for keeping her alive, she’s also grateful to the strangers who helped her…. saying ” those two are also my heroes. “