Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pain in the Axle

I got into my car the other day and felt a strange tug as I started to back up. There was also a strange noise. I raised the hood and noticed that the power steering fluid tank was empty...bone-dry. I poured in a $3.79 bottle of the stuff and tried it out. No more tug and no more noise.

I forgot all about it, but then it happened again about two-days later. A mechanic friend checked it and told me that there is CV boot torn on the axle. He checked a little deeper and found that a little valve on the rack and pinion steering mechanism was leaking. He said it may be a casualty of the February Freeze. Those big chunks of ice may have torn the rubber boot and allowed the dirty snow, ice and slush to damage the little valve.

Nobody fixes the little valve. They replace the whole thing. Bottom line...about $600 bucks. That's not really how I wanted to spend $600 bucks, but my car is paid for...so it will have to be done. I guess it could have been worse. I could have wrapped it around a telephone pole or something.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Tragic Shooting Hits Close to Home

If you’ve followed coverage of the Sayles Boulevard shooting, then you’ve likely seen or read reports that the victim’s mother works for KTAB-KRBC. Sari David, mother of Austin David, is a longtime employee of the stations.

In some ways, you could call Sari an unofficial member of the newsroom. Though she works in sales, it’s not uncommon for her to stop by to give a news tip, suggest an angle for a story, or mention something she thinks would add to our coverage. Like many of us, you could call Sari a newshound.

As you can imagine, it was quite difficult for our reporters and photographers to do their jobs on the afternoon of February 9 while watching a co-worker break down after driving up on the scene of her son’s death. I admire their professionalism throughout the process. The same goes for everyone back at the station who had to organize the breaking information while struggling with what had happened to one of their peers. While our hearts our heavy for a mother who lost her son, it’s our obligation to threat this situation just as we would any other story.

It’s our job not to have an opinion; it’s our job to relay information. As journalists, we allow law enforcement, jurors, and judges to make decisions on who is wrong and right. Some have noted that we couldn’t possibly be unbiased in our reporting on this case. I can understand why someone would say that. However, I can assure you everyone that we’ve gone out of our way to be as fair and balanced as possible. We did everything possible to treat this as any other story.

That being said, I think we could all agree this is a tragic situation for our community. No matter the circumstances, no one wants an argument in broad daylight to end in gunfire….no one wants a mother to lose her son….no one wants two young children to lose their father.

A number of us from the station attended Austin’s memorial service Saturday to show our support for Sari and the David family. While the service was full of emotional and touching tributes to the 21-year-old father, there’s one stirring moment that stuck out to me.

During a portion of the service where friends and family were invited to share stories and memories of Austin, an older gentleman walked up to the podium. He was a complete stranger to everyone in the room. The man told a story about a recent flat tire that he was struggling to change by himself in a grocery store parking lot. He watched as car after car drove by. One person, Austin David, pulled up and offered a hand. “You’re too young to be jacking up that car by yourself,” he said as he offered to do the job for the stranger.

After hearing of the shooting and recognizing Austin, the older man said he wanted to attend the funeral as a way of saying “thank you” to the young man who was the only person to “love his neighbor as himself” that day. He encouraged everyone there to do the same.

After the service, the man went up to the David family and apologized just in case he intruded. Not hardly, Sari said. It turned out to be a beautiful tribute.

As I reflect on the moment, it certainly raises some questions for me. Have I gone out of my way to help a neighbor in need? Would a complete stranger come to my funeral?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Ochocinco Hearts Me: The Super Bowl Experience

Even though they've been preparing for it their whole lives, the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers didn't learn they'd be going to Super Bowl XLV until just over 2 weeks ago. I, on the other hand, have decidedly not been preparing for such an occurrence my whole life. However, I learned well in advance that I'd be going to the big game.

I was asked to accompany a crew from other Nexstar stations across the country for team coverage of north Texas' first (and last?) Super Bowl. What would I be doing? Who cares... it's the Super Bowl. I said yes.

So even as the week of the game got closer, and the prospect of the region's worst winter storm in a decade and a half loomed, it was still the Super Bowl, and I was going. But whatever vision I had of a Super Bowl experience was erased very quickly, and replaced by a series of strange events.

I left Abilene the Monday before the game, which was one night before Media Day, which has become the biggest circus this side of Barnum & Bailey. I was especially looking forward to this, because the freaks are out in full force, and it just keeps getting weirder every year. Needless to say, it's my scene.

It was not to be.

My plan was to stop over for the night at my best friend's apartment in Denton, about 30ish miles from JerryWorld. Thanks to the aforementioned snowpocalypse, that brief stopover became a 2 and a half day stay. With roads looking and feeling more like ice rinks, and a wind chill in the negative teens, my goal was not to get to the Super Bowl, but to avoid becoming an icicle. My days consisted of coordinating with dozens of Nexstar stations, getting in touch with the crews already at the game, and playing video games. What else was I gonna do??

After the roads FINALLY became safe-ish for travel on Thursday, and after getting my car unstuck from a parking lot, it was off to the Sheraton Dallas for credential pickup and then straight to Cowboys Stadium. Though I would get my chance to witness the glitz and glamour of Super Bowl week later, the night was all about standing in the freezing cold and wind with the live crew from WROC in Rochester, New York. Sports Director John Kucko did nearly 20 live shots, including one with yours truly. This was to be our routine for Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and post-game Sunday. And although it did start to warm up a tiny bit on Saturday, it was still the coldest I've EVER been, and ever hope to be.

But Friday made up for all that.

Radio Row is the place to be for celebrity gazing at the Super Bowl. In addition to all the big national media figures, for radio, TV, and print, the place was crawling with NFL players past and present, as well as celebrities. Name dropping would be stupid, because I am not cool enough to get to "meet" any of the famous people, but I got to be in their presence, which is plenty for me (You can see my experience here). Oh, and Chad Ochocinco said "I love you" to me. Still don't know how to feel about that.

Gameday was an entirely different experience; security was tighter, walks were longer, crowds were enormous-er, and EVERYBODY was wearing either green and gold or black and yellow. But aside from running into Owen Wilson in the stairwell under the stadium (NAME DROP), my experience was probably not much different than yours; I ate a hot dog and watched the game on TV. Perhaps there was one difference: my room was across the hall from the Steelers' locker room.

I may never return to the Super Bowl. If I don't, that's more than okay. I had plenty of awesome experiences just being near the game (I'm sure I'm leaving tons out), and I did my best to soak it all in. I probably made everyone I know sick to death of hearing about it...

But who cares. It's the Super Bowl.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Big Game Allows Student to Mingle with A-Listers

The following blog was submitted by Chris Kellerman at the request of his brother Austin Kellerman, KTAB-KRBC News Director. On Friday, February 4, he ended up at a Super Bowl party with A-Listers. Here's how it all went down:

Dallas has turned into party central with the Super Bowl in town, and for a couple hours Friday night, I got the unlikely chance to experience it. A friend of mine, who happens to be a Catholic priest, invited me to join him at the Audi Forum cocktail party at the Rachofsky House in Dallas. His parents won the invitation in a silent auction and gave it to him—so we were not only lucky to be there, but totally out of our league!

After parking valet (fancy!), we stepped into the house and took glasses of champagne as Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore walked by. The DJ was playing great music, the food was great, and the venue was beautiful. We chatted briefly with “Glee” star Chord Overstreet and teen sensation Nick Jonas before getting to meet one of my all-time favorite pop stars—Justin Timberlake. We apologized for the bad weather in Dallas and told him we were rooting for “The Social Network” at the Oscars!

After talking to Justin, we turned around and, lo and behold, there was ex-Ranger (and yes, current New York Yankee) Mark Teixeira. Though all I wanted to ask him was how he felt after we whooped their butts in the ALCS, I managed to be polite. He told us, “Good luck this season.” You too, Mark. You’re going to need it.

A few minutes later, another “Glee” star—Matthew Morrison—strolled into the room with Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and his fiancĂ©e, Candice Crawford. Candice’s brother, “Gossip Girl” star Chace Crawford, accompanied them. We talked to all of them, and told Tony we couldn’t wait to see him back on the field.

After all the celebrities had left, we headed back to the valet and spotted Heisman winner Cam Newton along the way. We also heard that actor Hugh Jackman and supermodel Marisa Miller were in attendance, though we didn’t see them.

It was a pretty weird feeling to be drinking champagne with A-list stars and athletes. Heck, I’m just a grad student! I can’t imagine it being something I’ll experience again. But I’m glad I did.

Really, though? Did Teixeira have to be there?

Oh well. At least it wasn’t A-Rod.

Submitted by Chris Kellerman

Thursday, February 3, 2011

End Times: Are We in Them & Can We Predict When It Will Happen?

Tonight (Thursday) there is a story focusing on "The End Times" aka "Judgement Day."

I have my personal beliefs, which I will decline to share at this time, but I sought out many perspectives for this story.

We've become familiar with predictions ranging from the end of the winter solstice (The Mayan Calendar Theory), to Nostradamus, even the predictions from local sect leader, Yisrayl Hawkins.

This is a topic that consumes many minds, and many people have different beliefs based on religious texts and prophecies by many others. This web site, breaks down many different theories, some that have come and gone, others that are still ahead.

Without starting a religious war, here, leave your thoughts, and please be respectful of others opinions.. Ready, Set, Comment!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

RAW Video: KRBC's Tim Johnston on Ice

You've heard of "Disney on Ice" and "The Ice Capades," now, brace yourselves for "Tim Johnston on Ice!"

He gave a preview LIVE on KRBC's Abilene Today, and now he goes further for your enjoyment.
Beware, he's not on skates, oh and it was FREEZING, so the iPhone camera work was a little shaky.. consider it shivering.