Jack Hall Blog
GLADSTONE, MI--APRIL 23, 2014-3:00 A.M.
The Gladstone High School baseball team finally got to play a home game Tuesday night against the Negaunee Miners.
 
It was not a pleasant evening weather-wise, as the temperature was 38 degrees at game time and dropped to 33 degrees by the end of the game.

The Braves fell behind 3-0 when Cole Francis ripped a three-run homer for the Miners in the first inning.
 
But Christian Groleau came through in a big way for Gladstone, despite a bum shoulder. He went 3 for 3 with 4 runs batted in, including the huge three-run triple in the bottom of the fifth inning that gave the Braves a 5-4 lead. Then Christian (pictured)...who's better known as "Crazy Eight"...came in to pitch and got the final six outs to preserve a 6-4 Gladstone win.
 
I'm proud of Christian for coming through when he couldn't perform at his best. And I'm also proud of him for his spot of the Gladstone High School Robotics team that will be competing in the FIRST Robotics World Championships in St. Louis this weekend. He and Christian Tackman are examples of kids who can do it on the field, but also in the classroom.

I also want to give a shout out to the Escanaba High School softball team. The girls played in the snow in Negaunee on Tuesday, and won two games in a doubleheader. Michelle LaFave had two home runs, and Becca Piron and Syd Gafner also went deep. Great job, girls!!
 
Good luck to the Escanaba, Gladstone, and Houghton Robotics Teams in St. Louis. It is a time that you kids will never forget, so soak it all in, and remember, U.P. POWER!!
 
---later, Jack

ESCANABA, MI--APRIL 22, 2014-2:23 A.M.
The Boston Marathon was held Monday for the 117th straight year. Yes, they have been holding this event on Patriot's Day in Boston since 1897.

Last year, the event was marred with tragedy, as terrorist bombs ripped through the area near the finish line.
 
Those pressure cookers filled with metal fragments killed three people, injured more than 200 people, and forced the race to be stopped before everyone had finished.
 
Well, this year's event went on with tightened security, of course.
 
And in my opinion, it was a big "Screw You" to the terrorists. Some 36,000 people competed in various divisions. Men, women, young, old. Even people in their wheelchairs. It was a great event.
 
There were about a dozen Upper Peninsula residents who entered the various divisions. One of them was Escanaba's Kaylyn Bernard. She's 27 years old, and is a very good runner. Kaylyn was there in Boston last year when the bombings took place, and she made it her goal that she would come back this year and finish that race...crossing two finish lines.
 
I spoke with her mom, Jayne, as the race was going on. It was an enmotional interview. She took the pictures that you see here. You can listen to my interview with Jayne on rrnsports.com.
 
I couldn't get ahold of Kaylyn after the race because the cell phones were dying there in Boston due to heavy usage by folks from around the world.
 
I know Jayne, her husband Marv (who called me to tell me everything was alright Monday night), and Kay's younger brother Kyle. I was happy to see Kay go back to Boston, and as her mom put it, "face her fears".

Also, want to give a shoutout to Lindsey Lusardi. She was an excellent cross country runner for Gladstone High School a few years back.
 
Lindsey is 21 now, and she ran her first-ever Boston Marathon on Monday, and finished the race in about three and a half hours. Congratulations to her!
Couple of quick things...the Gladstone High School baseball team WILL play Negaunee in a doubleheader Tuesday afternoon at 4:30 in Gladstone. I will broadcast the games on NewsTalk 600 and on-line at www.rrnsports.com .
 
Escanaba boys tennis team's matches against West Iron County (Tuesday) and Menominee (Thursday) are postponed. Escanaba's baseball game against Negaunee on Thursday is cancelled. But Tuesday's track meet between Escanaba, Marquette, and Menominee will be held as scheduled. And the Eskymo softball team will still play in Negaunee on Tuesday.

This spring sports season is off to a slow start. I will keep you updated.
 
---later, Jack

ESCANABA, MI--APRIL 20, 2014-1:11 A.M.
I have, angrily, signed up for a health insurance plan, under the Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare.
 
I am offended that I was forced to do so, and I feel that it is un-American to require citizens to do so. So much for this being a free country.

As an individual with no wife or kids, I was perfectly content with how things were going in my life. But, no! President Obama, and Congress, led by former U.P. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee), decided that they knew better what was good for me than I did.

And so, this winter, I had to decide whether to let the government take hundreds dollars out of my pocket to pay a "fee", or to pay a monthly premium for a health insurance plan that I do not need.

So, I signed up for a plan that will see me pay hundreds to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan every month. And if I do get sick or get into a car accident, Blue Cross won't cover much of it...if any at all, actually....due to deductibles, co-pays, and co-insurance.

That still all comes out of my pocket, as if I had no health insurance at all.

Being forced to purchase any product in our country should be unconstitutional. I believe that to force you to buy insurance under the threat of a tax is extortion. Pure and simple.

Our corrupt federal government, backed up by the equally bought-and-paid-for Supreme Court, used the Constitution's taxation powers to require that every one of us send money to the insurance companies, whether we ever get sick or not. If we refuse, then we get taxed.

And so then the federal government gets extra money. What a nice set-up for the Feds!

Oh, yes, I'm sorry. I forgot. I qualify for the free prenatal care that the federal law requires! Yes, the next time I get pregnant, I am content that I will be covered! And oh yes, I am covered when my kids need dental care. Except, I have no kids! But I pay anyway.

What a scam. Shows what this country is coming to.

---later, Jack

ESCANABA, MI--APRIL 18, 2014-2:33 A.M.
Like I wrote in yesterday's blog, I love hockey.
 
All of you who know me know that. Hockey is in my blood. And the Stanley Cup Playoffs are just the best tournament of any pro sport out there.
 
On the first two days of the playoffs, there have been seven games played. Three of them went to sudden-death overtime, including tonight's Chicago-St. Louis game that the Blues won in triple overtime.

The Detroit Red Wings haven't played yet. The Wings have their first game against the Boston Bruins Friday night in Boston. The game will be broadcast on Magic 97 WGLQ (FM 97.1) across the Upper Peninsula....and all of the Wings playoff games will be on WGLQ.
 
This playoff series is special because the Red Wings fought so hard just to make the playoffs for a 23rd straight year, despite numerous top players being injured. I'm excited!
 
Good luck to the Escanaba Eskymos and Gladstone Braves baseball teams in their games downstate this weekend. I wish I could be there, but I am needed here at the radio station this weekend because others are off for the Easter holiday. I will keep you up to date throughout the weekend on www.rrnsports.com, thanks to the mom's who give me the photos!
 
Also, good luck to our softball teams up in the Superior Dome this weekend.

--later, Jack

ESCANABA, MI--APRIL 17, 2014-3:19 A.M.
The best time of the year is upon us. The Stanley Cup Playoffs. In my opinion, the path to the National Hockey League championship is tougher than any other major pro sport.

Yes, I know, football is grueling and the month of playoffs leading up to the Super Bowl is intense. I know that the NBA Basketball playoffs are also intense, with very physical play and lots of games that go down to the wire. The Major League Baseball playoffs and the World Series are intense, too, especially, for the mental part of the game.

But the NHL playoffs are just more emotional, intense, and competitive, in my opinion. The last-ranked playoff team is very rarely overmatched by the team that won the division and conference titles. That usually leads to very close games, as we saw tonight in Montreal's overtime win over Tampa Bay (pictured), and Pittsubrgh's late win over Columbus.

And don't forget, the Detroit Red Wings open the playoffs Friday night!!
 
---later, Jack

ESCANABA, MI--APRIL 16, 2014-2:03 A.M.
I am not a Green Bay Packers fan. I love the Chicago Bears.
 
But I still enjoyed the Packers' Tailgate Tour event Tuesday night at the U.P. State Fairgrounds. The fact that the Packers came to Escanaba, for free, to meet with U.P. fans, shows that the team cares about the Upper Peninsula.
 
Three current players (Mason Crosby, Jarrett Bush, Brad Jones) and three former players (Lynn Dickey, James Lofton, Paul Coffman) joined Packers CEO Mark Murphy on the stage for a question-and-answer period. And they posed for pictures, and signed autographs. There was a standing-room-only crowd on hand, and it was good to see so many U.P. residents...young and old...enjoying themselves.
 
And the Packers are donating every penny that was raised in the event to Lakestate Industries, which is a local business that helps to find job opportunities for people with disabilities in Delta County.
 
You can see a bunch of photos, listen to interviews, and see a couple of video clips, by going to our RRNSports.com web site. CLICK HERE  to see that story.
 
---later, Jack

ESCANABA, MI--APRIL 15, 2014-12:27 A.M.
Ah, yes. April 15th. The deadline for us to file our income taxes. A day for politicians to make fine speeches and for conservative groups to talk about just how high our taxes are.

On average, our tax burden, adjusted for inflation, is actually lower than it was a generation ago. But, most of us still feel overtaxed...I know I sure do. And most of us feel that the government wastes much of the money that we pay in taxes. As for filing income taxes, well, I'm happy to say that mine have been filed for weeks!

NOW THIS about flooding in our area:
 
Delta County Emergency Management Coordinator Bob Berbohm says there's already been problems at the Tacoosh River, where the water went over the banks on Sunday because of ice jams. The Delta County Road Commission came out and broke up some of the ice jams to free the water.
 
The Rapid River is also running high thanks to ice jams, and Berbohm says they had a couple of incidents with ice jams on the Escanaba River as well on Sunday. In one case, a propane tank trailer was washed away and water surrounded a home. But the Road Commission came out to that location and helped to break the jam, and the water started to recseed.
 
Berbohm says that the Upper Peninsula Power Company is trying to help by opening the gates at the dam, sending as much water as possible into Lake Michigan.
 
Berbohm says that he has never seen ice that's so thick and packed like he is seeing on the county's rivers this spring. He says that people who live near the rivers should use extreme caution and keep an eye out for changing water conditions.
 
And don't look now, but Wednesday promises to be a day filled with wet, heavy snow, with a healthy dosage of rain for dessert. Will this winter ever end?
 
---later, Jack

HERMANSVILLE, MI--APRIL 14, 2014-2:30 A.M. CT
Why do vacations have to come to an end? Haha. Mine is wrapping up in a few hours as another blast from Old Man Winter is on its way to Delta County.

During the nine days I was gone, I saw temperatures in the 50's and 60's in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. I had a great time walking around Becky's family's property, or sitting on a picnic table in the community park eating a ham sandwich and chips. Or going to the zoo (pictured here).
 
It wasn't a Florida vacation, or a trip to Cancun or to Hawaii. But to me, it was an excellent week.
 
Before I go...a congratulations to Gladstone second grader Austin Solis for winning a national gold medal championship at the NUWAY national wrestling finals on Sunday. Several other Gladstone wrestlers also did well there. I have posted the results at rrnsports.com.
 
And as for the weather? Well, a Winter Weather Advisory is in effect until 2:00 Monday afternoon across the Central U.P. for rain, snow, and high winds. Take it easy out there.
 
---later, Jack 

MUNDELEIN, IL--APRIL 11, 2014-1:39 A.M. CT
Good news and bad news.
 
The good news is that I went to a mall down here Thursday and got some great deals on new shoes and a couple pairs of jeans. The bad news is that Becky wasn't feeling well, so we did not go to the Chicago Cubs baseball game as planned.

That might be good news, too, since the Cubs lost to Pittsburgh, 5-4. I also bought a few bumper stickers, and now the back of my vehicle looks awesome. I need to find a Red Wings bumper sticker to finish decorating my Ford Escape!
 
I want to wish the Escanaba Eskymos baseball team good luck in their season-opener Friday evening at Appleton North, and the same good luck to the Gladstone Braves as they play in Appleton on Saturday. Sorry I can't be there, but I will rely on some of the Moms to give me some photos and stats and I will let you know how the boys did on RRNSports.com.

And I will be with both of my baseball teams next week.
 
Also, I want to congratulate former NMU goaltender Jared Coreau for being called up again by the Detroit Red Wings. I know that it's only for this weekend while the Wings play against Carolina and St. Louis, and I know that Jared has struggled in the minor leagues.
 
But this is a good experience for him to be around an NHL playoff team and I wish him the best.

---later, Jack

MUNDELEIN, IL--APRIL 10, 2014-12:55 A.M. CT
What were you doing in the Spring of 1990?
 
As for me, I was completing my freshman year as a student at Northern Michigan University.
 
I was a skinny kid who was taking 16 credits and also working at the North Wind campus newspaper, working at WJPD Radio, and working in the NMU Sports Information office.
 
Well, the Spring of 1990 was the last time the Detroit Red Wings did not make it to the Stanley Cup playoffs.
 
This 2013-14 season looked like it would be the end of the streak for the Wings because so many top players have been out with injuries.

But the Red Wings have buckled down and in their last 13 games, they have won eight, lost three, and lost two in overtime or shootouts. That's 18 out of a possible 26 points, and we can mostly think the kids that were brought up from the minor leagues for that streak.

Guys like Gustaf Nyquist, Thomas Jurco, Thomas Tatar, Luke Glendenning, and Riley Sheahan have been huge. Sheahan scored the goal Wednesday night that sent the game against Pittsburgh into overtime, guaranteeing the Wings the last point they needed in the standings to clinch a playoff spot.
 
It's an amazing accomplishment for the Red Wings franchise to be in the playoffs for 23 straight years. That is the longest such streak of any team in any professional sport.
 
Can the Wings pull the big upset in the first round against either the Boston Bruins of Pittsburgh Penguins? I wouldn't put it past this MASH unit that is suddenly coming together!
 
And one quick thing....I went to a zoo down here today and it was an enjoyable time with family, with a nice warm breeze. Very relaxing. Going to the Green Bay zoo later this week, probably on Sunday, once we head our way north!
 
---later, Jack

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