Comments, questions, concerns, story ideas, etc. email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
You may have seen or heard my promo.
I have cancer.
The story airs Monday night at 6o'clock.
This is a little weird for me.
I'm not used to "being" the story.
I'm a reporter, I tell other people's stories.
I struggled with this decision.
So, bottomline, WHY am I coming out with this?
Okay, a couple of reasons:
1. I was gone about 6-weeks. I had hundreds of messages on social media with people asking about me & when I would return. Others sent letters, cards & emails. Many called to find out if I still worked for the station. I try to respond to every message I get, so I felt like there was an obligation on my part to be honest.
2. When I returned to work I talked with a couple of women who I have done a lot of stories with over the years. Both of these women had dealt with my same cancer and I had NEVER known it. I thought to myself, 'WOW, here are two women who have gone through this and survived.' It made me feel a lot better.
3. Eventually I'll be taking off this wig (especially with it getting warmer!) I want to warn viewers this could be happening. (I think I may have mentioned how a viewer called screaming about a colleague wearing a hat while he went through cancer treatments. I'd like to avoid this.)
So, all these things being said, you don't just have to be a woman or going through cancer to get something from my story.
My message is simple.
- I didn't have symptoms, but I maintained my yearly check-ups.
By doing that, I really feel like I've saved my life.
- If you have a doctor and he's/she's not giving you the time for questions or addressing your concerns- find another doctor.
Remember, your doctor should want you to get a second opinion. Don't worry about hurting feelings, we're talking about your life.
- But, that being said, you don't need a best friend, you need a skilled doctor who's at the top of his/her game.
Bring your patience. In that waiting room, you can bet everyone is going through something, whether they look sick or not.
I'll be hosting a web chat at noon on Monday, May 6th.
The story will air at 6p.m. (Monday, May 6th)
I hope you'll join me.
Isn't the internet something?
Wow, all of a sudden I've gone from broadcasting to Southwest Virginia to going around the country, even the world (where a Croatian newspaper said I was head of the station- hello promotion! someone better warn my boss! :)
Maybe you saw it that Saturday morning more than 3-weeks ago, maybe you've seen it since? It's about a Northern Virginia cat owner who is helping her furry friend lose weight by taking her to the spa for swimming. The video shows a cat. IN a lifejacket. At that point, I get the giggles on live tv. I'm not sure if it has ever happened to you, where you try to stop laughing, but it builds and builds, and well, before you know it you can barely breathe? Now- imagine that scenario, but on LIVE tv. Yep, that's my 30-seconds of "fame." Oh, the topper? At the end, it comes back to me, on camera where I snort (yes, snort- OY!!) and slap the desk.
Since the video went viral I've had people from all over the country comment how I hate overweight people, fat cats, the sick, exercise, how I could use more exercise, etc., etc., etc. - you name it, it has been sent to me.
First off, I wasn't making fun of this cat, people or anyone. A cat in a lifejacket is unusual (really, when is the last time your cat put on a life jacket and went for a swim?) Secondly, the copy indicated the cat dislikes physical activity. People, as a cat owner, I can tell you that is nearly every cat in the world. The look on the kitty's face was not joy. And the topper, after 6-months of what must be torture for this little thing, she's only lost one-pound. It seems a bit unfair, no? But, I trust that this cat's owner knows best (once again, I did not put this animal in the water.)
As for me, an important "What Not to Wear" moment - if you've got a chest, do NOT wear a flowy top, especially if you're only being seen from the waist up -oh, and button your jacket. Memo received, memorized, processed, etc.
For those who live in the Roanoke Valley, you know the 'DBJ weekend morning show is a place for news, sports, weather and a little fun. This was a segment near the end of an hour-long show. In no way did I mean any disrespect to the viewers, cats, their owners or anyone battling their weight. Please forgive me if you were offended by this video. That was not my intent.
This week a Wisconsin television anchor got national attention when she "pushed" back.
Jennifer Livingston got a note from a viewer chastizing her weight. Livingston says she snapped when she got to the comment saying she wasn't a good role model.
(To see the clip, click here, scroll to the bottom.)
The video brought mixed reaction to the WDBJ7 newsroom. Some said, 'HOORAY!!! GOOD FOR HER!' Others said the note wasn't that bad, they've gotten worse. One person said it wasn't bullying. And, others didn't see what she was so upset about.
As I'm sure we all know (and this applies to real life & tv) - if someone's heavy, they know they're heavy. If someone's gained weight, they know they've gained weight. Pointing it out, really doesn't help.
After the initial video, it's come out Livingston has a tyroid condition, which even though she runs, works out, etc. makes it tough to lose weight.
A few things came to mind when I saw this story:
1. People are very "tough" when they're sitting safely at home, on their computer.
2. I'm always surprised at the things people feel "entitled" to comment about. (Aren't there "real" issues to be involved in? i.e. the upcoming election)
3. Weight seems to be one of the only things left society is "ok" to make fun of/discriminate against (no one would ever make fun of someone's race, sexuality, etc.)
I can hear you saying, 'Susan, you didn't have to take a job on tv. This is something that reporters/anchors open themselves up to.' I would disagree. I have a job where if I make a mistake, yes, you're going to see it. I don't go to your work and wait for you to fail (which if you're human, you inenvitably will.) We all make mistakes, yours just aren't on display for +100-thousand viewers to see. Mine are. -and yes, I signed up for that.
But, it's the stuff you'd never imagine that leaves you (ok, maybe just me?) flabbergasted and doubting society.
One of our meteorologist was battling cancer. WDBJ7 did a special announcement. The paper did a story.
Anywho, the meteorolgist shaved his head because he was losing his hair due to the chemotherapy. He wore a ball cap and a suit. A man called in, screaming 'What the %&^%*$?' 'That's disrespectful!!' 'blah-blah-blah!' When the man was calmly informed the weather guy had cancer, he shut up. You could've heard a pin drop. The caller was apologetic and while he didn't say it, I bet he felt like a jerk. I hope he did. AND, I hope he learned a lesson - you never know what's happening in someone else's life or what someone's going through.
It's a good reminder/lesson for all of us.
It's September 2nd and all I can say is, WHERE did the summer go???
It blows my mind that we're beginning our descent into fall.
Maybe it's because I've been SOOOOO overwhelmingly busy this summer or -most likely, it's because I didn't accomplish a lot of the things I wanted to accomplish.
A wrap up (or "What I did/didn't do on my summer vacation" by Susan Bahorich)
1. The year of the wedding: Three of my good friends are/getting married. These weddings have/will take me to Puerto Rico, Richmond & San Francisco.
a. Don't forget showers & bachelorette parties.
2. The year of being broke: (see #1 & its addedum)
3. It's September & the Orioles are still in it. To borrow from the team's old ad, that's: MAGIC, MAGIC, MAGIC, MAGIC : O-R-I-O-L-E-S!!!! GO O's!!!
4. Read "The Fifty Shades of Gray" trilogy; didn't finish 3 other books. (note: the "50-books" are for a mature audience & the comfort of your own home)
5. Lots of changes here at WDBJ7. Friends & fellow journalists Justin McLeod & Holly Pietrzak have gotten out of the business & moved on = BOOO! :( Former intern David Kaplan returns as a reporter. = YAY! :)
6. Newest tv addiction: The Newsroom. The HBO show is written by Aaron Sorkin. It's smart, it's quick, the dialogue's stunning ... and it's a bit farfetched at times, but hey- that's what tv's all about -the suspension of disbelief, right? (Please don't think that's a real representation of the news biz, it's not. BUT, it IS entertaining. :)
Ok, I won't get all heavy on a holiday weekend, so on that note I'll leave you with this overwhelming/silly thought- TODAY marks 113 days 'til CHRISTMAS!!!! hehe
It's that time of year. The ads are EVERYWHERE! Yes, CAMPAIGN ads! And, since the elections aren't until November, they're here to stay!
As an interesting article in the paper pointed out, those ads make tv stations A LOT of money. So, I'm not going to sit here and bite the hand that feeds me, but as many of you have already started telling me, the ads get old.
Politics are interesting for a station.
Let me tell you a story....
The other week I went to Steppin' Out in Blacksburg. We had gotten something to eat & were sitting on the steps when a woman asked us to sign a petition. I told her I wasn't allowed to sign it. She gave me a weird look and walked away. I'm pretty sure she thought I was giving her a line. I wasn't. Working in t.v. we strive to maintain our objectivity. It might be hard for viewers to believe we're objective if we're wearing our favorite candidate's slogan on our shirt, have a sign in our yard or donate to his campaign. If you notice on election night we don't wear the stickers that say, "I voted." We don't say, "GO VOTE." We instead tell you how late the polls are open. Now, don't get me wrong, I personally think you should vote- lots of people have died so that we have that right. It's a right people all over the world die for now. BUT, if you don't want to vote, that's your prerogative.
Saturday, Republican Presidental hopeful Mitt Romney named Paul Ryan as his running mate. If you're like me, you know nothing about the guy. He's from Wisconsin. THAT's pretty much all I know. Is he a good fit? Will he energize the campaign? Will it be enough to beat the current administration? We shall see. What I do hope for BOTH parties is a "clean" race. Every year, political polls come out saying that folks don't like the negative campaigns- count me among those people. It just seems unnecessary. We need to put partisan politics aside, generate more business and get people back to work. hahaha That sounded like my pitch for office, didn't it? VOTE BAHORICH 2012! hahaha Really though, the biggest "Campaign" I'm focusing on is THE MOVIE! :)
So, on that note, here's a little random thing People.com had on Paul Ryan (it quotes a The New Yorker interview that is probably a bit more serious, but I wanted to end on a light note!)
Until next time, take care! :) ~sjb
Here's what you need to know about Romney's pick:
1. He was voted prom king at his high school
He also was named biggest "brown-noser" in his senior yearbook. A bright and popular student at Joseph A. Craig high school in Janesville, he played varsity soccer and was a member of the ski and Latin clubs. He also worked the grill at McDonald's. "The manager didn't think I had the social skills to work the counter," he told The New Yorker. "And now I'm in Congress!"
2. At 16 he found the body of his father, dead of a heart attack
"It was just a big punch in the gut," Ryan told The New Yorker. "I concluded I've got to either sink or swim in life. … I was, like, 'What is the meaning?' I just did lots of reading, lots of introspection. I read everything I could get my hands on." Among the books that influenced him: Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, which he has called a "devastating indictment of the fatal conceit of socialism, of too much government."
3. He once moonlighted as a waiter
He did it while working his first political job as a speechwriter for the late Rep. Jack Kemp at the conservative think tank Empower America. But he didn't have to pull double duty for long: in 1998, at just 28, he won his House seat. Fluent in fiscal policy, New York magazine has called him the "Wonk King of Republicans" for his mastery of policy details.
4. Fitness buff
With a history of heart disease in his family, Ryan is a passionate fitness enthusiast who leads a daily morning workout of young conservative members of Congress. (On his iPod? Rockers Rage Against the Machine.) A friend describes him as a "hunting-obsessed gym rat."
5. Catfish, Beware
He and his wife Janna, a tax attorney whom he wed in 2000, have daughter Liza and sons Charlie and Sam. The family lives in Janesville and attends St. John Vianney Catholic Church. When they want to unwind, the clan retreats to their rural ranch near Lake Texoma, on the Red River between Oklahoma and Texas, where Ryan wrestles catfish out of their holes by hand.
"They come up on your hand, and you just squeeze wherever you are in that fish and pull it out," he told The New York Times. ''I know it sounds a little crazy, but it's really exhilarating."
Longtime no write.
It's not that I don't like the blog, but unfortunately I always feel like it's one of those things that's going to turn around and bite me!
Could that be because of all the HOT topics out there? In a word: YES.
So, I'm going to do my best to keep my foot out of my mouth and talk about something I'm OBSESSED with these days- THE OLYMPICS!
Are you watching?
I'm someone who is staying up entirely too late watching the games. (And, believe me I pay for it the next day- I hit the snooze several times, I'm grump(ier) and come afternoon I'm ready for a nap (not good for a reporter who has stories to write! ha)!
I pretty much watch it all - swimming, gymnastics, track & field, you name it, I'm interested!
I cheer and scream at the tv, cry, sing the anthem- to say I get into it, well- it's a bit of an understatement.
I love that these people, these dedicated athletes, turn their bodies into finely tuned machines and then go toe to toe with one another to see who's "best." TREMENDOUS!
Have I mentioned that I went to the Olympics in 1996 when they were in Atlanta?
(No. I wasn't an athlete. Just a spectator! :)
An amazing opportunity!
We saw the USA women win gold in gymnastics and several USA runners (including Michael Johnson!!!) crush their opponents. We also saw beach volleyball (in the rain, but still very cool!) and baseball.
Unfortunately, that Olympics was marred with violence. A pipe bomb exploded in Olympic park. Thankfully, we had left 3-hours before it happened, but since cell phones weren't what they are now, our families had no idea where we were and we pretty much had no idea anything had happened.
That being said, if you ever have the opportunity to see the Olympics, as Nike says- JUST DO IT!
Since I have been slacking soooo much here, catch me on facebook & twitter where I update at least once a day (more for twitter! :)
Facebook is: Susan Bahorich WDBJ7
Twitter is: sbahorich
'Til next time! Be Safe!
January 4, 2012
Happy New Year, Baby New Year!!!!
Welcome to the first edition of the 2012 Blog-horich.
I've been slacking people, I'm sorry!
First off, Happy belated Holidays! I hope whatever you celebrate was TREMENDOUS!
I celebrate Christmas and it was really wonderful, but HECTIC! (does anyone else find their Christmas break is just run-run-run???) In addition to an amazing holiday, I caught up with my college roomies, my best friend from the time I was 16 & played the role of Bob Villa with my little sister. My sister, Jessica, bought an older home a few months ago. It's gorgeous, but there are opportunities for improvements. After discovering there were hardwood floors in the kitchen and the bathroom, my sister signed me up for the project. Let's just say, you don't know how much space you have until you're sanding it (coarse, medium, fine) and then applying a polyurethane!!! hahaha Long-short, the floors look amazing! :) And, area contractors- don't worry, your jobs are safe!!! (my back & legs were killing me the next day! ouchy!!!)
And, mark your calendars... TOMORROW marks my 8th anniversary with your hometown station! Honestly, I meant to be here 2.5 years before moving on, but I really found a place where I enjoyed myself, the people, the community and my job (a trifecta plus one? ;) So, I'd like to thank you, the 'DBJ viewing public. It's because of you, your kindness, honesty and hospitality, that I call the Roanoke Valley home. I'm constantly surprised by your generosity! (I get to see it every week when we air "Pet Stories" on News7 Saturday morning. I *KNOW* more than 80% of those animals are adopted because of YOU, our VIEWERS!!!!)
So, thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
'til next time, TAKE CARE! :)
Sunday mornings I get here at 5:30.
This morning, I was greeted by a viewer voicemail.
The caller mentioned I had been a rec football game the day before and it would have been nice to mention the kids and the hardwork they've been doing since August.
Let me set this up by saying, I was there to get parents' reaction on the alleged embezzlement by the rec league treasurer. (How much you ask? 85-thousand large - *oh remember, allegedly.)
I want everyone to know, I like kids. I think they should be involved in activities - sports, arts, dance, you name it. But realistically we can't report on your kids' rec sports teams. We CAN'T. There are just TOO many teams, TOO MANY rec leagues, TOO MANY counties (we cover 26) and just to FEW news minutes (outside of sports & weather, we have about 8-minutes to fill.) I'm not sure how many rec leagues are in our viewing area, but there are AT LEAST two in Roanoke, so- do the math - at least 2, times 26, times multiple localities within those 26 counties- we're talking 100s. Our sports department covers our local college teams and high school teams (if you don't see the AMAZING work they do, tune in Friday nights at 11:15 for Friday Football Extra. Our team does a PHENOMENAL job representing our entire viewing area!) but frankly it's unrealistic to expect us to cover rec leagues, and cover them well.
Other news, UVA fans were mildly upset with your hometown station Saturday afternoon. WDBJ was set to carry the UVA/UMD match-up, but instead, they were seeing the NC State game. The calls came in. Within 10-minutes the problem was fixed, and the Cavs trounced the Terps (sadly, for this UMD fan.) Many wondered what was going on? And what 'DBJ did to their game. Just a clarification, RAYCOM sends us the feeds (games), we take them and put them out over our airwaves. Sadly, RAYCOM thought we were "State" country. Our engineer managed to get them on the line and fix the problem. (of course, the way that game turned out maybe it would've been better to watch that other one!!!)
FYI- Election Day is Tuesday, November 8th. If you're so inclined, get out and vote. Have and check your voter registration, with redistricting you may have a different polling place. You don't necessarily need that voter's card, but it will make everyone's life a lil easier if you have it!
And finally today, Breast Cancer Awareness Month might be over, but that doesn't mean you should let your breast health slide. If you or someone you know need some screenings, but can't afford them, see the numbers below. It could SAVE YOUR LIFE!!!!!
LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENTS OFFER FREE BREAST AND CERVICAL CANCER SCREENINGS FOR ELIGIBLE WOMEN
(CHRISTIANSBURG, Va.) - Fifteen to thirty percent of women in the New River Valley lack access to services for the early detection of breast and cervical cancer. “Early detection reduces death rates, offers treatment options and ultimately can increase survival rates and improve the quality of life for women who are diagnosed with breast o! r cervical cancer,” said Molly O’Dell, MD, director of the New River Health District. “The Virginia Department of Health’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Program provides vital resources to help women minimize the risks associated with these illnesses.”
The New River Health District, which serves individuals in Floyd, Giles, Montgomery and Pulaski counties and the City of Radford, encourages all women to learn more about breast health, cancer prevention and to take advantage of the free screening programs listed below, available through local health departments:
· Every Woman’s Life provides free breast and cervical cancer screenings to low income, uninsured and under insured women age 40 to 64. This program is provided by the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Family Health Services; and
· ! Komen Breast Health provides free breast screenings to eligible women age 18 to 40. This program is offered through a Carilion Clinic grant awarded by the Greater Roanoke Valley Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, an initiative of the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
“It is important for women to understand the risk factors associated with breast cancer, and when possible to reduce those risks,” said Ruth Wolford, MSN, RN, nurse manager for the New River Health District. “For example, some risk factors such as poor nutrition are avoidable, while others such as family history are not. No matter what risk factors a w! oman may have, screening and early detection are essential tools in fi ghting this disease.”
In recent years the United States has made great strides in the prevention, early detection and treatment of breast cancer. Still, far too many women and their families are affected by this disease. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) estimates that more than 230,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the U. S. by the end of 2011. NCI also estimates that nearly 40,000 women in our country will lose the battle with breast cancer this year.
To make an appointment or to check on eligibility for a free screening, please call your local health department:
· Floyd County Health Department, Floyd, 540-745-2141;
· Giles County Health Department, Pearisburg, 540-921-2891;
· Montgomery County Health Department, Christiansburg, 540-381-7100;
· Pulaski County Health Departmen! t, Pulaski, 540-994-5030; or
· Radford City Health Department, Radford, 540-831-5774.
Murder trials are tough for any reporter. Who wants to go up to a victim's family and ask, "How are you doing?," "How are you handling this?," "What do you think about the case?" - I'm not stupid, I know they wish their loved one was still alive and they weren't sitting in a courthouse. The issue is MUCH worse when a child's involved.
Since January 2010, I've reported on the story of Aveion Lewis. A little boy with bright eyes and a larger than life smile. That life was snuffed out. His body was dumped in the trash and eventually discovered in a landfill. To this day, the medical examiner can't quite determine what caused this little boy's death (parts of his skull and brain were missing due to his time in the landfill.)
As the time has gone by, I've learned more about Aveion's life. According to testimony, this little boy was abused and mistreated pretty much all of his two-years. The video and pictures are graphic.
This morning his mother, Morgan pleaded no contest to child abuse & neglect and 2nd degree murder. ONE WORD: SAD.
Morgan is set to be sentenced on January 4th.
Meanwhile, Morgan's husband & Aveion's step-dad, Brandon Lockett, is set to be sentenced in November.
So, I'm going to put this plea out to you- if you see, hear, think someone is abusing a child -it's your job as a human to report that abuse to the authorities.
Sidebar, while I was sitting in court on the first day of the trial (10/11), I wrote this (it may be a lil dated, so forgive me):
(working title... )
"A day in the life of a reporter" **OR** "The legal system and you..."
I'm covering the trial of Morgan Lockett. Lockett is the Roanoke mom accused in the death of her son, 2year old Aveion Lewis.
If you've never seen a trial in person, I really recommend it. It's amazing to see our justice system in action.
The Lockett case is a jury trial, so a little more goes into it. In this case, the judge and lawyers have to widdle down a pool of 60-people to just 14 (the jury is made up for 12 people, plus 2 alternates.) The alternates don't learn until the very end (just before jury instruction) that they won't be making a decision in the person's guilt or innocence.
The jury selection process can be lengthy (especially w/60 people), but also because the judge and lawyers want to be able to provide the most impartial jury possible.
Some of the obstacles in this case?
1. It was highly publicized.
2. It pulls at the heart-strings.
For instance, one woman was a longtime educator and grandmother, she said she couldn't do it. She already felt like she was leaning a certain way (toward Morgan's guilt). She was dismissed.
So, court started at 9:45 this morning. Soon thereafter (about 20-minutes) the jury was brought in, the questions began in a group setting, that is until about 11, when there was a break and the judge took folks who had personal things to say (i.e. prior run ins with the law, etc) to another courtroom. That lasted until about 1:15, in the meantime, the potential jurors waited in the initial courtroom to be called. (Yes, a little fact about court, when things are moving, they move! When it stops, it's similar to sitting in traffic (SIGH!)) Usually this is when the procedural question come up. The judge must stop the flow to address the issue, get it on "the record" and then move forward.
After nearly 2.5 hrs, the jury was selected, 7-men, 7-women. The judge gives the jury (and journalists, for that matter) an hour lunchbreak.
(****BREAK FOR LUNCH****)
Ahhhhh, that was good- back to court! The jurors/everybody was due back at 2:45. The case is back in session at three. Jurors return. The judge gives them the lay of the land with instructions - some new, since the last time I covered a case in Roanoke City- he instructs the jurors, telling them to stay away from twitter and facebook (what!?!? no social media??) They're not even allowed to post they're on a jury!
Opening statements from both the prosecution and defense last from 3 -4:35.
Court resumes tomorrow at 9:30a.
Alas, for photojournalist Rob Chewning and myself, the day is not done! We have to put together stories for the 5 & 6. I have the 5 already written, we just have to put pictures with the words. I front it live at 5, then prepare for a longer version at 6 - trying to recap an all day affair into a 1:30 report, while giving everybody their due! (fingers crossed! toes too!)
WHEW!!! ACCOMPLISHED! Now, to prepare for tomorrow! :)
Happy Monday! Hope everybody got a chance to enjoy this GORGEOUS day (and weekend too for that matter!)
I made a little list of things I wanted to talk about, so let's get to it!
A father claims his autistic son was abused and beaten on a school bus, and says he has proof.
Last week, video was released from inside the bus. It has the child, and what appears to be a bus aide and the bus driver striking the child. This is part of an ongoing case, but bottom-line, the video is hard to watch. In documents released from the school system, there's a paper trail from a case worker who goes back and forth with the school system on behalf of a parent. What would have happened had that camera not been on the bus? What would have happened if that parent had not continued to lobby for his child? Long-short, trust your gut. If something doesn't feel right or seem right, then don't let it go. That's what happened in this case. A dad felt something was wrong and wouldn't let it go.
In other news, people have been talking about Bank of America. The bank says it will start charging a $5 a month fee for customers to use their debt cards. While this isn't set to start until the beginning of next year, it already has people squawking! Ok, full-disclosure, I'm a Bank of America customer. The bank makes A LOT of money off me. I have 4-accounts with them. BUT, I also burn my debit card up!!! I use my debit card so much that I would definitely get my 5-dollars worth from it. BUT, as mentioned those four-accounts make them a far amount of money. I'm really wishy-washy on this one. It seems that in this time when everyone wants you to pay a little more, this is the norm- no biggie. On the otherside of the coin, didn't these same institutions just get a MAJOR bailout from our country??? Netflix folded after the community started to raise a fuss. I'm wondering if nationwide outrage will have the bank rethinking its decision? I'll keep you updated.
And- last, but not least, News7 has some special visitors this week. Journalists from the country of Georgia are visiting. It's part of an exchange program. Our very own Joe Dashiell visited earlier this year and now he's helping to play host. Today, the group played a video from their country. Once a part of communist Russia, Georgia and the station are independent, but it not always smooth sailing. Government officials are still learning about transparency and accountability. The station has been threatened -power turned off, government types demanding that stories be pulled. The whole thing really made me realize how very lucky we are. We take for granted our FREEDOMS. The freedom of speech, to report and make leaders answer for their actions, and generally, just how good we have it. So, here's to the USA. It's not always a perfect system, but hey, it could always be worse.
Anywho, take care!!!
til next time - sjb
It has been so long since I've written and frankly, I just needed a break.
Everytime I went to write something down, it just seemed so negative.
You know the old saying, if you don't have something nice to say (or in this case write) then don't say anything at all.
Well, after months of inactivity, I'm back.
Nothing especially pointed to say, but hey, that's never stopped me before, has it? :)
I'm having some new areas that I cover.
While I pretty much cover anything and everything (I am, after all, a General Assignment Reporter) I also cover Botetourt County, Craig County, Vinton, Salem and now Arts & Entertainment. The localities aren't new, but the A&E beat is..
So, I'm asking for your help.
If something's going on in your hometown, let me know! (even if it's not in the list above, I can get it to the right person!)
I hope your summer left you rested & happy, and as we move into fall, ready to buckle down.
Sorry no activity on the blog.
I've been crazy busy!
So, I like happy news, let's start there.
If you follow me on Facebook (susan bahorich wdbj) you already know the news, but my family welcomed its newest member on Monday, August 1st. My brother and his wife had a little boy! :) His name is Ryker Joseph. Ryker's an original name, but Joseph is for my late father. The Bahorich name will live on! :)
Okay, there's the fluff. Let's move onto heavier/weighty issues, the economy.
Congress came down to the wire this week, before coming to a compromise. I put the issue out to FB followers to weigh in on. No matter what side of the aisle you're on, one thing people seemed to agree on- the ridiculousness of cutting it so close. Here's a little sampling of the comments.
"They are beyond help!"
"..they are money hungry"
"They just need to grow up and stop demanding having everything their own way like little kids do!!"
"They just rich and dont care about us."
"NEED more Women in the House! Women Can Budget Multitask and Run a House look what weve got with Men in there! And lm Not a Womens Lib!"
"They will get it settled before the deadline then pat their selves on the back for doing such a great job. They are not aware of what the public thinks of them. They could care less unless there is an election."
This is TRULY what people are saying. They're frustrated. They feel like people, who were hired to work for them & represent them in DC, are letting them down. I wonder if the politicians know or even care?
In other news, today I went to Buena Vista. This makes the third time I've been there in 7.5 years! haha First off, what a REALLY cute place! If you've never been, nice little day trip. Unfortunately, I wasn't there for the happiest of stories. Former Parry McCluer football coach Matt Wheeler was federal indicted on charges of distributing child pornography. People I spoke to are STILL shocked. (he was arrested in July, but charged as "John Doe #14") Several people I spoke to say he could NEVER be involved in this kind of thing. One woman, who didn't want to go on camera, said she would trust him with her 3-year-old daughter. A mother told me her 11-year-old daughter was in his class and he never did anything inappropriate or made her feel "weird" or "uncomfortable." But, investigators say he admitted to them that he had a problem. They do say that he never "manufactured" child pornography. At this point, Wheeler is behind bars. He'll stand trial in Louisiana.
Ok, gotta get ready for my live shot. Let's hope my next entry comes a lot sooner than this one did!
Take Care & Be Safe Everybody!
The big news - the Casey Anthony verdict.
(How come I'm having deja vu? OJ, anyone???)
In case you've been away from your tv, PDA or maybe living under a rock- let me bring you up to speed.
Casey Anthony was accused of killing her little girl, Caylee.
The case had everything required of a good thriller- drug, sex, rock-n-roll, a missing child, a decayed body, a family at odds and lots of finger pointing.
Sadly, this wasn't a book or made for tv movie, it was real life, and real death.
Tuesday, a jury came back and found Casey not guilty of murdering Caylee, though the 25-year-old was found guilty of lying to police during the course of the investigation.
Like the OJ trial, people are up in arms and deeply divided.
I'll preface this by saying- I didn't go to law school and never took the BAR... *BUT* I cover A LOT of court cases, and from what I saw - the prosecution didn't meet the burden. While I, like a lot of people, think she was probably involved in someway, shape or form in the child's death (what mother waits 30+ days to report their kid missing!??!?!?!!?) I still had a lot of questions. There were too many "what ifs?" I appreciate the jury didn't just throw the Florida mother in the slammer and say "BUH-bye" - especially if the state didn't do its job. Truly in this day of CSI and police shows - people (jurors) want the slam-dunk of DNA.
Okay, so where do we go from here? Well, Casey Anthony will be sentenced for the three-charges she was found guilty of on Tuesday. Since she's been waiting in jail for about three-years, it's a pretty good chance she'll be freed. Will Caylee's killer ever be charged and prosecuted? That, my friends, is the million dollar question.. stay tuned.
In other news, I'm about to continue my summer of travel.
First it was Boston, then Virginia Beach, SML, this weekend I'm heading to a wedding in Charlottesville, after that- I head to MD to celebrate my BIRTHDAY!!!! (it's funny- my age continues to climb, but I STILL feel like a kid!!! is that a good or bad thing??? :P
Okay, I'm leaving you on a happy note- here's to former News7-er Alex Lawson. He and his fiancee, Corinne, are tying the knot this weekend! CONGRATS!!!!
In the meantime, be safe out there!!!
Hope this Monday isn't kickin' your butt too much... (as Mondays sometimes have a way of doing! :)
I've been slacking with the blog, but I have a good excuse - I've been on vacation (so if you're looking for a lot of news content- after 10-days off, you'll probably not find it here! :)
Got a chance to tour one of America's most historic cities - Boston! It's beautiful! I was a huge fan. Even though I lived outside of Boston as a kid, I don't really remember it. Going back as an adult definitely made a difference..
So, what did I do on this vacation besides eat lobster rolls, clams and copious amounts of lobster bisque? Well, I saw quite a bit of the area - I did a trolley tour of the city where you were able to get off and explore multiple sites, went to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (where there was a cool glass exhibit by a man name Chihuly = awesome!), went to Martha's Vineyard, walked Harvard's campus (about as close as I'll get to Harvard! haha) and caught up with my good friend Kate who used to work here at the station. All in all, I spent too much money, ate too many lobster rolls - and had a WONDERFUL time! :)
Did I mention the weather? It hovered near 60-degrees (YES.. 60! One day was 58!) for at least half the week! A big difference from the upper 90s that are coming our way this week. Please stay hydrated- keep an eye on the kids and seniors & don't forget the sunscreen!
Until next time- take care & please be safe! :)
Every holiday, it seems, without fail- something major happens.
Monday as we were preparing for the noon news, word of a shooting at the Roanoke Sheetz came across the scanner. We eventually got some info and were able to air it during the newscast.
As I got off the desk, we're hearing more.. this time not just about the Sheetz. We're hearing a trooper had been shot. To say we went into panic mode would be an understatement.
Let me set the scene. I've been here since 3 a.m., my producer has been here since 12:30a.m., our one reporter/photographer team is out doing a story and not answering their collective phones. There's an intern. One guy who's getting ready to walk out the door after editing video for the a.m. & noon. And, one other guy who's answering the phone (7-people for those keeping up at home.)
We start sending people out the door. Any plans you have to leave or go home are put on hold. I pick up the phone and start calling people in. We need a live truck operator. We need a satellite truck operator (the two aren't interchangeable- the SAT guy knows how to do the live truck, but most LIVE truck guys aren't trained and approved to do the Satellite truck.)
Off the record, we're getting all kinds of information. On- record, well, that's another story. No one's talking.
When it's all said and done, we got the story & got the people where they needed to be.
Sadly, a woman is now dead.
A trooper is recovering.
An alleged shooter is in the hospital.
Days later details are still emerging in this case.
First, I've personally spoken with Sgt. Matt Brannock. He's home. He's recovering. He's humbled by the outpouring of support.
Meanwhile, police say Jennifer Agee was gunned down by her ex-husband, Franklin County deputy Jonathan Agee. According to a search warrant, the two, who have been divorced since '05 had some sort of "relationship." Jennifer Agee reportedly contacted the new wife via text messages to let her know of this development. (hey, don't shoot the messager! this is all from a Franklin County search warrant.. )
Also coming out, word that Agee's current wife contacted the Franklin County Sheriff's office to warn them her husband was on a murderous rampage. Instead of issuing an "all points bulletin" or "be on the lookout" - Sheriff Ewell Hunt reportedly said he would handle it himself. He thought it would be quicker. He reportedly contacted the Salem Police Department (Jennifer Agee lived in Salem.) He apparently couldn't get a hold of anyone, so he left a message. Someone from the Salem PD contacted him 13-minutes later. A "be on the lookout" wasn't issued until after Jennifer Agee was shot and killed in Roanoke.
Oh, did I mentioned that Jonathan Agee was named in the Franklin County grand jury indictment against Sheriff Hunt. According to that testimony, Jonathan Agee and Ashley Hunt (the sheriff's daughter) spent time together and she did ride-alongs with him.
Okay, as a reporter/viewer/citizen- here are some of the questions that pop into my head...
- why wasn't an APB or BOLO (All Points Bulletin or Be on the Lookout) issued?
- is there a protocol for this? or is it up to the discretion of the officer?
- if you thought handling it *personally* would be quicker, why did you leave a message? Where's the urgency?
- how much of the office's business is handled personally? (i.e. would handling something "personally" be considered unusual?)
More questions will no doubt come as the days progress, but right now there seems to be an air of "what if" hovering about..
What do you think about this story? Feel free to share your thoughts with me at: email@example.com
Until next time, please be kind & take care of one another!
A lot of you have sent me notes asking how my knee's doing. (I had knee surgery back in March. Light duty for another month after that. Now, nearly 2-months later, still doing Physical Therapy) First off, thanks for asking! To answer your questions - It's slow going. I had a setback, hurt my knee and still haven't returned to the gym.
That being said - since I haven't been able to work-off my extra pounds I've been cooking more. (for people who watch News7 Sunday Morning- you've heard me mention what an AWFUL cook I am! for friends and family- you KNOW this is true! haha) I've discovered a website - Gina's Skinny Recipes: http://www.skinnytaste.com It's been a help. Out of the three-recipes I only messed up one! (I especially liked the Zesty Lime Shrimp and Avocado Salad!)
I got a little exciting news today. I learned that photographer Rob Chewning & I received a Virginia Association of Broadcasters Award for our stories on local soldier Zach Osborne.
Osborne was a Roanoke Catholic and West Point grad who was injured in Afghanistan. When we caught up with him he was recovering from injuries at Walter Reed in D.C. An IED exploded underneath his armored vehicle. He suffered severe injuries to his feet and legs. This young man was so together. Even after everything he was going through - he was only concerned for his men (none of which- suffered serious injury.) Since our original story aired, Zach made the difficult decision to have his leg amputated just below the knee. He's not letting anything slow him down. He's gotten engaged and is heading to the West Coast to work on his master's at Stanford.
While I'm celebrating a personal professional milestone, I'm a little off today... Today (5/25) is Keith Humphry's last day here at News7. While I'm excited for him. I'm sad for us. It's obviously our loss. You don't lose 31-years of experience and not feel it. Here's to a TRUE PROFESSIONAL- Keith Humphry -enjoy you're next phase of life -both personal & professional!!!!
That's going to do it - have a good one!
Link for my tech story:
So by now you may have seen my story about the amazing technology available to amputees.
(If not, I'll post a link.. )
Going into this story, I'm not going to lie, I was a little freaked out. As a reporter, I'm supposed to fearless, unbiased and aggressive. Believe me, I'm all of those things. But, I'm also human- and well, I'll admit it- I have a horrible fear of amputations. Maybe it's because I worry it could happen to me. Maybe it's because I can only imagine the pain behind a surgery like that. Maybe it's because I'm a little vain. (Most likely it's all of these, but I digress.. )
So, when I lined up this shoot I wasn't sure how it would go. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to put my subjects at ease and get what we (me & my photographer Andy May) would need to accurately & fairly tell this story.
To preface this blog entry- maybe I should tell you I'm a talker. I can talk to anyone. About anything. When I'm nervous/anxious that talking goes into OVERDRIVE. Which- is what happened on this shoot. Well, my "tell" actually helped me. All I could think of when I heard about this technology is "The Empire Strikes Back." In case you're not the nerd I am - let me bring you up to speed- Luke has his arm hacked off by Darth Vadar ("Luke, I am your father!") Luke looks like he's a goner. He's not. He's saved and (cue the music) -technology gives him a prosthetic that perfectly matches his existing arm and works so seamlessly, no one knows the difference.. Okay, so that's what the i-LIMB reminds me of... Luke Skywalker. Just think - the things they're able to do now with technology - were just a sci-fi geek's wild dream 30-years ago. That's AMAZING!!!!
The i-LIMB has been around for awhile now, but just like the i-PHONE- every generation is better than the last.
The teen profiled in my story, Sean, had never really bothered with a prosthetic before - but he's gotten to the age where he feels it may add value to his life.
He wants to play the guitar. He hopes this will help. Regardless, he's a well-adjusted kid who laughs easily and well, is as "normal" as any other 14-year-old.
Sean- here's to you and the i-LIMB - and everyone involved in this shoot. In addition to helping me tell a great story, you helped me overcome a little fear too! Thanks to all!
You probably know the names Jean Jadhon and Keith Humphry. But what about John Thomas, Sam Doyle and Mike Pettit? You probably have never heard of them. They're some of WDBJ7's unsung heroes.
Saturday morning - Jay Webb & I were seated, ready for the start of the show, when we got the word there were problems. Something called the switcher had gone down. I don't know much about the switcher, but I do know it's hard to have a show without one. We're told we'd probably be going on late, but there was a fix available. Minutes passed, then a handful of minutes turned into 20, then word there were issues with the "backup" switcher. YIKES!
Anywho, just when we had given up hope and thrown up our hands. Somehow, someway, our engineering staff managed to rig something together. It wasn't a long show, but it was a 14-minute recap of a top national story, a bunch of local, a hint of local sports, Jay Webb's forecast and don't forget birthdays! NICE JOB GUYS!
I can't forget about the rest of the crew who just rolled with the punches- producer Melaine Crabtree condensed a hour-long program down to 14-minutes, Joe Scartelli who directed on the fly, Paul Manning who ran audio, Sandy Reese on graphics and Ben Powers on the floor.
So, to all those concerned we're doing away with our weekend newscast- NO WAY! We're STILL here! Just a bump in the road .. thanks for bearing with us!!! :) Jay & I will be back bright and early tomorrow!
Busy news week.
It started with the surprising news that Osama bin Laden had been found. and killed. More details are coming out everyday. I have a feeling we'll be getting little tidbits for a longtime to come. President Obama has said the U.S. won't be releasing pictures of the dead terrorist who was reportedly shot in the head. What do you think? Should the pics be released? Do you want to see it?
In Halifax County, a man was found dead, stuffed in a well. (The premise reminds me of the book/movie Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King.) A woman, her mother and 15-year-old son are now charged with the crime. Police say the man, Eric Wynn, was her husband and father to the 15-year-old. According to a search warrant, the 15-year-old admitted to shooting and killing his father.
And, in lighter notes - Prince William and Kate Middleton tied the knot. I was excited to watch the ceremony & pomp and circumstance that surrounded the event. It did NOT disappoint! :) Weddings are nice to begin with, but that of a prince & princess, well.. :) Thanks to everyone who got up early and came to the Lyric Theater in Blacksburg for a viewing party. Wonderful time :)
Thanks also going out to the thousands who came out to the chili cookoff in downtown Roanoke yesterday. I started off with a CLEAN, white t-shirt, before it was over - I was chili covered! hahaha looked like I had gone through some sort of chili war! :)
Talk soon! Until then, take care of one another!
"Action and reaction, ebb and flow, trial and error, change - this is the rhythm of living. Out of our over-confidence, fear; out of our fear, clearer vision, fresh hope. And out of hope, progress." ~Bruce Barton
Change has come to Your Hometown Station.
Our longtime anchor, Keith Humphry is retiring at the end of May. Keith has been a staple at News7 for 31-years. AMAZING! Since I got here more than 7-years ago, Keith has tackled topics and told stories that have left me in AWE! My favorite part of a "Keith story" is what I call the "nugget." He ALWAYS captures a moment. Whether it's someone getting caught in a lie or in an unsavory situation - if Keith Humphry winds up on your doorstep- you know it will be good (well, at least for the viewer!)
Watch throughout the month of May as we celebrate Keith's many accomplishments and take a look back at some of his biggest stories.
You may have also noticed Hollani Davis has some new responsibilities. Hollani, who anchored our weekend evening newscasts, is now anchor of News7 at 11 and the 10 o'clock newscast on My19. (She takes over for our good friend Natasha Ryan who has gone to Seattle. p.s. Natasha's doing great and loving her new state!)
We've also had some behind the scene changes.
Regardless, here at News7- we're still committed to providing news from your area in a straight-forward, no nonsense manner.
If you have a story idea- please feel free to send it to me - firstname.lastname@example.org
And, be sure to check our the News7 team on facebook and twitter. (Susan Bahorich Wdbj and sbahorich, respectively..)
In the meantime, be good to each other & I'll check in soon!
I've really been slacking on this blog. WHEW!
I have ideas, but then my inner monologue kicks up: 'Is that appropriate for a work place blog?' 'Hmmmm, probably not!' - and then it's back to the drawing board.
THEN, that wandering inner-monologue is silenced by a weather event like the one our neighbors suffered through last week. Two tornadoes ripped through Pulaski County Friday night (4/8.) The pictures of the devastation are like something out of a movie. I'm not sure if it's just because I expect tornadoes in the Mid-West or what, but the damage is more than I expected.
Day in and day out, News7 pretty much reports on how the economic downturn has been tough on local families. You'd never know it. These same families -who are barely making end meet- are donating what they can to their neighbors in need. WOW. IT'S AMAZING! :) No, really- it makes me so PROUD to call Roanoke ~ "home." :)
While 100s of homes and buildings were damaged and destroyed - AMAZINGLY only 8-people suffered minor injuries.
If you'd like to help the victim of the Pulaski tornadoes, our website has a number of resources.
Here's one page that might be a good starting point:
And, in the wake of everything, I think this quote rings especially true!
“The most important things in life aren't things.” ~Anthony J. D'Angelo
Take Care Everybody!
Sex ed. It's a topic that gets the attention of parents, students and administrators. (And seems to strike fear into the hearts of all involved!)
Right now, it's an issue that has students speaking out in Massachusetts.
Students in Boston city schools want more & better sex education and access to condoms.
Today, CNN opened the topic up to the court of public opinion.
Most of the students polled said they learned about sex from porn. (yes, pornography) OH BOY.
I understand the argument that parents should be having these conversations with their children, but many aren't. And, what happened to sex ed in schools? Don't they still have that?
I remember growing up, my mom had "the talk" with me. Looking back, I don't think I understood most of what she said, I'm not sure how much even registered. But, I do know when "family living" came up in middle school - it wasn't the first time I heard I had heard about puberty, changes and "the birds and the bees." (Did I mention parents had to sign off on their child's participation in this one-hour class that lasted the week?)
In high school, a sex ed portion was worked into our health class. (Imagine a co-ed class full of 14-year olds. There was a lot of blushing and embarrassment!)
Things have changed in the dozen or so years since I've been in high school. Real life pregnant girls star in their own t.v. show. Pregnancy "pacts" have been reported at high schools across the country. Just the other week, there was push up bikini top for 7-year-olds. Yes, we live in a highly sexualized society. It's scary. I don't know how parents deal with it. BUT, I do know teen pregnancy has been around for a LONGTIME. (I can hear you at home saying 'no it hasn't.' Yes, yes it has. Back then, pregnancy spurred a lot of "shotgun weddings." Maybe that's the difference? Teens today don't always get married when they're pregnant. ahhhh, but I digress)
Isn't it always said, "knowledge is power"? I believe that. Really, I do.
I know it's a difficult subject, but you need to talk to your child about the changes they're going through and sex. What better way to make sure you're child is living by the morals that are important to you and your family. Because really, if you don't - they may get misinformation from their friends, the internet or god forbid, porn.
Need some direction to get the ball rolling? Try out these sites:
Oh, and GOOD LUCK!!!
'til next time... take care!
Helllooo blog friends!
Its been a while, but I have a good reason- I PROMISE!
I had knee surgery the other week, so I've been laid up, off from work. (I'm doing much better! Thank you for your emails and facebook messages! :)
Ten-days off from work seems like it would be heaven, right?
Well, not for this kid. Maybe if I had felt better, could get around and had nothing but sun and sand, but being beached on the couch- got rather boring. (that, and the 22-stairs to get into my house were a tremendous obstacle!)
I did, however, watch every reality series, b-movie and mindless t.v. I could get my hands on.
THUS, I'm calling this blog, "The View from the Couch."
I didn't cover any news, nor do I have any "inside" scoop for you guys, but I do have feedback on several movies. (I know, I'm not Siskel or Ebert, but here we go.. )
- Morning Glory: I hadn't wanted to see this in the theater, but my mom came down to take care of me and I thought it'd be her type of movie. :) It stars Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton and Rachel McAdams- I thought it was just okay. (But, I didn't expect much.)
imdb synopsis: An upstart television producer accepts the challenge of reviving a struggling morning show program with warring co-hosts.
- Winter's Bone: played at the Grandin. not really mainstream, but did get some Oscar nominations. I LOVED this movie. I thought it started slow, but WOW- it packed a punch. For adults.
imdb synopsis: Mountain girl hunts down her drug-dealing father while trying to keep her family intact.
- Book of Eli: This is from last year. It starred Denzel, need I say more? hehe No really, I didn't know what I expected, but it was ok. (Not as good as Winter's Bone, but better than Morning Glory)
imdb synopsis: Post-apocalyptic tale, in which a lone man fights his way across America in order to protect a sacred book that holds the secrets to saving humankind.
- Despicable Me: Let's just say it's obvious why Pixar has the market cornered on animated movies. The quality of the movies was fine, but the jokes and pacing were off. Overall it was okay, but not as good as a "Toy Story" or something like that. Did I mention Russell Brand, Steve Carrell and Jason Segel voice it?
imdb synopsis: When a criminal mastermind uses a trio of orphan girls as pawns for a grand scheme, he finds himself profoundly changed by the growing love between them.
- Lincoln Lawyer: A movie that's actually playing in theaters. It's based on a book and stars Matthew McConnaughy & Ryan Phillippe (hello, eye candy!) I thought it was just ok - maybe B or C- It was a little long and the plot twists weren't that "twisty." I did like that there was some old-school rap, so kudos for that. Summary- easy rainy day movie.
imdb synopsis: A lawyer conducts business from the back of his Lincoln town car while representing a high-profile client in Beverly Hills.
Okay, so take the Bahorich review for what it's worth (not much! haha) Hope to have some actual "news" content for you guys in the next BLOG-horich, but until then - take care and be safe!
Welcome to the BLOG.
Some random musings today...
New jobs coming to the region. Since the start of the new year there have been five-announcements.
40 - Canatal in Botetourt County
125 - United Healthcare in Roanoke
200 - Freight Car America in Roanoke
177 - JCrew in Lynchburg
95 - Dynax in Botetourt County
That's more than 630 jobs. A good start, but still a ways to go. So many people are hurting.
Do all these jobs mean a turn around to the economic slump we've been experiencing? Beth Doughty, Executive Director of the Roanoke Regional Partnership, says not necessarily. Doughty says these new jobs are great, but the real indicators of a turn-around will be a shift in the housing market and taxable sales (which makes sense, since people who aren't in dire straits, tend to have a little extra to spend. I will say - I went to the mall the other week and there were TONS of people there, so maybe that's an indicator too?)
If you do have a little extra income - it has probably been going toward your gas tank. Friday- gas prices jumped. I paid $3.12 a gallon. My little car, which usually costs about $35 to fill up, took $45- easy! Oh, did I mention that was "regular"?
Earlier in the month, I did a story on gas prices. A behavioral economist with Virginia Tech said get used to prices being about 3-bucks, and oh- $4 a gallon wasn't beyond the realm of possibility. THAT was BEFORE the Libya situation. Now, all bets are off. (As I mentioned to a friend after the recent U.N. vote, when China votes for sanctions against you, you know you're in trouble!)
And, last but not least- News7 has been exposed to H1N1. Everyone has wiped down their desks and the infected employee is being treated, but you know the power of suggestion.. well, I'm already feeling sick! The infected employee has assured me, my scratchy throat isn't one of his symptoms, but still - a hypochondriac like me .. well, let's say I'm a little worried. :/
Okay, I'm leaving a little early today to ward off any illness.. have a great week! BE SAFE!
p.s. News7 has a softball team! haha ~ Think Bad News Bears comes to a t.v. station. :) more in next blog entry!
When is enough, enough?
A question I seem to be asking a lot lately, but especially when I made a recent visit to the library.
I like the library. I like books. Where else can I read all the books I want, take them home with me, and not pay a cent for them? Yes, I'm grateful to the library and its services.
BUT, I'm not grateful for the people who take their cell phones into the library and then proceed to talk on them.
?????? Did I miss something?????? Isn't the library a place for quiet? Where hushed voices are the norm? and expected?? ... Apparently not.
On a recent visit I was perusing the stacks when I heard the all too familiar tone of a cell phone. After checking to make sure it wasn't mine (..it wasn't), I continued my perusing. Unfortunately, the owner of said cell phone didn't do the same. She picked up her phone and started talking. For about 5-minutes. In a regular voice.
Frankly, I found it rude. VERY. RUDE.
Listen, I understand if it was emergency. If Grandma was in the hospital or someone's having a baby. This was NOT one of those times. (believe me, I heard nearly all the conversation and it was very mundane.)
I'm not above it, believe me. I use my cell way too much. BUT, there are places it doesn't belong. I'm going to be the first to cast my vote for no cells in the library. And please, put the thing on vibrate. Libraries were once a place of quiet reflection and solitude - let's return to those days!
p.s. If you are talking in the library (or elsewhere) I probably can't help but listen -and JUDGE! .... So, you've been warned.
Here's hoping your days aren't interrupted with the ring of a cell phone! :) Take Care & be safe!
How much "government" should be in your life?
When I stop to think about it - it seems like a lot of the issues this time of year stem from that question and people's beliefs as to the answer.
The General Assembly is back in session. And, with it, the excitement (?) that goes along with the democratic progress. Frankly, I don't envy our elected officials one bit. Trying to please everyone is a nearly IMPOSSIBLE task. Of course, we hear how times are tight and our legislature will be working with less money (aren't we all..) The issues? Well, they are vast (..but here are a few..) - PBS funding, the HPV shot, VA developing its own money - oh, and don't forget about the old favorites - transportation, school funding and infrastructure. How do we know where the money should go? What should be our priority? (..because it's doubtful everyone has the same priority list.) Alas my friends, I do not know (or maybe we should fund only MY priority list and let the others eat cake! NO-NO- I jest. I jest :) The process can be convoluted and stressful, but I truly believe it's the best one going. Unfortunately, I also believe tough decisions are on the horizon which won't sit well with everyone. (wow, it's like I'm a fortunate teller over here) As my dad used to tell me - there's a difference between a "want" and a "need."
It's often said - never bring up politics and religion in mixed company. It's sure to start a fight. Ahhh, so true. Tempers flared in Giles County this week as parents asked the school board to replace "The Ten Commandments" in schools. As a news viewer, I was surprised. I didn't know the 10 Commandments were even in schools. Well, they are once again in Giles County schools. So, here's the question- should parents/students have the expectation that this document be in their public schools? Isn't it the parents' responsibility to present this document/ideology to their children? What about students who are atheists or whose religions don't cover these bases? FLIP SIDE: We hear "separation of church and state" - but really, how separate is it (it says "In God We Trust" -on our money)? Is it a bad thing to have a list reminding people of societal norms hanging about? What is the list hurting? - especially in a community like Giles that wants the document to shown in the schools?
I haven't seen the list in awhile. So, I'll leave on that note this week - do with it what you will.
Some may not really pertain to modern times, (coveting an ox) but you certainly get the gist of it.
The Ten Commandments
1. 'You shall have no other gods before Me.'
2. 'You shall not make for yourself a carved image--any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.'
3. 'You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.'
4. 'Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.'
5. 'Honor your father and your mother.'
6. 'You shall not murder.'
7. 'You shall not commit adultery.'
8. 'You shall not steal.'
9. 'You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.'
10. 'You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's.'
Take Care & be good to one another! ~sjb
Sometimes I get a chance to be a news observer, instead of a news reporter. This weekend I sat watching continuous coverage of the Arizona shooting. I'm sure you're familiar with the the case - Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head. I sat there for hours as both CNN and Fox News reported that Giffords was dead. Headline News even had a friend of the Congresswoman on the phone talking about what a dear friend she was. Then, as it sometimes happens on Saturdays & Sundays, I fell asleep. For hours (I get up at 4:30a to anchor the a.m. show, so give me a little break :). Anywho, when I woke up- Giffords was alive. (medical marvel? argument for news operations to hold off before reporting info? that's up to you to decide.. )
While I find myself getting annoyed with our society rather often, I will say -I'm never more PROUD of us than in the wake of a tragedy. It seems we always rise to the occasion and come together when its important. I like to compare it to a family. You might be upset & say something about your mom/brother/sister/whoever, but the first time someone else says something about one of those folks -WATCH OUT!
A 22-year-old suspect has been arrested. Already tales of his previous outbursts have been reported. I'm sure calls for gun control, more security and mental health evaluations will be made. I'm not sure what's the answer, though I wonder if all these places that dealt with him years ago- ever reported him? What about the parents? School administrators? Court system? I'm sure this info will come out -sooner rather than later. News7 & the CBS Evening News will keep you updated.
In other news, I was working on a blog this weekend (before the Tucson shooting) - thought I'd share that as well.
Things that make me go hmmmmm....
-In Salem this week, a young man was found guilty in connection to the death of his best friend. He is going to prison for 3-years. In a separate case - another young man was sentenced to 15-years for a crime spree that included a home invasion. No deaths there.
-Huck Finn's getting a re-write. Nothing new- the book, written in the 1800s, has been deemed "offensive" for sometime due to the use of "the N-word." The more than 200-instances of "the word" -will now be replaced with "slave." In other news, during a recent visit to Thomas Jefferson's Monticello - I learned the slave quarters aren't called that. Instead, a plaque informs visitors 'This is where Monticello's "dependencies" were housed... ' Is "dependencies" the new word for "slaves"?
Some changes here at your hometown station. My dear friend and our 10 & 11 p.m. anchor, Natasha Ryan has left channel 7 for a job in Seattle. While change is common in the news business, it doesn't make it any easier. I know I will miss Natasha tremendously! But, what's making the transition easier - is the position has been taken over by one of my "besties" Hollani Davis. Beside being a wonderful person, Hollani's a top-notch journalist who has been a fixture on the weekend's as anchor of the 6 & 11. I know it will be a PERFECT fit! CONGRATS HOLLANI!!!
(p.s. Several of you have asked why I didn't get Tash's job. Honestly, I didn't even apply! I wasn't interested in working the evening shift -not my thing! You know the old saying - if ain't broke, don't fix it! :) Instead you can continue to watch me anchor News7 Saturday & Sunday mornings & see my reports Monday -Wednesday :)
On that note & in the wake of everything, let's try to be a little more patient with each other. Think twice (and then maybe a few more times after that) if you want to act out.
Hang in there!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! HERE'S HOPING YOUR 2011 IS GETTING OFF TO A GREAT START! :)
The first blog of the new year is going to focus on the U.S. Military. Before I begin my rant (....errrr, blog) I'll preface this by saying I've NEVER been in the military. BUT, my brother was a reservist who served in Afghanistan. I THANK GOD EVERYDAY he returned safe and sound. When he was called up- I was physically sick. I cried. Imagined the worse case scenarios. Every Afghanistan bombing put me on edge. I know what I went through as a family member, but I can't even imagine what our servicemen & women deal with. If I had to guess- well, I imagine it's what I felt times a BILLION. Okay, that said..
Right now, the captain and crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise is coming underfire for a video they shot back in 2006 & 2007. As of today- Captain Owen Honors is expected to be relieved of his post and reassigned. OKAY, WHY????? From what I've seen of the video, it's a group of folks "cutting up," having fun. It's silly. It's edgy. It's ADULT-humor. Why aren't these people who were/are under a constant stress of war, allowed to "goof off" in their short amount of downtime and have a little fun? ... a chance to forget that they're putting their lives on the line? .. that they could die? ..that their friends and fellow servicemember HAVE died?????? Really, I don't get it. Is *THIS* the *BIGGEST* issue our country's facing????? Realllyyyyyyyy????? (Folks, I'm here to tell you the U.S. has MUCH BIGGER problems!)
Counterpoint- Kim McBroom and Hollani Davis have weighed in. They think it was out of line and inappropriate. (of course when our producer Thom Brewer pointed out that many of our newsroom jokes could be taken out of context - both agreed. Though Kim pointed out we were smart enough not to tape them!!! hahahaha TRUE, TRUE! :)
The ladies make excellent points, and certainly, I DON'T condone racist or sexist behavior or gay bashing. (I can't say these things occurred since I haven't seen the UN-edited version of the tape, but I'm just putting that disclaimer out there.) I guess the bottom-line goes back to something we've talked about before- be careful what you put out there (esp. if it's recorded!) and take into account other people's feelings.
Since I've designated this "the military blog" - might as well talk about the recent repeal of "don't ask, don't tell." I never understood that rule. Did the U.S. military think that gay soldiers would want to dress in pink, with pink neckerchiefs, and sashay around the battlefield????? That's a horrible stereotype. Gay people don't act like that. You would never know most gay people were gay, UNLESS they told you. Oh, and just because someone's gay doesn't mean they're going to attack/hit on/flirt with every available person in their unit. For example, I'm straight. I don't hit on every guy I see!
Just something to ponder...
Anywho, I'm heading out. Have a great day!
And, let's be tolerant of one another- PLEASE! (...or I'll do a blog on you! haha)
Merry belated Christmas!!! And, while I'm at it- Happy Early New Year!
Hope everyone had a great holiday (and hey, if you don't celebrate, I hope you enjoyed a movie & Chinese food! :)
I actually had the week off leading into Christmas. Got a chance to visit former 'DBJ-er Rachel DePompa in Richmond and then made my way to Maryland. Let's just say - I put more than enough miles on my little car! The visit was wonderful, got tons of presents and ate for days - all in all, PERFECT!
All those dreaming of a "white" Christmas were rewarded with just that- the snow started falling in MD early, then tappered off. When I left my parents' in the late afternoon -there was nary a flake. Not the case when I got to the Raphine area of Rockbridge County. The snow was falling and didn't stop. As I traveled through Rockbridge and Botetourt Counties - 81 was so bad I couldn't even see the lines on road (they were snow covered.) I made it home without incident & thankfully didn't see any accidents either.
The storm seemed to disappear fast- at least in Roanoke. But, high winds pushed that snow in Roanoke and Floyd Counties. It's nothing new for the people there. They're used to dealing with high snow drifts blocking the roadways (especially in the Bent Mountain area.) I will say - I saw a constantly stream of plows running through that area, but WOW- if you have a car, I imagine that section of road is a NIGHTMARE!
What else is going on? Well, truthfully- NOTHING. For some reason, this is an especially SLOW time of the year. I think it's because everyone's off. Maybe they're saving all their "new" news for the "new" year? Needless to say, I feel like I'm scrambling to put things together over here! haha
One thing News7 always does is "the top stories of the year." Since we're channel 7, we do "7." They're voted on by reporters and online visitors like you- and then, unveiled each night of the week going into New Year's day. I'll give you a sneak peek (even though today/Tuesday we're only on #5) -Wednesday's story is Aveion Lewis. That's one of the stories I spent a lot of time on this year. Do you remember the case? A Roanoke 2-year-old goes missing. The stepdad claims the child was kidnapped. About a week later, the police say 'dad' admitted there were never any kidnappers, the child was dead long before 911 was ever called. That sweet baby's body was found two-weeks after the initial report went out that he was "kidnapped." DISCARDED. IN A LANDFILL. This is definitely a story that really affected me this year. I talked with that family repeatedly. They told me things on the phone, essentially- things that turned out to be lies. The hardest stories to cover (for me, anyway.. ) are ones where children are hurt or killed. Maybe it's because they're innocent and defenseless. Regardless, I hope that little baby gets more peace in heaven than he ever got here. The wrap up of the case and where it is at this point- airs Wednesday night.
On that note- lets all pledge to be a little nicer to each other in the new year. I think we have it in us.
The focus here in the newsroom - Brittany Mae Smith.
The 12-year-old is missing. Her mother was found dead. Police believe the pre-teen is with her mom's live-in boyfriend, Jeffrey Easley.
As Police Chief Ray Lavinder said in a morning press conference, "they've dropped off the face of the earth."
The last known sighting of the two happened around 8:30 Friday night as they left the Salem Walmart. Mom- Tina Dyer Smith was found dead Monday morning in her Roanoke County home when she didn't report to work.
According to reports, Smith met Easley online this summer. He moved-in in October.
That's what we know for sure. Everything outside of that is conjecture- and boy, there's a lot of that going on. We're hypothesizing, speculating and theorizing over here. Obviously, you won't see that on News7, but believe me -we all have hunches as to what may have happened.
The bottom-line, people aren't always who they say they are. Please be careful who you invite into your life - and thus, your family's life.
That being said, you're asked to alert police if you see a Silver 2005 Dodge Neon with a rear spoiler with VA tags: XKF-2365.
If you have any information about Brittany Smith or Jeff Easley you can e-mail: email@example.com or call Roanoke County Police: 540-562-3265
Here's hoping my next blog details the safe return of this little girl.
The Blog-horich has been a ghost-town lately. Sorry folks. I start a blog, get working on a few stories, and before you know it- my new news is old news. Ahhhhh, anyway, I figured I'd give my old entry some airtime and then move onto "new business"..
(I've been trying out titles, let see how they go this week.. ;) hehe)
Free to be you and me... as long as it's PC
Like a lot of companies - your hometown station is reminding its employees of proper in-house conduct.
No biggie, right? Until you realize I work in a newsroom. I think I've told you some of the intricacies of a newsroom- it's fast paced & usually exciting. Many people are involved in the production before it goes across the airwaves - leaving many chances for mistakes. Tempers can, and do, flare accompanied with all the adult-language that may go with it. Just like many people who work with horrible scenes and can't really process them - there's a different sense of humor that some might view as macabre. The newsroom's NOT for kids, the thin-skinned or those without a sense of humor and the ability to let things roll off their backs.
Of course, I understand why companies do this- they have to cover their proverbial butts. In this highly litigious society, you can't be too careful.
Remember a few years ago when some co-workers were recounting an episode of "Seinfeld," a passing co-worker heard a piece of the conversation and reported them? (this is the type of random tidbit I remember, but then I can remember to pick up my dry cleaning, go figure!) I'm sorry, THAT'S ridiculous to me- REALLLLLYYYYYY??? I completely understand if racist or sexually offensive comments are being made. They shouldn't be. They're wrong. But, in the case of the t.v. show - isn't TOLERANCE a two-way street?
**** since I initially wrote this post, I've attended & survived sensitivity training. I think it would be safe to say I'm back to terrorizing my co-workers. hehe ~sjb :)
But, what about dinner?
Air travelers are getting a bit more than they bargained for... some are getting felt-up (or down) in the name of air safety. Yes, I can hear many of you now, "Susan, what are you talking about?!?!?!" New body scans are becoming the norm at airports across the country. Some folks are saying "no" (the scanner reportedly emits a small dose of radiation.) While that "no" maybe within your rights, be prepared to "yes" to a pat down.
So, what are we dealing with here? The full-body scan reveals an image of what's under the clothes- while the pat down actually touches the body. The scan is viewed in a separate area and results are supposed to be erased (though, federal authorities are investigating a case in Florida where it found that more than 35,000 images were NOT erased.) The outcry concerns privacy and personal space. Some say- 'This is the world we live in. Que Sera, Sera.' Others say 'Enough's enough. I have rights.'
I visited the Roanoke Regional Airport on Tuesday to see where local travelers fall on the issue. (FYI - Roanoke uses an x-ray machine. TSA agents search your bags by hand.) I will tell you- from my random sampling, it seems the women have a bigger problem with it then men. In fact, most of the guys joked- "Ohhhhhh, bring it on!" (sorry fellas, your pat downs are done by a GUY (& ladies by ladies.) One woman was running to avoid her flight, but told me off-camera, "Nobody's touching my tits or a--!" It's a sentiment echoed by many. Many pilots and airline personnel have come out against the scan. And, in fact, since I did the story earlier this week - the TSA has lifted some of the regulations against pilots. Some groups around the nation are calling for passengers to boycott the scans the day before Thanksgiving (as we all know, a super-busy travel day.. )
Ok, we all know since 9-11, air travel has changed. No one wants to be a victim of an air catastrophe or our loved ones to be hurt or killed because of a terrorist. Yes, terrorism is real (and as we saw the other week, alive & well.. ) But, how much is TOO much? I guess my question is more about the people who enforce these rules- the TSA. According to its website, to become a TSA agent you have to possess the following: proof of U.S. citizenship, high school diploma, GED or equivalent; OR At least one year of full-time work experience in security work or aviation screener work; or with x-ray technician work. Is this TOO much power to be putting in these people's hands???
Looking for something to do. I've recently discovered a couple of websites I'm LOVING right now. Thought I'd share- ENJOY! :)
(free food & workout diary. see how many calories you're actually using & eating a day.)
(Seinfeld's wife has short videos how to prepare & serve healthy & easy meals.)
(self-explanatory- COUPONS = saving $$$$ :)
Thanksgiving is on Thursday. Believe me, I know- I'm extremely blessed/lucky/fortunate to have the family I do & that I'll be able to celebrate with them.
Remember even if you don't have the "traditional" situation, family's what you make it! HAPPY THANKSGIVING! :)
BE CAREFUL OUT THERE!!!!
The people have spoken. LOUD AND CLEAR.
We've heard for months, via polls and MOSs (-or "Man On the Street" interviews, aka- regular people's interviews), that people are fed up and feel like their voices are not being heard in Washington. Election Day 2010 - those same people delivered a one-two punch, leaving no doubt about their feelings.
Longtime incumbents, like 9th district Democrat Rick Boucher, fell.
Tuesday, I was covering Republican Morgan Griffith. The atmosphere at the Bristol gathering was party-like (to say the least.) The numbers started coming in soon after the polls closed at 7p.m. ... and once they started, the avalanche was quick and furious.
Many in the media, who had been following the race, thought it would be close, going late into the night- with Boucher eventually coming out on top (hey, he has held off challengers for 28yrs, it wasn't beyond the realm of possibly...) Boy, we couldn't have been more wrong.
The Associated Press called the race early. The excitement that had been simmering under the surface, exploded into a frenzy. By 9:15, Griffith was taking the stage to address the crowd and declare victory.
While it's a party for the supporters, it's a busy and hectic night for reporters. In the early hours (think: News7 at 5 & 6), we're giving viewers an update on the candidate's last minute campaigning, the preps on the party's upcoming celebration (or not) and any upcoming information. Easy, but boring. As the night goes on- things get HOPPING! We're trying to talk to all the players, do live updates on returns and prepare for the later shows (think: My19 at 10 & News7 at 11) Factor into that- technology that can be hit or miss, satellites that are overloaded with reporters around the country trying to do the same things we are... and - it's controlled chaos. Ok- maybe just CHAOS!
I'm not going to lie, I LOVE IT!!!
Yes, I love it. Knowing you cranked it out in a limited amount of time is exciting (haha- welcome to news!) and witnessing a bit of history is a charge. I could be interviewing the next President of the United States!!!! (hey, you never know!)
It's just cool watching the process in action... now, we get to witness what's next!!!
That's the best way to describe this case.
I'm sure that's a common denominator for the friends and family of the defendant and the victim in every court case, but as a spectator, some seem more devastating than others.
In this case, Sam Hale is accused of murdering his best friend, Josh McCoy. The 20-somethings had been BFFs since they were in preschool. They played sports together, went to school together (including college), went to church together, lived together, even worked together... And in January, the young men who were described in court as inseparable, were separated by death.
The two had gone downtown with some friends. Drinks were had. Then, according to court testimony, Josh learned someone had hurt someone close to him and he wanted to settle the score.* He (McCoy) was drunk and angry. Hale told officers he was trying to reason with his friend and stop his roommate from getting behind the wheel of the car.
The first part everyone can pretty much agree on.. Josh McCoy was stabbed in the neck. Sam Hale calls 911 begging for help. A paramedic shows up. He later testifies Josh's breathing was labored - 8 breaths per minute. McCoy is taken to the hospital and eventually pronounced dead. Sam Hale is charged with murder.
But from there- the story gets confusing. In a taped interview- Sam Hale is seen telling police a shard of glass from a window pierced his friend's neck. Hours later, he admits a steak knife he had picked up from the kitchen had done the damage.
Long-short- these families, that used to do things together and be close- have been fractured. There are no winners. One family has lost their son forever. Another, is most likely about to lose their son for decades. Sam Hale faces 20-years to life in prison. But, no sentence or punishment against Hale will bring Josh McCoy back. McCoy will never walk down the aisle with a sweetheart, have babies to carry on the family name or take care of his parents in old age. I'm sure neither of these young men imagined one night would have such an impact on their lives.
A jury is set to decide Hale's fate at the end of the week. News7 will keep you updated. In the meantime, tell your friends and family you love them, you never know how your day will turn out...
*this sentence was intentionally vague to protect the McCoy friend.
Greetings blogging friends!
Not much to report today- except one thing: GNATS. Yes, GNATS! (ok, maybe they're fruit flies, but either way.. ) Turns out one of my colleagues left a banana rotting in a bag under his desk, thus these annoying little flies. Well, to combat this problem- another one of my resourceful co-workers went online to look for a solution- it includes apple cider vinegar. Needless to say, the newsroom is RIPE! :) But, AMAZINGLY- the vinegar seems to be working. I'll let you know how it goes..
Have you been enjoying these great temperatures? You know before too long we'll be breaking out those winter coats and wondering if snow will wreck our plans. :)
So, instead of waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak, some friends & I went to the pumpkin patch this weekend. It was a little nippy, but fun was had by all! (and by the way -at 10-dollars a head, those folks are cleaning up!!! There were 100s of people there- hellloo, agribusiness! :) Anywho, here are some pics from our visit - you might recognize Natasha Ryan and Justin McLeod from here at News7. My fav part- the PUMPKIN BLASTER!!! hahaha AWESOME! :)
Take Care & Be Safe Out there!!!
Have we become a nation of sissies? At the very least, have we become a nation of the hyper-sensitive where any little thing is bound to set us off?
Last week I wrote about bullying. About being sensitive of others' feelings. About being tolerant.
Now, let's flip the coin.
Are we too sensitive? Do we wear our hearts/feelings on our sleeves? Do we need to toughen up?
Just the last week, Anderson Cooper led the charge to pull a movie trailer that used the word "gay." In the trailer, actor Vince Vaughn says to an idea- "that's so gay." GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios says, "The use of the word gay in this trailer as a slur is unnecessary and does nothing more than send a message of intolerance about our community to viewers."
I guess part of me says yes (we're too sensitive), because plenty of people call in asking News7 to do stories on things that may not have been stories 5-years ago.
I was interested in what people thought, so I performed a completely UN-scientific poll of facebook followers. Here's what they said:
Bill: I think the Tea Party and Republicans, with their zero tolerance with race, homosexuals, and the almighty greed, is causing America to become hostile, and mad towards their fellow man.
Lori: I am totally with Bill.. I could not have said it better myself.. Great Job..
Sean: Agrees with Bill, but is going to remove the Republican factor and blame the hostile, ill advised take over of that party by the Tea Party. Hopefully someone will announce last call and closing time to their 'party' sooner rather than later.
Amanda: MORE SENSITIVE and more passive aggressive which only leads to an increase in sensitivity.
Chad: I believe it to be split down the middle. Some are more sensitive and others (agree with Bill) more hostile. Whatever way you have gone its extreme and not a small shift
Jesse: like everything, probably somewhere in the middle
Rick: I'm thinking over sensitive ........ i myself just don't care.
Hmmmmm, so what can we do? I'll be the first to admit I'm not very an overly sensitive person and I can be insensitive on occasion. (I tend to think of it as blatant honesty or being a straight-shooter. I find it's more of a Northern trait.) So maybe I'm not the best person to make suggestions, but I'm open to others'. Any thoughts?
OH, before I leave today- how AMAZING is the Chilean miner rescue???? As I wrap this up- 27 miners have been safely rescued. I was watching as the first miner was rescued last night- and well, truthfully, I BAWLED like a baby!!! :) I'm hoping the remaining 6-miners are rescued without incident :)
Take Care & Be Safe!!
BULLYING. Nothing new. A problem that kids have dealt with, seemingly, since the dawn of time. But, it has taking an extreme new turn with the advent of social networking and texting. Recently, a Rutgers' freshman jumped to his death after prosecutors say two-fellow students recorded him having set with a man and then rebroadcasting it. Local schools are doing what they can to keep the problem from getting to that point, but the fact remains, bullying happens.
In a survey earlier this year, 45% of Roanoke County middle and high school students admitted they had been bullied. The school says guidance counselors & teachers are trained to spot the signs of bullying, but that's not the only thing they're doing to keep the problem in check. There's education for parents & students and this year a new initiative called, "Rachel's Challenge," named for the first victim of the '99 Columbine school shooting. Roanoke City, Salem & Botetourt County schools are also on board.
One of the first things the program pushes is tolerance. Instead of giving someone a first or second chance, give them a 5th or 6th chance.
Some might say,'hey- I've never bullied anyone.' But by just standing by and watching bullying take place, it's just as bad. The program pushes for an end to that bystander-mentality.
I know it has been a while since I've been in high school, but thinking back - I don't remember any real bullying. Does it mean there wasn't any? Definitely not. I do wonder how realistic giving someone 5 or 6 chances really is... Bottomline, we're not all going to like each other. You're not going to like everyone and everyone's not going to like you. But, instead of terrorizing someone, why can't you walk the other way? High school is tough. No one wants to be different. As you grow older, all you want to do is be different! (Ironic, I know!) The hope I can offer the bullied is - it will get better. You'll eventually get out of high school and be able to embrace everything that makes you unique. As for the bullies out there, remember the kid you're picking on today, may be the Bill Gates of tomorrow. And frankly, would you want to be responsible for pushing someone so far they hurt themselves or someone else? - I hope not.
So, here's to a little more patience & acceptance...