Thursday, October 30, 2008

A real, live reporter

I reported and anchored the news in Lousiana two weeks shy of five years. In that time, I worked my way up from general assignment reporter to weekend anchor to morning anchor.

When I started working at the station, there was a nice arrangement of photos in the lobby featuring the news team. Over time, people quit, moved on, or got fired. The pictures slowly came down and simply weren't replaced. I'm not sure why it's a thing for stations to put pictures in the lobby. They just do, and I've interviewed at enough stations to know it's pretty standard.

I'll never forget my first event at the state fair. The pictures of the anchors were made into little index cards for autographing. When I worked the booth, someone asked me for my autograph--why? I'm not sure; they knew I was the new girl. But they did, and my boss turned and gave me one of the main anchors cards and said, just sign THIS picture--you guys look alike. It should have been a sign.

Fastforward five years: I never did get autograph cards, which was plenty okay with me. But, a mere week after I turned in my one month notice, I finally got my picture in the lobby. It hung there for three weeks before my crew took it down my last morning there. Three weeks.

Now, a new job and a new station. It took less than 6 weeks to get my picture in the lobby. That has to be a better sign.

Pause for Painting

This is my Saturday paint-splattered outfit. It's all we do on weekends.

We've had quite the pause in blogging, and we'll blame it all on the homeowner thing. It seems like every weekend day or off day, we've been raking leaves, painting, moving furniture, unpacking, and whatever else is entailed in making a house a home. I am happy to report we've finished up our painting projects until the springtime. Dave is happier than I.

Then, we'll tackle the upstairs and the kitchen, which has holly berries stencilled around the walls. It will work for Christmas, after all it's Christmas year round in there.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fall Escape

This weekend we took advantage of the fall weather by taking in the colorful leaves in the St. Croix River Valley. We travelled to the Interstate State Park area, which straddles the border of Minnesota and Wisconsin at Taylors Falls and St. Croix Falls, respectively. It's a short hour and a half northwest of the Twin Cities, and it was definitely worth the drive.

Forecasters predicted the leaves to be at peak this weekend in much of the state. The vivid reds and yellows were especially pretty near the river bluffs. We hiked an easy, populated trail in Interstate State Park, ate cheese in Wisconsin, and shopped in the river towns before driving 30 miles south to Stillwater. This town calls itself the "birthplace of Minnesota,'" as it is the place where men got together and decided they wanted to petition for statehood. The town planners have wisely preserved the quaint downtown area, and it's a fun place to spend an afternoon. There are high end gift shops, art galleries, overpriced antique stores, and several restaurants with a river view. Their menus range from seafood to bar food. Downtown, they also advertise going on a cave tour underneath Stillwater, while drinking a glass of wine from a local winery....which is something that interests both of us.

As evidenced by the very large crowds in every town, we weren't the only ones taking it a typical Minnesota Fall weekend.

Interstate State Park is a hot spot for rock climbers, and we saw several non-stereotypical climbers in action. There was an 8-year-old dangling very high in the air, with his father spotting him, of course. Here's a group of college kids rockclimbing:

Next time we visit, we are definitely checking out the canoe trip. You can rent them and take them up the river from Taylors Falls. We will definitely return.

First time over the Bridge

We decided to forgo all household chores and projects this Saturday to get the heck out of town. It seems everyone else had the same idea as traffic was ridiculous. And, some genuis closed down I-94, which didn't help.

But, in the middle of the traffic, we got to drive over the 35W bridge for the first time. It's been reopened for about a month, and it's arguably the most monitored bridge in the country. They literally have sensors on this bridge to let someone important know when the asphalt gets cracked. I seriously believe if a bird lands on that bridge, someone somewhere knows.

What amazed both of us is how quick it took to cross--probably 45 seconds to a minute. The bridge spanning the Mississippi River between Arkansas/Tennessee is much longer. The I-30 bridge over the Red River near Texarkana is longer, as is the Texas Street Bridge in Shreveport. Countless big city bridges are much longer and carry more traffic...which causes one to think, if this collapse caused so much damage, it's scary to think how much damage to life and property a larger bridge collapse would bring.

Smooth ride, clean bridge.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Sunshine in the News

A bridesmaid of mine made the news and got a nice award--and I wanted to include it here. It talks about what an awesome gal she is! We love ya, Bri!

There’s sunshine in Puleo's smile
by WILLIAM P. CANNON / Observer-Dispatch by COURTNEY POTTS Observer-Dispatch

Brianne Puleo, Director of Community Relations for Sitrin Health Care Center, directs the filming of a commercial Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2008, at the facility in New Hartford. Puleo is one of the 2008 Accent on Excellence Award winners.

Brianne Puleo may take her job in public relations very seriously, but don’t let that fool you. She also has a silly side.In addition to her job as director of community relations for the Sitrin Health Care Center, Puleo, 29, also is a professional clown.

And she uses those skills in her volunteer work as well. Performing as “Sunshine the Clown,” she has donated her time to everything from cancer benefits to school events. Most recently, she appeared at a benefit for the Juvenile Diabetes Association.“It’s very fulfilling,” said Puleo, who has attended clown-training programs throughout the country. “If I can get someone to smile, if even for just a moment, I have done my job. It will always be a part of my life in some way.”

Another constant in Puleo’s life is her attachment to the Mohawk Valley and Central New York. A Utica native, she received her bachelor’s degree in communication arts and elementary education from Utica College, then went on to earn a master’s degree in broadcast journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

She began her career at WKTV as a news reporter, and eventually worked as a producer and anchor. But, she said, staying in broadcast journalism eventually would have meant leaving behind her friends and family. So she decided to change careers.“It was very difficult at first because I was used to crazy hours and deadline pressure,” she said. “I also wasn’t sure what to expect when I transitioned to a nonprofit, but Sitrin has been the best of all worlds.”

In her letter of nomination, Rosemary Bonacci, Sitrin’s vice president of development and communications, praised Puleo’s work in developing the “Inside Sitrin” commercial series, and pointed out that Puleo is one of the youngest department heads in the company.“Even though she has been in position for approximately 18 months, she has managed to accomplish so much – due, in great part, to her strong work ethic,” Bonacci wrote.

When she’s not at work, clowning around or serving as an adjunct faculty member at local colleges, Puleo likes to be outdoors and spend time with her boyfriend, friends and family, she said.“I love seeing my niece and nephew grow up,” she said. “I’m also very close to my parents and sisters. They mean the world to me.”
Age: 29
HOME: Utica
FAMILY: Single
EDUCATION: Master’s in broadcast journalism from S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, B.A. in communication arts/elementary education from Utica College of Syracuse University
Work: Director of community relations for Sitrin Health Care CenterExamples of community involvement: Adjunct faculty member at Utica College and SUNYIT, mentor for college students, clown
Favorite place in the Mohawk Valley: My home
Favorite local restaurant: Red Lobster
Favorite movie: “White Christmas”
Favorite TV watching: News, movies
Favorite quotation: “Everyone smiles in the same language.”
What would you do to help improve the Mohawk Valley? “Encourage young people to stay here and take advantage of the many opportunities in this area.”