Wednesday, October 31, 2007

How could Sabrina get kicked off?

Before I start ranting about "Dancing with the Stars," I guess I better 'fess up to watching it.
I tried not to get hooked but it's pretty hard.
Go ahead, I dare you, try to watch it for only one dance.
Wait, no sense watching it now.
The best dancer got booted from the show, Sabrina Bryan of the girl band, "Cheetah Girls."
Here's the deal for the uninitiated: Celebrities are paired with professional dancers and each week one couple is eliminated based on how the judges vote on the show and how the viewers vote -- over the phone and online -- in the half-hour after the show.
Usually, the couple that gets the boot is the couple that should get the boot. As there are fewer and fewer contenders, better and better dancers get kicked off. But, up until last night, it has always seemed to me that the weakest of the remaining got kicked off.
But after what happened last night with Sabrina, it seems that was just because we have been lucky up to this point.
There are some major problems with the voting.
First, the show's judges do not hold all contestants to the same standards. Wayne Newton was an original member of this year's show. What he had to do to get a "7" from the judges is nothing like what Sabrina Bryan had to do to get a "7."
In the show that led to her ouster, Sabrina got pretty low marks for an almost perfect performance.
Not fair.
Then, although the audience has a half hour to vote after the show, I defy you to try to cast the seven votes allowed to you. It is impossible to get through on the phone. Hang up that option.
But it is also nearly impossible to get onto the Web site to vote because it is experiencing so much traffic.
Some of the comments burning up online fan sites the day after blame Sabrina's defeat on people not voting because she was so good, they didn't feel the need to cast their vote. She was a lock.
Guess not.
I don't know about you but I want the most talented person to win a talent contest.
If that's what "Dancing with the Stars" is all about, they need to fix their voting procedure.
Still on the show is Jane Seymour. Not for anything, and God love her, she's even older than me, BUT she isn't as good as Sabrina Bryan -- by a long shot. Perhaps more Dr. Quinn fans watch the show than Cheetah Girls fans but that shouldn't keep the best dancer from winning.
A lot of people are saying they are done watching the show.
I'm not ready to say that but it sure has lost a lot of its magic as far as I'm concerned.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Daniel visits his mother

Daniel Petric, the 16-year-old son of a pastor, accused of killing his mother and shooting his father, was granted private visitation at his mother's casket today.
His attorney had asked the court if Daniel could have a furlough to go to the funeral on Saturday. Instead, private visitation was granted.
We went to cover the private visitation but by the time we got there, the van that had brought Daniel from the detention home was pulling away.
We have been given permission by the family to cover the funeral tomorrow so you can read about the ending of a tragic story in Sunday's Chronicle.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Wait, it's not the same old Lorain ... maybe

In the last blog item, I was lamenting the loss of what I thought was a new and improved working relationship with the mayor of Lorain.
When John Romoser was appointed to the seat Craig Foltin vacated in August, we all breathed a sigh of relief.
We couldn't catch a break -- or a fair shot at the news -- with Mayor Foltin.
But with a new mayor, we thought we would be back on even footing.
And then, we read -- in the other paper -- about Mike Kobylka leaving the safety-service director post, a story we knew about but were holding up on reporting as a courtesy.
Shoot, still getting shafted by the mayor's office.
But wait.
I got a call from Mayor Romoser today. He assured me that he is not like Craig Foltin.
"I don't know what happened. There was a breakdown in communication.
"I thought Mike had already called Adam (Wright, our Lorain reporter)," Romoser said.
"I never intended to shut you guys out," he said.
OK, I'll buy it. Anyone can make a mistake.
But this is the one and only "breakdown in communication" excuse that I will believe.
Because, as George Bush would say, "There's an old saying in Tennessee ... I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee ... that says, fool me once, shame on ... shame on you. Fool me ... oh, you can't get fooled again."

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Same old, same old in Lorain

So we here at The Chronicle were all hoping that when Craig Foltin left office, it was the end of an era -- an era of getting our clock cleaned by the other paper on Lorain stories.
It was no secret that Foltin had no use for us and therefore spoon-fed all Lorain scoops to the other paper, leaving us -- time and time again -- running to catch up.
And now it appears the new mayor is up to the same old game.
You may have heard -- or read in the other paper -- that Lorain Safety Service Director Mike Kobylka is quitting to take another job.
Well, guess what? We have known about this for a little while but were honoring a promise we made to hold up on it until the job deal was finalized.
So, imagine our surprise when we opened the other paper this morning and there was the story. Silly, silly us.
Here. We. Go. Again.
The scuttlebutt on the street is that newly appointed mayor John Romoser urged/ordered/demanded that the other paper get the story first supposedly to get in the good graces of the hometown paper.
Hmmm. That's a little puzzling to me because the other paper has already endorsed his November opponent, Tony Krasienko. We haven't endorsed anyone.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

How we found out about the gun threat

This afternoon we got a tip that Daniel Petric, the 16-year-old accused of killing his mother and shooting his father, had been in trouble before.
He brought a gun to school, the tipster told me.
That was a little puzzling because we were told by the schools yesterday that he had been home-schooled until recently. This gun incident supposedly happened two years ago.
We didn't think we would have much luck getting information from the school -- and not because they told us something different yesterday. We thought we would get stymied by privacy issues.
"How about the police?" reporter Shawn Foucher said. "If he brought a gun to school, there should be a police report."
Isn't it great to be surrounded by resourceful news people?
Sure enough, Shawn got the Wellington police to provide us with a police report.
The incident, as you probably read on our Web site, actually happened four years ago ... and he didn't bring a gun, according to the police report, he threatened to bring a gun.
The home-schooled allegation? We're still trying to get to the bottom of that.
But the anonymous tipster did set us on a path of discovery and for that I'd like to thank him or her.
And if you see something or hear something about anything you think could be newsworthy, please let us know.
If there is something there, we'll track it down.

Monday, October 22, 2007

What does a teenage murder suspect look like?

Here is a picture of Daniel Petric, 16, who today was charged with murder and attempted murder in the shootings of his parents.
A picture of the back of Daniel Petric, that is.
We fought all morning today, with the help of our lawyer, to be allowed to take his photo at today's hearing. Daniel, according to police, is the only suspect in the shootings of his parents, the Rev. Mark and Sue Petric.
This afternoon's hearing was at the detention home where he is being held.
Our argument to take his photo was based on court rulings giving us the right to have a photographer at such hearings.
The court's argument against allowing us to take his photo was that the suspect is a juvenile who has not yet been charged.
He's a juvenile, yes, but he was charged at the hearing -- with murder and attempted murder. His mother is dead and his father is in critical condition.
In the end, we were allowed to shoot him from the back ... no photos that can identify him.
But we are not done fighting.
We believe we have the right to photograph a person charged with killing his or her parents -- regardless of age -- because we believe our readers have the right to see the face of the person charged with such a crime. What he looks like is part of the story.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Indians at bottom of totem pole

The Indians have been the underdogs the entire American League series — and that’s OK.
But now, the Tribe is up 3-1 going into tonight’s game — which will be played on its home field with its ace on the mound — and it is still the underdog.
Everyone from the ESPN "Sports Center" gang to the Vegas oddsmakers are giving the edge to Boston in Game 5 tonight.
How can that be? What does Cleveland have to do to get a little respect around here?

Monday, October 15, 2007

L.A. crash scary but not surprising

I was throwing clothes into my suitcase and watching the local news Saturday morning in Burbank, Calif.
The TV news guy was talking about an accident in an underpass on an interstate.
He cut to a film clip of the crash.
A ball of flames filled the screen. Every once in awhile the flames would lap and you could see a truck cab.
The TV news guy didn't know how many people were dead or injured. In fact, he didn't even know how many vehicles were involved in the crash that happened around 11 p.m. Friday.
Then the camera was back on the news guy in the studio and he was very seriously telling viewers that rain-slicked roads can be slippery and cars often cut off semi-truck drivers.
He said it is hard for the semi drivers to brake without losing control of their rigs.
So, please, he implored viewers, don't cut off big trucks on rain-slicked highways.
Oh, yeah, I'm sure Los Angeles drivers will heed that request.
Cars cut off everyone there. I found that out during last week's business trip. It seems other drivers are never going fast enough.
In tie-ups when cars are at a dead stop, drivers honk.
If you are waiting for oncoming cars to go by before making a lefthand turn, drivers honk.
Cars clog the streets and highways and drivers honk and drive dangerously.
I'm surprised there aren't more horrific crashes in southern California.
You probably read about Friday's fiery accident on I-5 north of Los Angeles. According to information in today's Los Angeles Times, at least three people are dead and at least five big rigs and multiple cars were involved.
There is a company in Grafton called Introtech Crash Reconstruction. Its employees go out to crash sites to try to figure out how they happened.
Dale Dent, chief of operations for the company, said it won't be involved in the California crash. Introtech works mostly in Ohio and rarely in other states.
He did say however that a crash in which all the vehicles are burned up, as this one was, will be very hard to reconstruct.
"All the evidence is gone," he said. "Evidence from the roadway is gone. Evidence from the vehicles is gone.
"If they are able to put together what happened, it will take a very long time," Dent said.
The California interstate, I-5, remained closed around the crash site this morning sending drivers scurrying to find alternate routes to work.
I can't imagine the honking that is generating.