Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Salem plays host to the Diner

(NEWS7 photographer Rob Chewning standing in the bed of a pickup truck getting the perfect shot for the Weekend Diner. Kroger Chef Steve Alls and I on the "Chef's Circle" set)

If you're a regular viewer of NEWS7 Sunday Morning, you've likely seen our Weekend Diner segment. If not, you're missing out! One of the coolest things I get to do in my job is host this part of the newscast. Each Sunday, people cook for me - what could be better? Those who know me best know I love weather, but the Weekend Diner segment allows me stand away from meteorology for a few minutes every week and clear my mind!
This past Saturday, NEWS7 photographer Rob Chewning and I drove over to Salem to shoot a segment with Kroger Chef Steve Alls. We set up our camera at the Salem Farmer's Market on the "Chef's Circle" set. "Chef's Circle" is a creative idea the city came up with several months ago while demolishing some houses in a flood plain. From one of the houses that was slated to be torn down, crews ripped out an actual kitchen, put it on a trailer with hydraulics, painted it up, and now has local chef's such as Steve cook and entertain crowds every weekend. The set is complete with running water, a stove and a refrigerator.
I could tell "Chef's Circle" is a big crowd pleaser. If you have the chance, I highly recommend you bring a lawn chair and watch local chef's do their thing each Saturday now though the end of August (note: no Chef's Circle this weekend per July 4). The chef's will prepare recipes using ingredients from the farmer's market. They'll also answer your questions, plus you'll be able to taste the dish!
Thanks to Mike Stevens (former NEWS7 Sports Director now Communications Director for Salem) and Beth Carson (Salem Horticulturist and Market Director) for allowing us the opportunity to showcase Chef's Circle!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Meteorologist Turned Plumber

One of my favorite things to do is tinker around the house. My wife and I have owned two houses, and I've learned some things through the years.

First, when doing a project, come up with list of expenses. When you add up the total cost of what you plan to spend, double it. That way, you're not surprised when you go over budget.
Also, become really familiar with Murphy's Law.

Both of these were true recently when I decided to remodel our half bath. My plan was to put up a chair rail, paint, install new fixtures and some new lighting. I usually take great pride in painting. I'm a perfectionist. In this case, I tried to cheat and not paint behind the tank of the toilet. Bad idea. I had the top of the toilet tank laying in the floor while I was curled up trying to paint as much as I could. I moved my knee which slammed the porcelain top of the tank into the porcelain base of the throne. Porcelain vs. porcelain. That's never good. While I thought I had just chipped the toilet, but upon closer inspection, there was a crack all the way up to the seat.

$250 later, there's a new "chair" against the new chair rail in our bathroom. While I enjoy home improvement, I think I'll take a break for awhile. Consumer note: I highly recommend the 5-Star flushers; if you're in the market!

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Must Read Blog!

Life has been busy since my last blog post. Here is the CliffsNotes version.

Have you noticed? There's a fresh look to wdbj7.com. I can't take one ounce of credit for this, but I can tell you it's user friendly and loaded with awesome weather information. Meteorologist Brent Watts has devoted months to this puppy, and it shows! Among the new features, he researched and added a new Interactive Radar. Feedback has been very positive from what I gather. Now, you the user, and manipulate the radar just as we do in the SkyTracker7 HD Forecast Center. Awesome work, Brent!

Severe weather has been common during the late-spring. Hopes of updated my blog last week were dashed by a tornado warning for Franklin and Pittsylvania counties. Robin, Brent and I were on the air for two straight hours Thursday warning folks in the path of the storm.

22 schools, 1552 students, and 2312 miles later, I've wrapped up my 2008/2009 school visit tour. I enjoy driving around the NEWS7 viewing area teaching students about weather and climate. The longest trip this year was to Eureka Elementary School in Charlotte County. Another trip to South Boston fell just shy of that. Thanks to all the teachers who invited me into their classrooms!

NEWS7 has been honored with the Regional Emmy for Best Weekend Newscast. WDBJ notables such as Robin Reed, Hollani Davis, Joe Dashiell and News Director Amy Morris traveled to Washington D.C. this past weekend to accept the Emmy. I'm proud of our work because the newscast we entered was "weather-driven". You may remember the wind storm of February 2008. Power outages, wildfires, property damage. I've covered a lot of severe weather the last 10 years, and that ranks as one of the most prolonged events I can recall. We had five or six hours of battering gusts. Our WeatherBug station at WDBJ had a 69mph gust that day - almost hurricane force!

Finally, and most importantly, it's vacation time. That's right, it took a vacation to find the time to update my blog!

For more frequent updates, follow me on twitter at: OnAirWeather