Saturday, February 27, 2016

"That's our opinion; we welcome yours." -- Former WCSH6 Editorial Director Fred Nutter

You've read my complaints about the passing of real news reporting during the past several years.  I'm sorry to write about one of the last real reporters I knew who did all he could to uphold the standards of equal and fair news coverage.

WCSH6 legend Fred Nutter passed away Friday night.  He was 82 years old.

I first met Fred in the early 1960s when we both worked for local radio station WPOR.  Fred was full time and I worked weekends.  During the week, however, I was able to put my journalism degree to work chasing local news stories and reporting from the scenes of many events.

Toward the middle of the 1960s, Fred was hired away from the station to become a city reporter for WCSH radio and television.  As you know, WCSH radio has long since been sold and the radio call letters are no longer in use.  But Fred had already become one of the best local reporters in any media and remained at WCSH TV. 

Fred hadn't missed my work ethic and in 1965 he recommended to the lead announcer at the WCSH radio station that I might make a contribution there.  After a lengthy interview, where I think I made an absolute fool of myself, not hard for me to do, I too was hired away from the first radio station.

I think it was Fred who told the then TV news director I would make a good part time addition to the news staff and his recommendation was accepted.  Fred later became news director of WCSH-TV and he continued the standards established by his predecessor of requiring equal and fair coverage of all news events. 

After WCSH radio was sold, he found a weekend spot for me along with my continuing to be a "chaser" for local news events during the week. 

The station's news department grew into Maine's number one source for News and even today boasts that more people get their news from WCSH6 than from any other news source.  Our reporters were simply not allowed to "editorialize" in news stories or let their own feelings become important in reporting.

That did leave a little void in our coverage, and station management filled it.  Fred Nutter became the Editorial Director and he presented frequent editorials on various subjects.  He even included invitations to newsmakers to have time to make their news known.

Like his name, his editorial closings became household:  "That's our opinion; we welcome yours."

I am proud to have had Fred Nutter as a friend, colleague, mentor, and leader during my broadcasting career.  He leaves behind three kids, several grandchildren, and a wife of 55 years.  Fred Nutter...May you rest in the peace your hard work and leadership earned.


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Race to the Top...Would it be bad if none made it?

It's looking more and more like Donald Trump could be the flag carrier for the Republican Party this presidential election year.  He's won another local, Nevada, and some now consider him to be on the way to being unstoppable.  Marco Rubio has become the near-clear second placer, while Ted Cruz seems to be falling from grace. 

Cruz's continuation in the race could be totally dependent on the upcoming Texas Super Tuesday affair.  The Texas Senator is confident he'll win his own state, but Trump also claims he's leading in the race, both there and in many other states.  Rubio needs to win his state, Florida.  We could have a far less cloudy picture by the end of March.

None of the three top contenders, however, have grabbed my support.  I still haven't made up my mind as I'm not sure any of the three would make a good President.  Although he'll probably be from the race soon, I'm still doing some study on John Kasich.  I'd guess I'm still hoping there's someone out there who will suddenly appear that can give us the leadership we need.

Although Hillary Clinton looks like she's got the Democratic nomination all locked up, I think the Dems may be in tougher shape than the Republicans.  Looking at Clinton's past and reading what Sanders wants to accomplish are among the scariest things simple Americans like me can do.  I don't understand why so many people support Clinton and why Sanders is making such a slightly smaller mark in the race.

Americans truly do not learn from the history they no longer are being taught in schools and universities.

I don't often say any nice about our President, the there was a touching news story on the television a few nights ago.  President and Mrs. Obama welcomed a 106-year-old woman into the White House.  Among the activities, Mrs. Obama took her by the hand, led her out of her wheelchair, and "danced" with her.  Well, at least they were moving their feet and swaying to the music in a single position.  I don't think I've ever seen a more loving face on President Obama as he also reached out with apparent love to that woman.  As old as she is, the moment simply had to be the very best in the life of that woman.

As much as I hate the Obama politics, I would go see him and any President of the United States at any chance I'd get.  After all, it isn't the man but the position that would be such an honor.

I hope I never lose that feeling, but any of today's hopefuls just might cause it to go away.


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

I think I made myself hungry.

It'll be a while, possibly a long "while," before we see one here in the Greater Portland area, but the news out of Bangor is good.  Krispy Crème is coming to Maine.

The news articles I've seen say a New Hampshire Donuteer, another of my new words, is planning to build three of the franchise shops with Bangor the most likely spot for the first one.  Nevertheless, the "ice" will be broken.

Because of the lack of one anywhere near here my lack of experience with Krispy Crème donuts is understandable.  I'll bet there are a goodly number of folks here who have never had one.  I have.  My wife and I were in, I think, New Orleans when we first ran across a Krispy Crème coffee shop.  Having seen them on TV for quite a while, we decided to try one of their donuts.

Then two.  And both of us would have liked to just go on with more, but we resisted that temptation and left. 

But I must say I've never had a better donut anywhere before or since.  There are two or three absolutely wonderful donut shops here in Greater Portland, including a franchise place and several small bakeries/coffee shops.  Remember when Dunkin' Donuts were made on premises?  They were far better, in my humble opinion, than the trucked in ones offered now.  In fact, they may have been in line with the Krispy Crème.  My favorite local bakery, though, no longer exists.  I was among the many to mourn when our favorite "Uncle" closed shop in South Portland.

But that Krispy Crème in New Orleans still ranks as the very best.  At least when one gets it right out of the cooker.  We went back a second day and it was equally as good.  Have you ever seen that little light in the window?  That signaled "Get your donut NOW."  Both of our visits had been early in the day when the store was cooking its inventory.  I didn't know about that light then and we both wondered what it was for.

We found out on the third day as we were leaving New Orleans at a different time.  Naturally we stopped by that Krispy Crème shop to pick up a couple of donuts and coffee for the first part of our ride.  We almost didn't eat the donuts.  Thinking back, there was no light in the window.  The donuts we got had been made probably a couple hours earlier.  And they were simply awful.  The quality of the donut went from one extreme flat down to the other in a relatively short period of time.

But, Boy!  Within a short while of being cooked, there wasn't a better donut anywhere.  That would send me to a local Krispy Crème in a heartbeat once I learned the local's cooking schedule.  I, for one, am looking forward to the arrival of Krispy Crème in Greater Portland.  (I certainly wouldn't drive all the way to Bangor to get one.)  I hope that "light" signal is still in effect.

Speaking of food, there's another place I wish would come to Greater Portland.  One of the best buffet food restaurants I've ever eaten in is Golden Corral.  We were introduced to Golden Corral during one of our retirement trips a few years back.  We first checked one out in Branson, MO, when we visited there to take in a whole bunch of their famous shows.  It was one of our better trips and that Golden Corral just outside the city caught us by surprise.

We've eaten in others since then and in each instance found the establishment to be extremely neat, clean, and laid out.  The food was delicious and, most importantly, the hot food was hot.  The selection was outstanding and the staff extremely pleasant. 

I'd like to see a Golden Corral come to Greater Portland.

I have had good experience with other franchises, too, that we visited elsewhere.  When a couple of them came to our area in Southern Maine, they soon became favorites of ours.  We prefer Texas Roadhouse for steak dinners and love Five Guys for fast-food hamburgers. 

I haven't tried one yet, but both my wife and daughter like Red Robin, too.  However, I'd have to quickly add there's a super hamburger shop in Falmouth we like and another one in Auburn.

There are too numerous eating places in Greater Portland to mention them all and I'm sure I've missed your favorite place.  I do apologize for that, but we started out here just praising that one donut shop.  I was just trying to point out that being a "franchise" doesn't mean it can't be a super place, although there are a whole lot more mediocre ones than great.

Hmmmm.  I wonder if it's eating time, yet.


Sunday, February 14, 2016

A time to warm up

To say simply, it is cold today, and that might be close to an understatement.  It's closing in on 9 AM on this Sunday morning, and the temperature out on my deck is 7 degrees below zero with a wind chill of minus thirteen.  That's cold.  Now don't take my temperatures as anything official as they are taken strictly on an Acu-Rite weather station.  As the sun gets higher, the temperature has now already begun to rise...slightly.

Nevertheless, if you're reading this on this Sunday morning, let me wish you and your partner a most wonderful Valentine's Day.  If the Day has neared its end or is over, I hope you had a great Day for cuddling.  It was surely cold enough for that activity.

Watching the news this morning sent me back down memory lane, a trip I like to take frequently.  When I was much, much younger, I worked a seven day week so my bride and I could make some headway into our future.  I had a full time week day job and a two-day weekender.  There was a florist shop in the same building I worked in and back in the early 1960s, every Saturday I took home a single red rose to honor my bride for putting up with my endeavors.  It cost me seventy-five cents, but well worth it.

Even back then, though, prices on just about everything occasionally climbed.  My Saturday rose went from seventy-five cents to ninety one weekend and then, within 18 months or so it climbed to a full dollar.  That, I think, was my pay for the first hour of my part-time job.  It wasn't long after that the price went up again.  It was the last Saturday rose I took home.  Sandra was well worth it, and still is, but we were trying to save to buy our own house and that dollar plus could be put to another use.

This morning, the news said a single rose today would cost ninety dollars, not ninety cents and I mentioned to my bride how much money I have saved us.  I'm not sure she agreed with my logic.

Conservatives, and the whole country should be, are mourning the loss of Supreme Court Justice Scalia this morning.  If President Obama appoints his replacement, any chance of the Court interpreting our Constitution as it was intended will be gone, probably forever.  Even today's divided Court, in my very non-legal opinion, incorrectly interprets many laws in ways that would cause our forefathers to literally roll over in their graves.

I am among you hoping that that President and Senate will hold off until after the next election in November to name a replacement.  At least after the elections the selection will reflect the will of the people better as the people will cement our country's direction.

Meanwhile, we mourn the loss of a Great Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia, appointed by then President Ronald Reagan.  Sadly, for me, he was just a few months older than I.

I'm not going to defend Maine Gov. Paul Lepage's appointment of himself as acting commissioner of education.  Last week I defended his action of withdrawing his then nominee after learning the Democrats on the Education were going to tear the nominee apart in confirmation hearings.  I said it showed that the Democrats were not interested in working with the Governor and Republicans in fixing the many problems facing our state.

The actions, name calling among them, by the Governor, following the withdrawal will, probably has destroyed, destroy any chances of bringing the sides together and signal two more years of continuing and growing turmoil in Augusta.  I'm disappointed in this action.

This growing power struggle will take Maine absolutely nowhere and we could be in for a long two years.  There is a whole bunch of legislative branch and executive branch people who should take a good, hard look in the mirror mornings and grow up.  The people of Maine deserve more than what we're getting. 

There are always two sides, sometimes even more, to any issue facing us and the best solution is often somewhere in the middle.  It takes good people to meet, face the problem head on, and then COMPROMISE to find the correct solutions to work for all of us.  It's the way it used to be done when Maine, and America, grew into greatness.  The current atmosphere is simply accomplishing that famous Russian's pronouncement before the United Nations, "We will destroy you from within."

It's now "grow up" time in Maine.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Surprise? I don't think totally.

I'm not surprised at the party winners in New Hampshire, but I am a wee bit surprised at the order of the underlings on the Republican side of the ballot.  Of course you all know Donald Trump, as expected, finished atop the R heap while Bernie Sanders surprised only Hillary Clinton on the D heap.  Well, the D's didn't have a heap, but Bernie's win wasn't unexpected by most.

The NH results did show what one "expert" said was a change in the electorate that wants to see politics in America returned to the people.  I remember not his name right now, but he told WCSH6 reporters the voters want ordinary folk, not the super rich, to be running the country.

That would be the case if either Trump or Sanders holds on to win next November.

My mild surprise was that Marco Rubio dropped all the way down to fifth.  I honestly had expected to see a real battle between Rubio and Ohio Gov. John Kasich for that second spot but it turned out that only Kasich was there.  Remember I've been saying all along that Rubio could come through and win the R nomination.  He still could, I suppose, but he probably won't.

Kasich might be a good alternative to Trump.

It'll now heat up in down South as attention turns to South Carolina and out West in Nevada next.

The race will heat up.

Back to Maine.  A chance of peaceful relations between the Democrat controlled Legislature and the Republican Governor we thought might bring some civility to Maine governance this session has apparently been rather short-lived.  On the first day of the current session after the tumultuous year of the last session opened with the Democrats seeking to impeach governor Paul LePage.  However a majority of Dems didn't want to start out that way in hopes, I imagine, of at least having the two sides work together for the good of Maine.

That has apparently come to an end.  I haven't seen it in the news anywhere, but as you know I don't get much of the news to read Gov. LePage withdraw his nomination for Commissioner of the Department of Education, Dr. Bill Beardsley.  Dr. Beardsley is highly qualified for the position and will continue in his temporary position until all this is cleared up.

According to the Governor's Press Release I read in the Maine Wire, the newsletter of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, the withdrawal resulted from what the release called a planned blockage by democrats on the Legislature Education Committee.  The Governor said he had learned that the Dems had planned to pack the confirmation hearing with strong groups and transgendered students to stop the nomination.

The Maine Wire says, "At issue appears to how Maine is dealing with transgendered students, and the brewing conflict between left-wing groups and their allies in Augusta, and the governor’s office over the issue."  The Maine Supreme Court had urged the legislature to fulfill its duties of creating specific rules for transgendered students to use bathrooms, especially in schools.  The Governor had stopped incomplete action of the Legislature until that body followed the Court's instructions.

The action of the Democrats on the Education Committee, however, signaled they would continue to ignore the Court, until they got their way at least, and that signaled that they will continue to be in conflict with the governor at every turn.

The Maine Heritage Policy Center in the same newsletter is calling upon all Mainers to look closely at electing more Republicans who support Maine ideals to the Legislature next November.

Something surely needs to be done to return civility to our legislative lives.


Monday, February 8, 2016

A little snow heading our way for a couple of days

Remember Keith Carson?  He was a weatherman, meteorologist if you prefer, on WCSH6 a  while back until he moved to Atlanta to join The Weather Channel.  The Scarborough Police Department published a post by him on Facebook and my Facebook page picked it up.  That's where I saw it yesterday.

All that to tell you what Carson thought yesterday would be the storm here today through Tuesday, at least.  According ro Keith's post, we're right on the edge of a "monster Nor'Easter."  Of course later information released today by Todd Gutner, a current meteorologist at Channel 6, updates that forecast.  Nevertheless, it was rather amazing to read that a former super weather forecaster who has moved on to what he believes is a greater pasture still keeps an eye on Maine.

Now from Todd:  Monday morning on NewsCenter6 Todd Gutner pretty much confirmed what Keith Carson posted Sunday.  Although we awoke to no snow, Todd told us it would begin this afternoon and continue at least until noontime Tuesday in our region.  The heaviest stuff will fall during the overnight hours and result in 4 to 8 inches of new snow by the time it stops Tuesday, 

Northern parts of the state will probably only see up to four inches.  But think of those Bostonians; Parts of Massachusetts could see a foot or more.

There's also a chance of more snow later this week.

Topic change:  Yes.  I did watch the entire Super Bowl last night as Denver whomped Carolina.  I think the domination was even more than the 24 to 10 score would indicate.  I was happy to see Peyton Manning win what could be his final hurrah.  I do think, though, over the summer the NFL should give its fumble rules a good looksee.

To me, there were two major disappointments.  I think my age might be showing here, but the half time show was simply terrible.  And the much anticipated and touted commercials were for the most part awful.  A couple were even just plain disgusting.  Oh, well, so much for 30 million dollars.

Finally, tomorrow is the "big day" in New Hampshire.  Both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have held on to their huge leads in the polls there heading into tomorrow's primaries.  We'll probably be inundated all day today with news out of New Hampshire.



Saturday, February 6, 2016

I still don't like the weather, but this weekend was pretty.

Edited Sunday morning to add:  I violated my own word last night that I wouldn't spend any time watching that Republican debacle.  I watched most of it.  I went to bed last night feeling that no matter whom we elect in next November's presidential election, this country is in real tough shape.  The Republicans and Democrats are just about even in incompetence.  There isn't a leader among them.  If you are like me and believe these two terms of the current electees (Yea, I know!) is not good for America, just wait and see what we're in for in the next term.  Wow!

Now on to my previously posted breather.

We'll see what our (Maine) Legislature does Monday, but if it's typical, the next big political event will be Tuesday when the New Hampshire presidential primaries take place.

Over the weekend we were told this week could see some snow on several days.  Meanwhile, our first major storm in our area fell last Friday.  Portland got 8.8 inches of the heavy stuff, but the temperature on Saturday along with a warm sun helped folk get their driveways and walkways back, at least near back.

This is the way it looked outside our front window Saturday ...
I've been complaining about the little snow we've had this winter as a combination of my age and physical restrictions have made the winter difficult.  Nevertheless, this was rather pretty.
If you've been around here the last few years, you know how much I showed off our Golden Retriever Mariah.  As I've mentioned earlier, Mariah went to Doggy Heaven last winter after a bout with cancer.  A new Golden adopted our daughter a couple years ago shortly after one she had left her.  Here is Brandy enjoying this snowy weather while visiting our house over the weekend.
There's just something about Goldens that get deep under one's skin and Brandy is another precious one.
We'll get back to the serious stuff this week.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

No real surprises...Well, not many, at least

The first test is behind us and I didn't see any real surprises, at least from my viewpoint.  I might be a wee surprised at the closeness, just five votes, between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side.  Hillary is claiming total victory; Bernie is calling it a tie. 

I expected a Clinton win, but was just a little surprised at the closeness.  One thing is for sure, there won't be a recount.  The votes are taken as caucus attendees make their decisions and then physically move to a designated place in the room.  The bodies are then counted and the total becomes the vote.  Once the attendees have left, there isn't any place for a recount.

I'm not sure I expected the win by Ted Cruz over Donald Trump and the late surge by Marco Rubio for third place was just a mild attention getter.  Cruz's actual win wasn't so much of a surprise as was the vote spread between him and Trump.  It wasn't huge, but it was more than I think I anticipated.

The surprise to me is only one Republican dropped out as a result of Iowa.  The others, including Jeb Bush and other candidates, fell even further behind with less than five percent each of the vote.  The Republican race continues, only even more so, a three-way affair between Cruz, Trump, and Rubio.  Edited:  A second and third candidate dropped out Wednesday.

Considering Trump's campaign strategy record, it'll be interesting to see where it takes us now.

But, more "Now," it's on to our neighbor New Hampshire for next Tuesday's selections.  This will be a busy, noisy week both here in Maine and in New Hampshire.  And it's all to pile up delegates for the national conventions this summer where the real nominees for the presidency will be determined.  Tuesday will be a primary with actual voting whereas last Monday was a caucus where actual people were counted.

Imagine...the bottom line of all this hype and spent money is to select delegates to the conventions which is the only real impact, the important one, of whom the nominees will eventually be.

I love talking about this weather.  Wasn't yesterday just a grand day?  We didn't hit that record, but my deck temperature came very close.  I guess the official one did, too, missing by only four degrees.  Right now at 8:45 this Tuesday morning, my deck tells me it's 43 out there, but the telly says it's still in the 30s officially.  Nevertheless, it looks gorgeous out there.

Unfortunately, this might be the end for this winter as some wintery stuff might be heading toward Maine.

Edited again:  And here it is Saturday morning and that wintery stuff did smack us yesterday.  Nevertheless, I must admit it's even more gorgeous out there today, albeit a different kind of wonder.  And, Tom at WCSH6 says, we're in for snowy weather virtually every day next week.


Monday, February 1, 2016

What a beginning for February!

This is February??   Twelve noon on February First and the temperature out on my deck is 60 degrees.  Let me be clear, my deck temp is never the same as the "official" temperature and this time of day there could be 4 or 5 degrees difference.  But 60 is the way it feels out on the Deck.  We could actually beat the "official" high record of 63 degrees.  'Spose to be right up there tomorrow, too.  Wow!  But then some rain, precious little chance of snow, Wednesday will start us back down into the 30s for the rest of the week.  But that won't take today's Start of February away from us.  Imagine, 60 degrees on February First in Maine!

Before this night is over, we could have some interesting news out of Iowa.  This is Presidential Caucus in the state with the first real vote heading toward presidential nominations this summer.  Each party will select who voters in that state should support.  I'm glad I don't live there as I haven't decided which lousy candidate I'd support.  There isn't one that I could trust to lead this country with honesty and integrity.  One good thing could come from tonight's voting.  A whole bunch of second level Republicans could decide to throw in the towel.

I'll have to wait until tomorrow morning to learn the official results as I'll be going to bed tonight at my regular Monday bed time.

Here's a phrase that's is so needlessly overused it has become trite and dumb-sounding.  "Special Edition."  Like "This is a Special Edition of the Today Show."  Or "This is a Special Edition of Meet the Press."  I've never seen anything "special" about these and other regularly scheduled programs which are broadcast at the usual times on their usual days.  One exception of course is the lead announcers, anchors if you will, travel to the locale of the main event.  Today, for example, Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie of the Today Show are in Iowa.

I don't know what makes that "special," though, and I've never understood why putting those people on site gives the event any more substance or importance.

This post won't be here long, so we'll keep it short.  See you probably tomorrow.