I got called in early to head out to a wildfire that was burning near the city of Gold Hill about fifteen minutes north of Medford. The fire broke out late Sunday and the station called in reporters to come in to work early so we could have coverage all day. I got in to work around noon and did stories for the 5 and 6 shows, then went out again to do a third story for the 11. The fire changed a lot over the day; officials said they had only a little containment in the morning, but the weather stayed overcast and relatively cool and by the afternoon, there was hardly any smoke coming from the fire site.
For my nightside story, I went to firelines with crews as the performed cleanup operations between 8pm and sunrise. Here's the beginning of the 11 newscast from Monday the 13th.
I was set up with a story and was on my way out the door when the scanner reported a fire in a barn in the middle of a grass field. I stuck around to hear if it evolved into anything else. The scanner said there were reports of explosions at the barn. I had my story. I went out to the barn after ODF had knocked down and contained the blaze. I got back at just about 5:30, and wrote and edited a story on the fire for the 6, 6:30, and then packaged the story for the 11.
I was called in early again! This time to head out to Southern Oregon University (SOU) in Ashland. The Resident Advisors were going through emergency training, with help from the Ashland Fire Department. AFD set up realistic scenarios to give RAs a better sense of what they may go through during an emergency. I liked working the story because it dealt with college level students and most of them were the over-involved type that I was a few months ago. The story also offered some pretty good video opportunities. http://kdrv.com/news/local/189129
Called in early again!! For the fourth time in nine work days! Sometimes it gives me overtime, so it's not a totally bad deal.
I was, however, sent out to Klamath Falls about an hour and a half from Medford. We have a station in KF that used to be staffed by a full time reporter, but now it just operates as a remote place to edit and work. However, I had never used the online program that sends videos from KF to our main station in Medford, so the decision was made that I would shoot my two stories in KF, drive back and edit them from the 5 and 6.
One story was about the KF Sheriff's Office. The office sustained over $1million dollars in cuts that forced them to limit the number of inmates in their jail and lay off deputies. The county jail has been at its maximum capacity for a while and when criminals are arrested, they have no where to go and are released that day.
A second story dealt with the US Senate giving $10million dollars for drought relief to the Klamath Basin. The area has seen its worst drought since 2001. That money will go to farmers who have been asked to idle their land and to deepen wells that have dried up because of the drought.
The drive to KF was long, but beautiful. I spend part of the time ghost-writing my story so when I got back around 3:00 (way late to turn two stories for the evening shows) I had a small headstart. Thankfully, the producers were nice enough to schedule only story in the 5 and make the other "New at 6:00" and I got it all in.
I headed out to downtown Medford where there was a report of a stabbing earlier in the day. As soon as I got there, I started talking a few neighbors who were out on their porch. But before I got more than a few sentences in with them, a man pulled me to the side and said he saw the whole thing. He told me he was the one who committed the stabbing. When some people see news people they will go ahead and shmooze them up and say or do anything to get on camera and get a little attention. This guy seemed like he might fall into that category. I didn't initially trust him and was trying to get rid of him. After a minute or so, what he said matched up with the small amount of info we had. He told me where the stabbing happened, why it happened (personal argument), why he stabbed him (the victim was drunk, challenged him to a fight, and started attacking him). The alleged stabber said he had just come from the Police Department and they released him because it was self-defense. Right then a cop car drove by and the cop and the man exchanged glances with each other. As the cop got to the end of the street, the man said, "Watch, he's going to turn left." When the cop did, the man told me, "Oh (expletive)! He knows where the knife is." He started getting nervous and said he had to go. Before he left, he said, now I don't want you putting my face or my name on the news unless the police release it. But he hadn't told me his name yet, so I asked him what it was. He got nervous again, told me a name and the walked away quickly. I wasn't sure what to believe, but at that time, I thought he was telling the truth.
I interviewed a neighbor about his reaction to the crime and headed out.
Sure enough, on Saturday, Medford PD released details about the stabbing and the man's story and name matched up.
Later on Friday, I got to shoot football for The Blitz. I was sent to Ashland High's home game. It was their first game at home since their bleachers had been burned in an arson fire two months prior. The bleachers were remodeled and re-opened to a welcome crowd for the game. I got some video and sound for a short VOSOT in the 11.
The game was great too. Ashland dominated the first half. They were 0-2 going into Friday's game, but they moved some personell around. Their starting QB moved to Wideout and ended up paying off. They ran a Wildcat-style play were he received a lateral and threw downfield for a 60-yard touchdown. Later in the half, he caught a screen pass near the sidelines and bowled over a few defenders for a long touchdown. It was good to see Ashland win the first game in their new home.