Jack Hall Blog
ESCANABA, MI--JANUARY 27, 2015-1:22 A.M.
I'm just sitting here with my friend Charlie watching the big snowstorm hit the East Coast.
The television stations there are calling it the "Storm of the Century", because 12-to-30 inches of snow could fall in places like Boston and New York City. That certainly is a lot of snow, and with millions of people in the path of the storm, it is a big deal.

But here in the Upper Peninsula, we get a foot or more of snow, and we deal with it. We might have a snow day for our schools, but government offices don't shut down. Our entire transportation system doesn't get completely shut down.

Now, I know we don't have millions of people here in the U.P., with large interstate highways to clear. But I find it kind of amusing that heavy snow in places on the East Coast is met with a "the world is ending" attitude, while we kind of brush it off as an inconvience here in the U.P.

Hope you will be at the Wells Sports Complex Tuesday night as the Escanaba Eskymos host the Kingsford Flivvers. Game time is 7:00. If you can't be there in person, Mark Gauthier and I will broadcast the game live on WCHT-AM (600), and on-line at www.rrnsports.com.

One other thing. Congratulations to Escanaba's Becca Piron, Gladstone's Andy Olesak, and Mid Pen's Hunter Branstrom. All three are finalists for the MHSAA Scholar Athlete Awards.
They are amongst 120 kids statewide who have advanced from the 1.584 kids who were nominated. These kids have to have grade point averages of at least 3.5, plus playing varsity sports. They are what we mean by "student athlete". Good luck in the contest, kids!

---later, Jack

ESCANABA, MI-JANUARY 26, 2015-12:52 A.M.
This was, without a doubt, one of the worst weekends in years for me. I am not one to get sick very often. But the last few days, Motther Nature/Old Man Winter had their way with me.

I started feeling lousy Thursday night, so I guess it was a good thing that I was not up in Calumet with the Eskymo hockey team. I had to miss that game because of work that needed to be done in the newsroom. Well, Friday morning, it hit me, and hit me hard.

Without going into details, I spent all of Friday and all of Saturday either in my bed, or in the bathroom. It was awful. I never call in sick to work because I know what that does to co-workers trying to get their own jobs done, let alone adding my workload to the plate.

Friday, I had no choice. Thanks to Josh Kellner for broadcasting the Braves-Menominee basketball game for me, and to Don Curran for taking care of the Friday afternoon and evening news. I am slowly getting back in the saddle for the start of work on Monday!

Oh...congratulations to the Escanaba Eskymos for winning the U.P. Wrestling Championship on Saturday, and to the Gladstone Braves cheerleaders for winning their competitive cheer invitational on Saturday. I have posted information on both on our sports website, rrnsports.com. Time for sleep, though, because I am still a bit weak...

---later, Jack

ESCANABA, MI--JANUARY 23, 2015-2:19 A.M.
One of the great things about being on the radio in this community is I get to tell everyone about the positive things that are happening around here.
Yes, I do have to report those negative stories about crime, but I also get to tell you the stories of people doing good deeds here.

I am pleased to tell you that the new Delta Animal Shelter is up and running out along County Road 426. Many of us don't give a second thought to dogs and cats that end up in our neighborhoods without homes. Luckily, there are volunteers who care, and take care of them.
Thanks to John and Melissa Besse for their donation that helped to make this new animal shelter a reality. The Besse's have done so much for our community, and they often don't want any media publicity. In this case, I say, 'too bad'! I am publicizing it.

A ribbon-cutting for the new facility was held on Thursday, and the animal shelter will officially open to the public next Tuesday. And a public open house for everyone to check out the new facility will be held on Feb. 7. Let's all support this new facility!
---later, Jack

ESCANABA, MI--JANUARY 22, 2015-2:03 A.M.
Delta County has some pretty darn good high school wrestlers.
Even with numbers down as much as they are, the Escanaba Eskymos, Gladstone Braves, and the new kids on the block...the Bark River-Harris Broncos...are having great seasons.

Gladstone has to give away forfeits in several weight classes because of a lack of students. Athletic Director Matt Houle, himself a former wrestler and wrestling coach, says that this is a national trend. Fewer kids are wrestling these days.

But kids like Bobby Beauchamp, Jack Cronick, Jeremy Kadish, and Sam Taylor (pictured above against Ishpeming's Ethan Laitinen Wednesday), lead a very nice core group of Braves headed toward the U.P. and state tournaments.
In Escanaba, Coach Jamie Segorski has a good bunch of guys throughout the line-up. The team was hurt when its top senior wrestler was ineligible for this season.
Still, the Eskymos posted a perfect 84-0 score over Negaunee Wednesday night, and a 76-6 win over Kingsford in the second match of that triangular.
They've competed well at every tournament they have entered this winter, and the Eskymos don't enter weal "gimme" tournaments.

And it's exciting to see the Bark River-Harris program explode. Curtis Labadie was the kid who got things rolling there a couple of years ago. Now other kids like Zeke Oswald (pictured with Esky's Cory Chenier above) and Adam Kleikamp are competing well on the mat.

The Upper Peninsula Wrestling Championships are set for this Saturday in Marquette. Im predict that the Delta County teams will represent us quite well inside the Redman Gym.

---later, Jack

ESCANABA, MI--JANUARY 21, 2015-1:33 A.M.
It's never easy to lose. And it's very tough to keep losing every game you play, over and over and over again. That's what has happened to the Rapid River High School girls basketball team over the last two-and-a-half years. Fifty straight losses. With no end in sight, right?

Well, the Rockets girls finally go to taste what it feels like to win a game. Erica Rubick threw up an off-balance three-pointer that the Lord finally answered as a prayer. It happened Tuesday night as the final buzzer went off. Rapid River beat Carney-Nadeau, 53-50. The Rockets boys basketball players stormed the court to congratulate the girls on their long overude win.

Sometimes, we can take winning for granted. Maybe us Rapid River and Carney-Nadeau girls basketball fans took for granted those great years more than a decade ago. It was in those times that games between Rapid River and Carney were epic. The best game in all of Michigan in Class D on many of those nights. Jon Miller vs Paul Polfus on the sidelines.

Now, all of these years later, the feeling was a bit simpler. Just one night where the Rapid River girls could smile and be proud of the hard work they have put in during practice. Leave it to us old (older-timers) to testify to the nostalga of what happened Tuesday night!
---later, Jack

ESCANABA, MI--JANUARY 20, 2015-1:00 A.M.
Tuesday is a big day for politics in Michigan, and across the country.

For the first time that I can remember, the president's State of the Union speech falls on the same night as the Michigan governor's State of the State address. I am a little weary of what I am hearing will come from the speeches by President Obama and Governor Snyder.

The president will talk about offering free community college education to everyone, and requiring businesses to offer weeks of paid maternity leave when a baby is on the way. Oh, yeah, and free sick leave for all, above what they negotiated with their bosses.

How will we pay for all of this free stuff? Well, the same way we paid for those ObamaCare subsidies and the free cell phones for the poor. Borrow more money! Or, as Obama will propose Tuesday, raise taxes on rich people. Yep, the very people who provide jobs.

And then there's Governor Snyder, ready to go to the microphone to call on all of us to go to the ballot box in May to approve an increase in the state sales tax to 7%.

This proposal is to raise money to help the schools recover the money they will lose because of other legislation that takes the gasoline tax and dedicates it to the roads. Oh, well...

Personally, I will take a pass on both speeches.
I am more interested in the high school hockey game set for Tuesday night at the Wells Sports Complex. The Escanaba Eskymos vs the Marquette Redmen. The Eskymos have an 11-2-1 record, while the Redmen are 11-4-0. Both teams are riding winning streaks.
Hope you can come and watch the game at 7:00 Tuesday night. I will broadcast the game live on WCHT-AM (600), and on-line at www.rrnsports.com.

---later. Jack

ESCANABA, MI--JANUARY 16, 2015-2:28 A.M.
Christmas is over, but President Obama is out there acting like Santa Claus again.

This week, Obama proposed making community college free for all Americans. With no mention, by the way, of how he would pay for such a program. Then, two days later, Obama went to the microphones to say that all workers should have at least seven paid sick days a year. No matter what sick days they negotiated with their bosses.
And the president says he will sign an executive order that will give at least six weeks of PAID leave time to federal workers after the birth or adoption of a child. He feels that he can do this, without even bothering to check with Congress.
It looks to me that Obama literally thinks that he is the King, and that can just sign a piece of paper to do what he thinks is best, whenever he wants. But who pays for his generosity?

Yes, who pays for all of that free stuff, that he proposes?
Who will pay for that free community college tuition for all?
Well, who pays right now for the people who are getting their health care premiums at half price thanks to ObamaCare subsidies?
Who will work the extra hours at the office because Obama decided that people should get extra paid sick time? And by the way, surely, none of us know anyone who would suddenly become severely sick when they find out that they can get extra paid days off.

I am supposed to go to Traverse City to broadcast Eskymo hockey games at the North/South Hockey Showcase this weekend. I am supposed to be on the air for the Escanaba vs Bay City game at 8:00 Friday night, and for the Escanaba vs Macomb Dakota game Saturday at noon.

But, I feel a cough coming on. And I feel a bit of a fever, too. I still want to be paid, of course, if I don't go to Traverse City and just lay in my bed watching TV and eating hot dogs and potato chips. And I think our president agrees that I should be able to do that!

---later, Jack

ESCANABA, MI--JANUARY 15, 2015-2:09 A.M.
Sorry for the delay, but here are my impressions of Lambeau Field and the NFC Divisional Playoff Game that I was fortunate enough to attend between the Cowboys and Packers.

First, I will say that Lambeau Field is horrible in terms of seating, compared to Soldier Field in Chicago. Not in terms of view...the seat that I sat in had a perfect view of everything! But the "seats" must have been designed for skinny 115-pound person. At Soldier Field, even the cheap seats have backs and you can actually sit down.
At Lambeau, I was in a great seat in Section 108, but it was a bleacher seat that had so little room that you had to stand up for the entire game. In fact, I had to stand up sideways because of someone on my left elbow. I will say, however, that the atmosphere at Lambeau blows away the atmosphere at Soldier Field.
The parking lots filled with people enjoying themselves at, and around, Lambeau Field, just felt more "hometown" then when I hung out at Soldier Field's parking areas.
The Packers fans were great to us. I came dressed in my black Carhardt, and didn't care who won the game.
But Gladstone High School junior Dallas Potvin came with me dressed fully in Dez Bryant and Cowboys attire.
And everyone, both in the parking lot and in the stands, treated him well, even though the kid was rooting for the "other team". Well, except for one very drunk Packer fan who was just an ass! Other Packer fans took care of him, and I say thanks!
The parking situation at Lambeau is poor, compared to Soldier Field, but that is not a surprise. There is no major Interstate highway interchange leading into Lambeau as there is in Chicago, so, it should be no shock that you will wait an hour or more to get out of your parking spot and onto a street that will take you away from Lambeau. There is no subway station, either.

But, I suspect that this is part of the charm for all of you Packer fans. You like being in the National Football League, but still like being as "small town" as you can be. I think that is awesome. I never have been, and never will be, a Packers fan. But I do respect the fact that a major league team can locate, and thrive, in a town the size of Green Bay. I have posted more photos on my Facebook page.
---later, Jack

ESCANABA, MI--JANUARY 13, 2015-2:42 A.M.
It was an "up-and-down" weekend for me as I attended my first-ever National Football League playoff game between the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys at Lambeau Field.

I am a Chicago Bears fan, but my friend, Mike Dagenais, gave me two tickets to take Gladstone High School junior Dallas Potvin to the game. It was a great gesture on Mike's part, as Dallas has been suffering from a blood-spitting disorder that has seen him been unable to go to school for months. But the kid loves his Cowboys, so I was happy to bring him there.

As for the game itself, it was excellent. The seats that MikeyD gave us were awesome, and Dallas enjoyed himself. That is, until Dez Bryant was not credited with a key catch at the one yard-line with four minutes to go in the game. Everyone has an opinion on this. For me, I think the effort that Bryant made was excellent, and I believe that he caught that ball.

Well, on the way to the game, we encountered a problem on US-41. Someone exiting the highway changed his/her mind and came back on to the highway, crossing over the double white lines at the ramp. That person came right back into my lane, and I was forced to slam the breaks hard to avoid a crash. A short time later, my brake light came on.

Yep, this jerk's poor driving caused my brakes to start to give out. The brake lines in the front snapped, and fluid started leaking by the time we slowly made our way to Lambeau Field. If you accidentally go on an exit, suck it up and re-enter the highway on the other side, idiot!
Well, after the game, and after sitting in traffic for more than an hour, Dallas and I realized that my brakes were shot. I could barely stop the vehicle going at 20 miles per hour by pushing the peddle to the flloor. Since it was a Sunday evening, no mechanics would be open to fix the brakes. So, I had to get Dallas and me a hotel room for the night.

Dallas had none of his prescrption medications, and neither of us had a change of clothes, or the basics like toothpaste, deodarant, and a change of clothes. We made the most of it.

Monday morning, I was up early, trying to find some place to fix the brakes so we could come home. Several places I called were booked solid, but Midas was able to get us in.
But Midas was on the other side of town, and I had to pay $73 for a tow. Then, the guys at Midas worked for more than four hours to replace our brakes. My bill? Just over $654.
Well, again, Dallas and I made the most of it, and the boys at Midas allowed us to use a loner car to go to the mall for a while. We finally got home Monday night, but not only was I hundreds of dollars poorer, my co-workers were also inconvienced.

Susie Larson and Don Curran had to do extra interviews, write extra stories, and record extra newscasts, to cover for me, because I couldn't get back in time. Thanks to them for doing that. Dallas missed an important doctor's appointment. And I was unable to go Ishpeming to broadcast the Gladstone Braves basketball game. So, our Braves fans missed out.
All because someone realized they were going onto the wrong exit and abruptly cut back in front of someone going 60 miles per hour down the highway. That person's decision effected a lot of people, and caused financial hardship for me, and physical hardship for Dallas without his medication. I hope whoever that was got to wherever he/she needed to get to.

Simce getting home tonight, I have been playing "catch-up" trying to update the RRN News web page and the RRNSports.com web site. I took a bunch of photos at Lambeau and will post them early Wednesday morning, along with my thoughts on the experience!
---later, Jack

ESCANABA, MI-JANUARY 8, 2015--2:44 A.M.
I am not a big fan of the government telling a private person or business owner what to do.
So, when I learned that the Escanaba City Council would discuss condemning a building in the downtown area Wednesday night to condemn, I became interested.
I know that local governments have certain powers to regulate what goes on within their borders. I also know that there are laws like emminent domain that can literally alow the government to literally take your property if it is needed to build a highway, for example.

But in the case of this building at 630 First Avenue South, I have to agree with the City Council's decision to condemn this building and require that it be torn down. The building has been there for decades. At one point, it was Escanaba's first-ever car dealership.

Now, it has a huge hole where a roof should be, and there are parts of the brick building that appear ready to cave in at any minute. There is a flimsy orange fence around it that protects nobody from what could be a flying brick in the midst of a windstorm.
The building's owner, Todd Caron, appeared at the city council meeting to say that he has been trying to work with the city and he doesn't have the $100,000 needed to tear it down and to remove the rubble. He told the council that he simply needs more time.
Well, his arguments rang hollow to me when he said that three engineers told him that the building was not in danger of collapse.
When he was asked to show written evidence of that declaration, Mr. Caron could not provide it. He says that he didn't know that he needed to have that in writing, but since he is a man of business, I find that hard to believe.

I also don't believe that the City of Escanaba is really worried about this building falling down on someone. I believe that some city employees and councilmembers see this building is an eyesore, and it is. It appears to me that this is the real reason that they want it gone.
This building has been decaying for a long time, and it is ugly. I have walked around the perimeter of the building, and at no time was I fearful that it would fall over on me.

Having said that, the lady who's house is next to this building, and the business owner located on the other side of it, both raised their concerns at Wednesday's meeting. They live and work there. It was their comments that convinced me that the condemnation was the right thing to do.
ON ANOTHER TOPIC: I hope you will tune in for Gladstone Braves vs Mid Peninsula boys basketball at 7:30 Thursday night on AM-600 and www.rrnsports.com!
---later, Jack

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