Jack Hall Blog
ESCANABA, MI--OCTOBER 30, 2014-2:43 A.M.
The beer is flowing in Escanaba.
 
No, I don't mean at my apartment. But out at the Delta County Airport, where Bell's Brewery has started production of beer at its "Upper Hand Brewery".

Now, they are starting off slow as they get this operation going. The beer in bottles won't be available until sometime in December. And the company's Upper Hand Lager variety won't be available, even on tap, until sometime in November.

But the first kegs of the company's Upper Peninsula Ale (UPA) and Escanaba Black Beer are being produced here, using the water from here in God's Country.

Pike's Distributing has picked up the first 64 kegs of beer (48 half-barrels and 16 quarter-barrels) and is ready to take the beer to establishments in both Escanaba and Gladstone.

The kick-off event to introduce this product into the community is set for Thursday night, when a "party/pub crawl" is scheduled. No, there won't be drunks crawling along Ludington Street to go from place to place (at least I hope not!).
 
But the new locally-produced beer will be unveiled to the community, starting at 6:00 p.m. at the Stonehouse Restaurant. The beer will then be unveiled at other places, like Hereford and Hops, Mugshots, and Ernie's Irish Pub. And a few other places, too.

This is good for the community. Even if you are not a beer-drinker, having a business expand into the community is a positive event. I wish the folks at Bell's good luck in their launch, and I might be forced to stop by one of the "launch events" As a reporter, of course!

---later, Jack

ESCANABA, MI--OCTOBER 29, 2014-2:39 A.M.
I am not a Green Bay Packers fan. I have always loved my Chicago Bears.
 
But part of my job here at the Radio Results Network is to publicize events that the Packers hold here in the Upper Peninsula, and I can tell you that I totally respect that organization's desire to reach out to its fans here.
 
Whenever a Packer player comes here to the U.P. to visit with fans (especially kids), I try to show up and do interviews and post photos. It is one the thing that I respect most about the Green Bay Packers: the fact that the team truly cares about its community, and that includes the Upper Peninsula.

So, I was pleased to be at the Escanaba Wal-Mart store on Tuesday as Green Bay cornerback Davon House came to sign autographs. The event was to support the Marine Corps "Toys For Tots" program in Delta and Dickinson Counties. And there was a great turnout.

I spoke for a few minutes with Davon House, and he talked about how much the guys appreciate the support they get from outside of Green Bay. The Upper Peninsula included, along with going to play on the road and seeing Packer fans in opposing stadiums.

I applaud House and his organization for taking the time to help kids in this community.

---later, Jack

ESCANABA, MI--OCTOBER 28, 2014-1:44 A.M.
Just got my quote from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan for my health care premium that begins on January 1st. It is an increase of just about 18 percent, per month, compared to this year. For the same coverage that I had in this first year under Health Care Reform.

Yep, ObamaCare really came through with its promise of making health care "affordable".
 
I hope that all of you are able to get insurance either through your employer, or can find another, more affordable option. Unfortunately here in the U.P., there is literally no competition on the healthcare.gov Health Care Marketplace: it's Blue Cross, or nothing.

I believe that for people in regions like ours, where there are no companies willing to offer plans up here, that we should be able to shop for insurance coverage across state lines.

I mean, if you are going to FORCE me to have health coverage or take money out of my pocket to pay an IRS-enforced penalty, then I should at least have the CHOICE to buy that coverage from a provider in Wisconsin, for example. Because, right now, the government is literally forcing me to do business with Blue Cross/Blue Shield, under the threat of an IRS penalty.

Now, how can THAT be Constitutional?

---later, Jack 

ESCANABA, MI--OCTOBER 27, 2014-3:06 A.M.
I want to congratulate the 18 Upper Peninsula high school football teams for making it to the state playoffs.
 
The qualifiers were announced Sunday night by the Michigan High School Athletic Association. Fifteen U.P. teams are in the 256-team "11-man" tourney, while three U.P. teams are in the 16-team "eight-man" tournament.
 
Locally, the Bark River-Harris Broncos (pictured) are in the playoffs for the first time since 2009. Coach Al Stenberg and his three talented runners went 7-2 this season and will play at Lake Linden-Hubbell next Saturday afternoon. It's great to see BR-H back in the playoffs!

And in the "eight-man" game, the Rapid River Rockets are back yet again. The program was supposed to be down after the graduation of Jake Pearson and Hayden Hardwick. But, nope!
 
The Rockets are 9-0 again, behind the young quarterback Mason Berglund, but also behind the strong leadership of Lucas Bero and Mike Casey.
 
Austin Wicklund, too.

Rapid River hosts Engadine in the first round this Friday night, and I will broadcast it on Kool 105.5, AM-600, and on-line at www.rrnsports.com.

One more shoutout: to Kelton Heller. The 2011 Escanaba High School graduate is with the United States Air Force, and is stationed at a British Air Base. Kelton was picked to be one of the men to hold the giant American flag as the national anthem was played before Sunday's Detroit Lions-Atlanta Falcons NFL game at London's Wembley Stadium.

Kelton Heller has represented us well while in the Air Force, and Sunday was "Kelton J. Heller Day" in Escanaba. Kelton is an example of a good role model for our younger kids.
 
---later, Jack

ESCANABA, MI--OCTOBER 24, 2014-3:15 A.M.
It is a late night for me only because I chose it to be that way.
 
I could have had all of my news and sports work done earlier, but I decided to take my time and also spend some time with one of my friends who I haven't seen much of recently.
 
So, we watched the incredible comeback win by the Detroit Red Wings, as well as the Denver Broncos win over San Diego...while at the same time, I updated the RRN web site.

Earlier in the evening, I was a part of the Candidates Forum for the two men seeking the District Court judgeship. We at RRN worked hard to set this up, after the Delta County League of Women Voters decided not to invite the judge candidates to their forum last week.

That decision, in my opinion, was a huge mistake by an organization that I respect.
 
This judge race between Delta County Prosecutor Steve Parks and Escanaba defense attorney John Economoplous is the one that the people in the community are talking about. We are selecting a new judge (for the retiring Glenn Pearson) for the first time in more than a decade.
 
This is important to our community. See all of the yard signs around town?
 
RRN's Don Curran worked hard behind the scenes to organize this over the past ten days, and he got help from the City of Escanaba, Charter Communications, the Escanaba Daily Press, and our friends at WDBC/WYKX Radio to pull off this debate.

We at RRN tried to arrange this forum because we believed that it was important for all of you to hear these two men give their opinions on important issues like a possible Delta County Drug Court, as the election date approaches.
 
That's why Don Curran worked so hard to get this event scheduled, and it is also why I agreed to participate as one of the questioners.
 
Personally, I felt that the forum went well. Us journalists asked what I believe are relevant questions about crime, punishment, and mercy in our community.
 
I hope that the people who were there, and those who watched on TV and listened on radio, got some information that will help them to make an informed vote on November 4.
 
---later, Jack

ESCANABA, MI--OCTOBER 23, 2014-1:43 A.M.
A terrorist attack in Canada.
 
This hits me hard. To see people screaming, running for their lives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, well, it makes me sad. Also, it makes me very angry.
 
(Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper after Wednesday's terrorist attack)
 
No, this was not 9/11, when thousands of Americans were killed. But this hurts the Canadian people as if it was. Especially because this was a Canadian citizen who switched to the radical Islamic thinking of ISIS, taking a gun, walking up to an unarmed Canadian military member, and shooting him in cold blood, at my country's national war memorial.

Then, this man started running into the Parliament building (simliar to the United States Capitol in DC) and he started shooting. Fortunately, he didn't kill anyone else, before being shot dead by the Sargent At-Arms of the Parliament. This is bigger than "just one death".
 
I have been to downtown Ottawa many times. I have seen how informal everything is. There is only one major highway, and it crosses the canal into Quebec, not next to Parliament itself.
 
The areas around Parliament Hill are a series of narrow downtown streets.
 
There are hotels, restaurants, and other businesses right across the street from where you would go to visit Parliament.
 
They call it "Parliament Hill" because the building is on the top of a hilly area that is all grassy. There are places for people who work in nearby office buildings to eat lunch.
 
There is a big pond there where ducks swim and eat the popcorn that you throw to them.

Canadians have always been able to walk freely there, all the way up to the building entrance, where the Prime Minister and other MP's (similar to U.S. Congressmen) do their business.
 
They do the people's business there, and the people have always been welcome to be there.

Now, because of one nut, someone who was told by someone that the world owed him a living and that Canada's support of the American fight against ISIS meant that he was harmed...well, now, it may never be the same in downtown Ottawa.
 
What a shame. And it pisses me off.
 
May the soldier who lost his life today defending Canada rest in peace. And may the person who decided to attack the heart of the Canadian people today rot in Hell forever.

---later, Jack

ESCANABA, MI---OCTOBER 22, 2014-1:33 A.M.
The Cinderella Story for Major League Baseball is the Kansas City Royals.

Who would have thought that the Royals, with such a small payroll compared to bigger-city teams, would sweep their way into the World Series?
 
Kansas City? Not in the playoffs since 1985, when I was barely a teenager trying to learn how to hit in at a Michigan high school?

Wow! But yes, this whole KC Royals thing shows that anything can happen in baseball. Yes, the Royals got popped Tuesday night, 7-1, by the San Francisco Giants. But they were due for a bad game, and I think that this World Series is far from over.

I am a Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs fan. I am also usually a fan of the underdog. So, I will keep rooting for the Kansas City Royals to win what no one ever thought they'd win.

Closer to home, real quick.
 
The Marquette High School girls volleyball team wore pink uniforms Tuesday night in honor of breast cancer survivors as the Redettes faced the Gladstone Braves in Gladstone.
 
It's good to see girls recognizing that their elders have had to deal with a horrible disease, and that someday they will have to deal with it, too. Gladstone's girls have also wore pink in honor of that disease's victims, although the Braves didn't tonight. Ishpeming and Negaunee also wore pink Tuesday night. Kudos to all of the girls for lending their support to the cause.

---later, Jack

ESCANABA, MI--OCTOBER 21, 2014-3:17 A.M.
Before I go to bed this early morning, I want to send my best wishes to Nick Nolde.
 
He is Escanaba High School's new athletic director, having worked in that same role at Bark River-Harris last year. I have known Nick forever. He is an Escanaba High School graduate, and he is proud of it.
 
The fact that he has brain cancer just floors me. Nick is just 34 years old. He does not deserve this. His wife, Jess, doesn't either. Nick is now down at the University of Michigan Medical Center. Treatment continues today, and he will be there for at least the next six weeks.
 
He and his wife are staying at a hotel for the time being, and I pray that they get to at least have a small amount of enjoyment there. Nick has had such an incredible attitude through all of this.
 
So positive. Never once has he done the "woe is me" thing with us publically. Maybe he has, with his wife, and that is private and totally acceptable in my opinion.
 
What is wrong with showing a feeling of despair at times? I am praying for Nick, although I am not too sure that the Lord will take my requests of love into much account!
 
But I hope that He will. And I hope that you all will, too.

---later, Jack

ESCANABA, MI--OCTOBER 16, 2014-2;26 A.M.
What if someone walked into an Upper Peninsula hospital, and said he just returned from a trip to West Africa and wasn't feeling good? What would our local hospitals do, just in case that person had the deadly Ebola virus?
 
Federal officials have said that all hospitals in the country need to be ready. So, I asked Lanna Scannell at OSF Saint Francis Hospital here in Escanaba: are we ready? She says we are.
 
Scannell told me that there are protocols in place to deal with an infected person. She says they have provided specialized training for their staff, and have purchased new protective gear.

They've identified 'negative pressure areas' within the hospital where such patients would be quaranteened. And she says the hospital is in the process of identifying a team of caregivers who would work specifically with those types of patients.

But from all of those assurances, I still don't know a few things. How would an effected person be isolated from other patients, and how quickly? How would that person be transported out of here and on to a larger hospital outside of the Upper Peninsula?
 
By ambulance? By small plane? By helicopter? And what about those drivers or pilots? Would they be given Hazmat suits? Would the suits even work, as we apparently see that nurse in Dallas not being able to avoid the virus.

But here's my biggest observation. The media is blowing this out of proportion. Remember on January 1, 2000, when Y2K was going to be a major technolgical worldwide disaster? Remember the SARS epidemic? How about the H1N1 bird flu? Just a few weeks ago everyone was worried about Enterovirus D-68. Now, it's Ebola.

Yep, I know that people have died during the above examples. But I am not convinced that Ebola is "the plague that shall visit the Earth",which will lead to devastation on the scale that was seen in the Stephen King novel/TV miniseries "The Stand". I hope that I am right!

---later, Jack

ESCANABA, MI--OCTOBER 14, 2014-1:24 A.M.
I enjoy going to high school sporting events in our area, watching the kids play football, volleyball, tennis...and run cross-country. I had fun on the Rapid River sideline up in Eben on Saturday, taking videos and photos for my RRNSports.com web site.
 
Sometimes, being on the sidelines is more fun than going to broadcast a game!

But I must admit that tonight, I enjoyed having no games to cover. I hung out with my friend Charlie, who recorded a bunch of Travel Channel shows on haunted places.
 
It was fun to sit here, relax, and learn about the pirates house in Savannah, Georgia, and a lighthouse on Lake Erie in Ohio. Do I believe in ghosts? Um, well, I don't know!

I will be at the Escanaba vs Gladstone volleyball match Tuesday night!

---later, Jack

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