Tuesday, July 31, 2012

24 hours in STL.

This weekend I made a quick road trip to St. Louis, MO. Good Tuesday to you, Brad here, over the weekend I attended the wedding of a fellow reporter here at FOX19, Cory Stark. I’ve known Cory and his wife Sarah for a couple of years and it was great to be a part of that day. Cory is from St. Louis and is a huge Cardinals fan, so what better way to show support on his wedding day than rocking a Brandon Phillips Reds jersey at the reception! Wearing a Reds jersey in St. Louis is risky enough; add to that a fan favorite, DatDubeBP. While Cory’s sense of humor allowed him to laugh and appreciate it, some of the folks at the reception didn’t quite get it and became a little hot and confrontational. I don’t care, I love trash talking and what better venue with a Phillips jersey, than St. Louis!

I stayed downtown and had a wonderful view of the arch, the old courthouse, and Busch stadium. I’ve never seen a game in STL but I have been to a DMB show with Willie Nelson at the ball park. Rob couldn’t make that one either. The stadium is pretty cool though, all the hall of fame statues out front really hammers home what great players have worn that uniform. We walked around and enjoyed some food and beverages in the historic riverfront landing with my cousin Katie who is going to grad school at Logan College of Chiropractic. She sure showed us how they party in LOU, thanks Kate.

On the way out town, about 36 miles East of St. Louis, in Highland Illinois sits the famous Blue Springs Café. Billboards along I-70 advertise for miles, “as featured on the Food Network,” so I had to stop. While it was nothing like what I expected or even wanted, it was good, and if you are with a group I recommend it. First off, it’s family style eating. So, come hungry.

On the Menu; fried or baked chicken, livers/gizzards, fried shrimp, homemade pork sausage, country ham, chicken fried steak, catfish fillets, baked Boston scord, chicken and dumplings, BBQ chicken, flat iron steak, fried walleye, roast pork, and roast beef. All items are served with cold and cold sides of beets, homemade slaw, green beans with pork and onions, mashed potatoes and gravy, and warm flaky biscuits. Holy stuffed stomach, Batman! Are you full yet? The food was excellent and you could really taste the love in the food. The restaurant is known for its pies, “The foot-hi-pie.” These suckers are huge and come in lemon meringue, chocolate, and cream.

Despite construction delays coming back and getting no sleep Sunday, it was worth it. What a great town, for the most part friendly people and good eats. Congratulations Cory and Sarah….Oh yeah, go REDS!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Saturday Wine Lunch

Vino Anyone? Marzullo here and my fiance and I decided to take a little drive on Saturday morning and head down to Owenton Kentucky. It only took about a hour from Cincinnati and if you have never been we both highly recommend it. Located on over 500 acres of rolling hills the winery is at the intersections of Kentucky highways 227 & 330. With several estate wines with grapes grown right on property to other fantastic oak bottle wines there is a grape for every taste. We loved the Pinot Grigio and the Estate Cab Franc. You almost do not feel like your close to home while sitting on the deck and enjoying one of the many flights of wine or bottles, plus a fantastic lunch. The gourmet deli was delicious with fresh made sandwiches and salads. The Chardonnay grilled cheese was awesome. You can also make a day out of it and over to the Elk Creek Hunt Club and take your best shot. The property also includes a lodge with 19 rooms and some spa services. The bottom line, you can make a great day / date right here in our own backyard, we will defiantly be back to enjoy some concerts in the amphitheater.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Brownies and Friends: A Cautionary Tale

So you know what they say…the road to hell is paved with good intentions. That and mini marshmallows.

I wanted to surprise my friends here at FOX19 today with a sweet treat: s’more brownies. I found the recipe at Food Network.com. It seemed simple enough: make a graham cracker crust, whip up a brownie mix (I used Ghirardelli) and pop it in the oven. Okay, I got all this. The problem came when it was time to add the marshmallows on top. The recipe called for 6 minutes on low under the broiler, but cautioned to watch the marshmallows. After 4 minutes I thought, well, I can go and pick out my necklace for tomorrow. What could happen in a couple minutes?

Brownie disaster, apparently. The marshmallows caught fire! I ruined my dessert and was left fanning smoke out of my apartment with a rag. The moral of this story? Don’t treat any recipe like it’s easy when it involves an oven, and have a high-quality fire extinguisher right in the kitchen.

Just kidding  This all got me thinking, what’s important isn’t how well you bake for your friends, but that you have them to laugh with after an epic kitchen fail. I am so blessed to work here at FOX19. We mean it when we say this is a family, which makes it bittersweet when one of our young guys in production leaves for another station!

Today is the delightful Kenny Baker’s last day at FOX19. He leaves us for sunny Myrtle Beach, where he will put his Pepsodent smile to work at WMBF-TV as a reporter and producer. He makes me laugh every 5 minutes and is an absolute pleasure to everyone who works with him. Although I wish him well, I wish he could stay on a bit longer to make me giggle behind the camera. Who knows, you might be seeing him back here soon as an anchor!

So this is a cautionary tale: be vigilant with sugary baked goods, and don’t work at FOX19 unless you want to meet some extraordinary people.  Happy Friday!

- Stephanie

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tracey's Adventure

Hej Hej!

Tracey Johnson here....with my new favorite phrase from Sweden! It's how they greet you.
I sounds like hey, hey. I LOVE IT!

15 years ago, my husband and I never imagined that our children and their lives would take us on quite a journey.

How many times as a new parent are you told how children will change your life forever?
Oh, how true that is! And, oh my....what a ride it has been. Many ups and downs, never would I have changed a moment.

Three weeks ago, our 15 year old twin boys left for Europe to play soccer. So, my husband and I decided to surprise them for their tournament in Gotenburg, Sweden. I mean, any parent would do that for their children...right? :) It was the largest junior soccer tournament in the world. There were over 1700 teams from 80 countries. WOW! A CHANCE OF A LIFETIME!

The town of about a half a million is found on the west coast of Sweden. Absolutely beautiful, with some of the nicest people you'll ever meet. As a matter of fact, Kirk and I found ourselves having dinner with complete strangers, taking pictures with them and exchanging email addresses.

The shopping? Oh my! Some how I was able to find a little bit of time to do some damage in between soccer games. :)

For those of you that don't know me well, there is nothing I enjoy more in life than watching my kids do something they enjoy. And for my boys, it's soccer. Whether it be in Cincinnati, Ohio or Gotenburg, Sweden!

If you're looking for a vacation destination, I suggest Gotenburg, Sweden!

Ses senare!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Lobster Love Story

I stumbled onto a delicious destination last week.
Sheila here.

Katy Morgan and I have been taking rowing lessons out in Newtown with our buddy Pedro Palacios of No Limits Rowing. I am sure I'll blog about that sometime, but today I want to share the amazing little business upon which I stumbled when I was headed to the lake last week.

There was some road construction in Newtown, so our normal route was closed. I am so glad! Because of the detour, I discovered Lobsta Bakes of Maine. Imagine my surprise when I saw a faded little sign in front of a charming little house - it all looked like it was straight out of New England. There's no food I love more than lobster, and really, most seafood in general.

I couldn't resist, and I went inside to explore. I was greeted like I was the next door neighbor by Shauna. She showed me all of the freshly made fare in the refridgerator cases, like Chipotle Smoked Salmon Dip and authentic New England Clam Chowder. Let me tell you something. If you ever eat "chowda" IN New England, you will be hesitant to get it down this way ever again. It's just not the same. Lobsta Bakes' chowder is the real deal. Thick, creamy, full of clams, and sinfully delicious. I also ended up grabbing a homemade Maine blueberry pie and some of the best crab cakes I've ever tasted. It was a Maine feast at my house that night.

Shauna told me all about the business. If you remember the Bounty II seafood shop on the east side, then you know the guy behind the Newtown business. Kevin is the son of a fisherman, a Maine native, who relocated here to Cincinnati. Now his main focus is catering "Lobsta Bakes," New England-style lobster bakes for private parties, corporate events, swim clubs, anniversary celebrations, weddings, and backyard parties. But his little store on Church Street also flies in fresh seafood. It's open every day but Sunday, and he does public lobster bakes. Watch the website for coming events, and you can sign up for emails on what he's stocking in the store. I loved the place! http://www.lobstabakes.com/home/

My family discovered a fun place this past weekend too. My brother Jeff set up a lunch and play date for all of us at Scene75 in Dayton. It's a new indoor entertainment complex right off the interstate, just North of town. Scene75 features a 150 seat restaurant, two bars, a snack bar, an indoor electric go-kart track, these cool spinning bumper cars (pictured), black light mini golf and the biggest inflatable area in Ohio, Big Bad Bounce. It's sort of like a newer, bigger, better and more fun Jillian's - if you remember the business in an old brewery in Covington. I was surprised at how good the food is! It also has tons of games, it's a really fun way to spend a few hours on a rainy or even a too hot day.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park

Looking for something different to do with the kids before they had back to school, as summer vacation starts to come to a end, then I have a idea for you. Frank here...We had them on the FOX19 News Morning Xtra last week and if you missed it, then let me tell you about Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum in Hamilton. The address is 1763 Hamilton-Cleves Road in Hamilton. Sitting on well over 200 acres this outdoor sculpture park features sculptures and works of art from around the country and the world all in a outdoor nature setting that is a work of art in its own right. From the Abracaba, Serpentine Column, to The Cube, all ages will be amazed by the size and scope of each sculpture. You can take a driving tour and get out along the way to see them up close in person or walk the grounds. There are also several indoor areas including a 10,000 square foot Ancient Sculpture Museum, which features Egyptian, Roman, and Greek sculpture. You can check the place our year round with several different hours depending on the season, just go to Pyramidhill.org and enjoy.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Good Morning, Dan Wells writing.  I hope this note finds you well and enjoying the summer season. 

We all need a vacation right?  I did.   With that said, I hope this blog inspires you to take a quick break from the city, traffic, computer, and the grind of life itself.

I personally have a huge appreciation and love for mother nature and the “outdoors.”  I’ve camped with my Mom, Dad and siblings for 30 years....same spot, same routine...and for this guy, introducing my kids to what I consider a piece of heaven has been a joy.  

Today I’m going to share the wealth.          

Every year we head back to Pennsylvania (my home state) to be surrounded by lush forest, the Kinzua Dam and Allegheny Reservoir.

If you’re not familiar it’s the heart of one of the largest and most popular outdoor recreation areas in the northeastern United States. The Allegheny Reservoir spans the border between western Pennsylvania and New York, and offers year-round recreational opportunities including swimming, boating, camping, fishing and stunning fall foliage.

Trust me, I’ve done it all and it’s fantastic.   If you don’t mind the 7 hour drive from Cincinnati please check it out, then send me a note.   

Location / Directions:
The Allegheny Reservoir is located along the western border of Pennsylvania and New York, and is completely surrounded by the Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania; and in New York by Allegany State Park and the Allegany Indian Reservation of the Seneca Nation. The Kinzua Dam and Big Bend Visitor Center are located 9 miles east of Warren, PA, on PA 59.
Admission & Fees:
The Kinzua Dam and Allegheny Reservoir Recreation Area is free and open to the public.
What to Expect:
The 25-mile long Allegheny Reservoir is a popular haven for fishers and boaters, with scenic views and over 100 miles of forested shoreline. Nearby, plenty of great hikes, hidden spots, and scenic overlooks extend the outdoor fun.
Big Bend Overlook Visitor Center:
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers maintains a nice visitor center and picnic area just downstream of the Kinzua Dam. The visitor's center, which is open daily from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, and weekends in September and October, contains exhibits, displays and brochures which illustrate the purpose of the Kinzua Dam, and highlight recreational and sightseeing opportunities in the area. Several overlooks provide great views of the Kinzua Dam and Allegheny Reservoir.
Boating & Swimming:
The Kinzua-Wolf Run Marina and six boat launches located within the National Forest provide ready access to the Allegheny Reservoir and its rivers. There are also two swim beaches and several scenic picnic areas available for a day of fun and relaxation with family and friends. Boat rentals, including canoes, kayaks, motor boats, pontoon boats and houseboats, are available from the Kinzua Wolf Run Marina.

Camping & Cabins:
Adjacent to the Allegheny Reservoir, the Allegheny National Forest offers ten campgrounds of varying sizes and facilities, as well as primitive backwoods camping in most sections of the forest. Some campgrounds are only accessible by boat, and offer easy water access to the Allegheny Reservoir. Campgrounds in the Allegheny National Forest
Fishing is abundant in the Allegheny Reservoir, with an incredible variety of fish, including walleye, small mouth bass, northern pike, yellow perch, channel catfish, brown trout and muskellunge. A Pennsylvania license is required for fishing in the PA portion of the Allegheny Reservoir, except on PA Fish for Free days. In New York, most of the Allegheny Reservoir is under jurisdiction of the Seneca Nation, which requires its own fishing license.

ALL THE BEST and Happy Camping....(see even my girls love it.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Reds Win & So Can You!

Reds win!!!!!

Sheila here. It was great to wake up this morning to highlights of a Reds win at Great American Ball Park. I'm so glad our boys aren't letting the temporary loss of Joey Votto affect their mojo. I know how they feel. When Rob's not here on the Fox 19 Morning News, it's just not the same. There's a lot to be said for chemistry, and our Reds have captured that lightning in a bottle this season. Enquirer columnist Paul Daugherty calls the IT factor.

Whatever you call it, I'm so glad to see the lightning hasn't escaped! Johnny Cueto pitched a strong game last night for a win in front of the home crowd, and it's really important for us to keep the stands packed because even the fans can help the Reds keep their winning ways.

Tonight is Jay Bruce Bobblehead night, so get there early because you know that'll be a hot one. Only 25,000 fans will have a mini Jay for their collections.

The Reds are offering red hot promotions to get fans through the gates this weekend too. Saturday night the team is giving away a Reds Soft-Sided cooler to the first 20,000 fans, and Sunday is another Meijer Family Day. Families can save some money on a fun day together because if one family member pays full price, the rest of the clan gets in (up to 3) for half price. And this Sunday, the first 8,000 children 14 and younger get a free Kids Mini Mascot Set!

Fox 19 wants to help you get to the ball park. For the rest of this week, and all next week, you can win tickets before you go to work. Just watch the Fox 19 Morning News between 6 and 7 a.m. today, tomorrow, and Friday, and you could win four tickets to see the Reds take on the Brews this Friday night, which is also a Fireworks Friday.

And you have another chance to win next week. On July 30 and 31, and Aug. 1, 2, and 3 we’ll give away 4 tickets each day to the Friday, August 3 game as the Reds welcome the Pittsburgh Pirates for a beat-down.

It's a sensational summer here in Cincinnati! Let's help our Reds keep it sizzling!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dan Wells Was Right!!

Washington Square Park is beautiful.
Good Tuesday morning everyone.  Dan Wells reported from the park a week ago Friday.  He couldn't stop talking about how great it looked.  His words prompted me to stop by shortly after, and I was truly impressed.  It was on a weekend, and it was unbearably hot.  The park was still packed with kids, their parents, people walking their dogs.  It was so great to see.  Not too long ago, I wouldn't have even thought about stopping by Washington Park.  Not during the day.  Never at night.  I would assume many of the people who filled the park felt like me.  These days it is a much different story.  Just a few blocks away is the Gateway Quarter, filled with restaurants, nightspots, coffee houses and other thriving businesses.  There is a new restaurant opening on near the park called "The Anchor."  It will be Race Street's second restaurant.  According to the website, wine dine me, it will be a urban seafood restaurant at 14th and Race.  The owner, Derek dos Anjos moved back to town from Brooklyn where is operated a similar restaurant.
A lot of great things are happening in Over-the-Rhine.  Come check it out.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Thunder Roars, Go Indoors

The number may seem small compared to other weather related events that cause injury and death, but one death is to many. This year 11 people have been killed nationwide from lightning strikes with 2 coming this pass weekend. In Houston, Texas a group was taking part in afternoon soccer game when a storm moved in and 3 people took shelter under a tree, that is when they were struck killing 2 of them. It's another reminder how deadly lighting can be in a split second it can strike with little warning. A tree is the worst place you can take shelter, the best thing is to get indoors as quickly as possible. Now when we say indoors we do not mean a pavilion or a car port, you must be in shelter that has a roof and 4 enclosed walls. If a building is not near by then get into a car and shut the doors, also do not use any electronic devices, stay in the vehicle until the storm passes. The bottom line from the National Weather Service, is thunder roars, head indoors. Stay on top of changing weather by downloading our FOX19 Mobile App, its FREE!

Friday, July 13, 2012

It's A Shore Thing

Stephanie Here: Hi friends! Happy Friday! Hopefully you have some fun weekend plans. Hitting the pool? Headed up to Kings Island? How about the beach?
Okay, I know we’re pretty far. About 12 hours too far. But if you get the chance this summer, I’d suggest a trip to the Jersey Shore. Last weekend I was lucky enough to get away and stay at my boyfriend’s family’s house in Sea Isle City, NJ. It was such an amazing and relaxing weekend. Living in the Midwest, I don’t often get to see my family or my boyfriend’s family. But last weekend I got to see his brother and sister, their families, and his parents! I had a beach soccer match against Mike’s nephew Kyle (I got smoked by a 10-year-old), had coffee overlooking the bay with his mom Cheryl (just beautiful), and caught up on my gossip with his 8-year-old niece Lexi (I’d tell you who her current crush is but I said I wouldn’t…crossed my heart and hoped to die J). And of course what’s a trip to the shore without some seafood pasta, ice cream, and maybe a cold beer or two J
I know what you’re thinking. Soccer matches, ice cream, family fun, at the Jersey Shore? What about the drama? What about the all-night techno ragers? What about the tanned gorillas and guidettes? What about Snooki? Sorry to disappoint, but the truth is…the Jersey Shore isn’t that wild. I grew up going to the southern part of the shore outside of Philly, including Ocean City New Jersey, Cape May, and Avalon. My memories there had a lot more to do with riding the carousel than fist-pumping. So are there tacky t-shirt shops and crazy beach bars. Shore there are. But there are also a lot of fun, wholesome things to do with your family. No Orange Julius spray-tan required.
- Stephanie

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Family Roots

Have you ever wondered about your families roots? Well I think I’ve found a new hobby. Over the past week I’ve been doing a lot of online research about my grandparents, great grandparents, etc. Since my family moved most of my life, I can claim many locations as home. So, it wasn’t a big surprise to find out that my ancestors did the exact same thing… move around! (Must be in the blood). I’ve traced my family from California, to Idaho, Oklahoma, Missouri, Iowa, Indian, Ohio, Kentucky and up and down the east coast! Phew. Meanwhile, my husband’s family has very strong roots in Ohio. Which again is ironic since he was born and raised in Lima, while I moved around growing up. One of the really neat things about the websites I’ve stumbled upon are all the original documents I’ve been able see! From my grandparents marriage license in the early 1900s to a land grant signed by President Martin Van Burren given to one of my decedents. But, I think my favorite pictures so far have to be my grandmother’s nursing school photos. She was a nurse in the greater Kansas City area in the 1950s, and I just love this picture of her. It’s really neat what you can find out about your past, given all the resources available now. I encourage you to check it out!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Summer in the 'Nati: Movies, Museums, Music & MainStrasse

You've heard me say it before. I love summer in Cincinnati, and there's just no way to be bored.
Sheila here to share a few fun things I've been doing.
Monday, I took my kids and my mother out to lunch at Otto's in Covington. I adore MainStrasse Village, and what a great way to celebrate this week's break from the heat. We ate cold soup, tomato pie, and sweet potato fries at a table on the little sidewalk café. Delicious, charming, and relaxing! My husband Ric and I love a little restaurant and bar hopping in MainStrasse on weekend evenings too. All of the businesses have outdoor seating, so you can get a little something at each place and make a night of it. Take a little tour here: http://www.mainstrasse.org/

Need some family entertainment? Head to the Cincinnati Museum Center. We fought the heat by heading indoors to the Cavern and the Glacier in the Natural History Museum, and we took in the Omnimax movie, To the Artic. It's a sweet story about a family of polar bears and a good reminder of how we all need to take care of our planet. It was fun to look at snow and ice while it was 100 degrees outside. http://www.cincymuseum.org/

If you're into Disney, don't miss Brave. My 18-year-old daughter liked it as much as my 5-year-old son! Fantastic family movie.

Another must-do for summer - a Cincinnati Pops concert at Riverbend. There's nothing better than listening to the orchestra under the stars. I loved, loved, loved Ohio native Michael Feinstein's take on Sinatra hits last Saturday night. There's only one more Pops show at Riverbend, but the orchestra is also making some summer appearances at local parks. http://www.cincinnatipops.org/Home.php

And I love to read at any time of year, but summertime is ripe for good books at the Cincinnati Public Library. You still have time to sign up for the Summer Reading program and win some prizes, you can log on for suggestions on hot summer reads, books and even music downloads for your vacation, and more. Bet you didn't know you can get music for FREE from the library, and unlike books, you don't have to return the songs! You can find it all at: www.cincinnatilibrary.org

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Break From The Heat

It is about time that Mother Nature has given us a break! Last night was the first night in over a week and a half that we sat outside on the porch and enjoy the evening. It has been way to hot and humid to even do that after 11 consecutive days of 90 of better degree heat. Not only was the temperature hot but the HUMIDITY was anything but tolerable with heat index temperatures feeling more like 110 degrees on the skin. It was historic with 5 days at 100 degrees or better the last night we did that was back in 2007 but that was in August of that year. As you can see from this graphic it is very rare for us to have 3 days in a row of 100 degree heat and we did that in this latest heat wave. The good news is that we are now getting a break and that break from the heat will continue over the next several days with temperatures right where they show be in the mid-80's. The bad news still no drought buster type rain anytime soon as we stand at 4.71 inches below where we should be for precipitation for the year. So keep watering everyone but at least your staying cooler while doing it !

Friday, July 6, 2012

Keeping it Cool!

If you've seen Frank’s 7 day forecast, you know summer heat here in the Tri-State is in overdrive. 

Good Morning,  Dan Wells writing…I hope this blog finds you cool.

That’s actually the topic today. 

 I can tell you from experience standing/being outside everyday for nearly six hours in the summer heat can be no fun but for some it can also be dangerous.
So…like we do during the winter/cold season, take time to plan for prepare for this extreme weather too.

Unlike severe storms, which we often know about days before it happens, heat is much more subtle. It can creep up on you and cause some serious health problems like heat stroke and even death.
For now, it's probably wise to remind folks of the hazards triple digit temperatures bring. Even if you may know how to handle these summer rays, remember: It's our sick, elderly and children that are the most vulnerable.

So consider these tips to keep you and your loved one's safe:
  • Do less outside in summer than you do in the spring or fall.
  • Avoid outside exercise and chores during the hottest part of the day. (2 p.m. to 6 p.m.) Consider joining a gym and using the indoor pool or treadmills instead of walking/running in the heat.
  • If you do work outside, take frequent breaks and drink a lot of non-alcoholic fluids.
  • Wear light-colored, light-weight, loose-fitting clothing to help stave off the effects of the heat.
  • Eat foods high in water content, such as fruits and vegetables.
  • If you do not have air conditioning, visit the library, mall, or your church during the hottest part of the day. Find out if your local community center is open for daily visits.
  • Check on your elderly family members and neighbors during these hot spells.
  • NEVER leave a child in a vehicle, even if it is just for a minute. To help remind you your baby is in the car seat, leave your purse or diaper bag in the back seat with your child.
  • If you are outside for long periods, wear sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses to protect your eyes.
  • Finally, remember your outside pets. They need cool fresh water and shade.
Summer is in full swing and we still have many more weeks before we enjoy our fall temperatures.
So be careful as you and your family to do battle with the weather.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

One Like No Other....

The 4th of July was different for me this time around. Hi, Tracey Johnson here.

I met an amazing man that gave this holiday new meaning.

Here is how his bio reads.......
24-year Veteran of the United States Navy, United States Air Force, and Ohio Air National Guard. A graduate of the United States Naval Academy, flew the F-14 Tomcat and the F-16 Fighting Falcon. An accomplished Mission Commander and graduate of the Navy Fighter Weapons School Topgun. He flew more than 50 combat missions, made over 400 carrier landings and accumulated over 3,500 flight hours during three combat deployments to Southwest Asia, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Persian Gulf. WOW! THANK YOU JEFFERY LAY!

A man of such courage and strength. I was in awe of what he has done with his life, to follow his dream as a young boy from Maineville, Ohio, to become a fighter pilot. Oh, but there's more......

In the height of his military career, Lieutenant commander Jeffery Lay was diagnosed with an advanced form of Hodgkin's Lymphoma. His doctor said life as he knew it was over. Jeff would never climb back in the pilot seat.

As Jeff shared during my interview on the XTRA, that wasn't good enough for him. Jeff has co authored the book TOPGUN ON WALL STREET. It is on New York's Best Seller's list. Whether you like to read or not, it's worth picking up. It's a story that will inspire you. In the deepest of your valleys, it will give you hope. I don't want to give away the rest of the story. You'll just have to hurry to your nearest bookstore and look for the best seller's section....and grab TOPGUN ON WALL STREET.

I hope your 4th allowed you to thank the men and women that serve our country!

Enjoy the read!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Birthday Wish For America

Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought.
-Abraham Lincoln

Happy Independence Day! Sheila here.
I hope you don't mind indulging me a bit today for our 4th of July 'blog. I have seen a lot of things in print and on TV lately which remind me of the meaning behind America's holiday, so just stick with me here.

Rob and Frank urged me to watch a new show produced by HBO called The Newsroom. The show starts out with a network anchorman speaking to journalism students, replying to this question: "What makes America the greatest country in the world?" I won't transcribe the whole thing here, but Jeff Daniels' character delivers this response after first trying to stay objective and not take a position (because of the perception that journalists can't have opinions):

"There's absolutely no evidence to support the statement that we're the greatest country in the world. We're 7th in literacy, 27th in math, 22nd in science, 49th in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, 3rd in median household income, Number 4 in labor force and Number 4 in exports...It sure used to be. We stood up for what was right. We fought for moral reasons. We passed laws, struck down laws for moral reasons. We waged wars on poverty, not poor people. We sacrificed, we cared about our neighbors, we put our money where our mouths were, and we never beat our chests. We built great big things, made ungodly technological advances, explored the universe, cured diseases, and cultivated the world's greatest artists and the world's greatest economy. We reached for the stars, acted like men, we aspired to intelligence, we didn't belittle it, it didn't make us feel inferior. We didn't identify ourselves by who we voted for in the last election and we didn't scare so easy. We were able to be all these things and do all these things because we were informed, by great men, men who were revered...America is not the greatest country in the world anymore."

I loved that speech, and I think some of it is true. The part about American invention and imagination is priceless. And as a journalist, I love the part about great men informing us - there aren't many of them around anymore because so much of what we see in the media is designed, instead, to shock and polarize people and, quite simply, just make money for a bunch of corporate suits and stockholders who don't care about the ethics we all learned in journalism classes and our Communications Law courses in college.

But I don't agree that America's not a great country. When young men and women still sign up to sacrifice their very lives for our freedom, I can't agree with that. When I see things like a fundraising cookout today at Remke Biggs in Ft. Mitchell for the children of a murdered mother, I can't agree with that. When I see an entire community come together in Fairfield to build a baseball field for kids with special needs, I can't agree with that. And when I see Cincinnati welcome thousands of people from other countries here to sing, I can't agree with that. Those are just a few things locally which come to mind, but I see great, positive things every day, made possible by the wonderful people who live in Greater Cincinnati.

But America doesn't feel so great to some people right now. That could be because of the constant fighting among the people we've elected to lead us. Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine is giving up her Senate seat because the Democrats and Republicans -- for the life of them! -- can't get along. In her own Op-Ed in The Washington Post, Snowe describes a "corrosive trend of winner-take-all politics" as she proclaims the U.S. Senate is not working in the way the Founding Fathers intended. Those are strong words to consider on the anniversary of the signing of OUR Declaration of Independence. Have you read it lately? How does this sound to you? "Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it....."

I love my job, but I sure do get tired of reading about the latest back and forth -- and downright nasty rhetoric -- between our country's leaders and would-be leaders. Of course we can exercise our rights at the ballot box. What else can we do? At church on Sunday at my local parish, the congregation recited the U.S. Conference of Bishops' prayer for religious liberty. I am thinking we all need to pray for something bigger than that -- for the U.S. to be truly united again.

Since it's July 4th, I am exercising my right express a few things I believe -- that we DO live in a great country, but there are some things which need to change for America to STAY great. And, yes, I believe prayer works - especially when all of God's people come together for one goal. There's power in that. So on this Independence Day - wouldn't it be great if Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Mormons, all faiths prayed together for our One Nation Under God?

My prayer is one of thanksgiving for all of the brave men and women who have fought (and not just on a battlefield) for us to be free in the past, for the Pilgrims, the Founding Fathers, all of the immigrants, inventors, builders, astronauts, civil rights leaders, and even great artists who have made us proud of America in the past.

And I have a prayer for the future. I pray for a future when we can all be proud of the actions of ALL Americans - for the parents and teachers molding our children, the children standing up to bullying and learning that we live in a global society in which we all have to be careakers, to straight shooting journalists, little league coaches teaching kids about working TOGETHER, philanthropic grocery store owners helping parentless kids and charities, inventors, doctors, social workers, and builders, and let's not forget our leaders right now and in the future - the most high profile Americans who will lead us through the coming days and the rest of this century. And finally, I pray for all of America's children with big dreams who will watch parades and fireworks displays today - that they will contribute to a UNITED States of America, and always feel the Independence Day pride we have for America and our freedoms.

Happy 4th, and Amen.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Amazing Spider-man!!

I'm excited about this movie.  Even toyed with the idea of going at midnight.
Hey everyone.  Rob here.
I love going to the movies.  I used to go every Friday after the morning show by myself.  Now that I'm older, and the morning show is so much longer, I wait. 
Spider-man opens tonight at midnight.  Expect theaters to be packed.  It is a reboot of the movie franchise.  Tobey Maguire is no longer Spider-man and once again Peter Parker is back in high school.  Andrew Garfield from "The Social Network" stars as Spidey. He was the friend of Mark Zuckerberg with a knife in his back. 
This movie is going to be huge, if international numbers foreshadow what will happen here.  It has already made more than $50 million dollars overseas.  The Hollywood Reporter is projecting a 6 day holiday total of $125 million dollars.
Brad Underwood and I usually see eye to eye when it comes to movies.  He says, he's passing on this one though.  He calls Andrew Garfield a punk.  I told him, he's not the actual guy from "The Social Network."
He doesn't care.  I predict impressive numbers for the movie.  That is until "The Dark Knight Rises" which opens July 20th.  Don't even get me started on that movie.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Happy 4th of July

Good Morning....Frank Here...Well summer is about over with Fourth of July here this week! Get ready to go back to school! Of course I am kidding but it seems like it's always a debate and maybe more mental than anything that once Fourth of July arrives it feels like summer break is half over. So my question to you is with the holiday on a Wednesday this year when do you consider it a holiday weekend this past weekend or the upcoming weekend? If I had to say, I would say this past weekend but with being able to take time off probably makes more sense to start Wednesday and then go into the weekend. However, no matter when you celebrate the heat is on with more HEAT ADVISORY and EXCESSIVE HEAT warnings remaining in effect the temperature will continue to feel above 100 degrees. As of today we have had 9 days of 90 degree heat or better with two of those days at 101 degrees. The other bad part of this heat is the dry trend we have seen. Even with some isolated strong storms the past few days we have not seen much in the way of beneficial water. We are around 4 inches down for the year and many local fireworks shows are in jeapordy do to the very dry conditions. So stay cool and find a pool and enjoy your holiday.