|Jack Hall Blog|
Most of the time when I hear about protests and demonstrations organized by unions, I turn my head the other way. Not because I am anti-union....my dad was a UAW member at Ford for 36 years, so I grew up in a union household.
But in many cases these days, I feel that some unionized workers are unrealistic when they expect to keep getting raises and cheap health care and fully-funded retirement packages....while other people within their own communities work just as hard but don''t get a fraction of the compensation and benefits.
But on Thursday in downtown Escanaba, I found myself agreeing with much of what the postal workers were saying as they protested in front of Senator Carl Levin''s office. I think the US Postal Service is wrong to target the Kingsford Mail Processing Center for closure.
Sending our mail to Green Bay to be processed, and then back to the U.P., makes no sense to me. I fail to see how that will save very much money, since the employees at the Kingsford facility would not be reduced...they would be simply transferred elsewhere.
And that is the problem. Besides the inevitable slowdown in mail delivery, the men and women who work at the Kingsford facility would become a part of whatever community they are transferred to. And their money goes with them, not being spent in Upper Peninsula businesses. I don''t necessarily have a problem with having only five-day-a-week mail delivery. I mean, we don''t get mail on many Mondays due to federal holidays, and we survive. But closing the U.P.''s only mail processing center is a dumb idea.
On another note....congtratulations to Escanaba High School senior Kevin Gendron. He has signed a scholarship offer to play golf at Northern Michigan University. He was the best golfer in the Upper Peninsula last year, and besides that, Kevin is an excellent kid. I''m real happy for him.
|Escanaba High School baseball coach Kirk Schwalbach is going to hate me for what I am about to write.....I miss those tense, one-run wars that the Eskymos have had over the years with the Norway Knights. The Eskymos on Wednesday overwhelmed the Knights, 13-0, in a game shortened to five innings by the mercy rule.|
That makes things a lot easier on Schwalbach, and the kids all got to play and get some experience. That is all great.
But, I just loved those white-knuckle games that were decided by one timely hit. Or a bunt that either did, or didn''t get down. Norway Coach Tony Adams is about as passionate as a coach that we have here in the U.P. He knows his stuff.
And Adams also knows that with nine freshmen on his roster, he is in a rebuilding year. The Knights really can''t compete with the top teams right now. Norway''s kids are trying hard, but it is going to take time. Even though I am nostalgic about those previous matchups, it was great to see the Eskymos succeed at Marion Park on Wednesday. Remember, we have five freshmen ourselves. One of the Eskymos'' few seniors, Alex DeHaan (pictured here), was tough on the mound.
Nice win for the Eskymos. Now, two doubleheaders ahead this weekend!
|Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum dropped out of the Republican presidential race on Tuesday. From a practical point of view, it makes sense, since he was way behind Mitt Romney in the number of delegates earned for the Republican Presidential nomination.|
By doing so, he makes himself a vice-presidential possibility, or, maybe a Cabinet post if Romney were to defeat President Obama this fall.
I don''t like the fact that he had to drop out this week, considering that half of the nation''s states haven''t even voted yet. And one of those states is Santorum''s own state of Pennsylvania, which votes on April 24th. If I lived in any of those states, I would be disappointed that my vote won''t matter.
Sure, they can still vote for Santorum, who''s name is still on the ballot. Or, you can vote for Newt Gingrich or Ron Paul, who are both still challenging Romney. It''s sad that it''s not even May yet, but the so-called "superdelegates" have pretty much handed the nomination to Romney. I think that a longer battle would have been good for the GOP. Oh, well...
Congrats to the Escanaba Eskymo baseball team. A nice 12-2 win over Marquette to open the season. Now it''s on to Norway for a Wednesday afternoon game. Hope you will tune in on AM-600 and rrnsports.com. at 5:00 ET.
Vacations never seem to last long enough. Mine was a lot of fun, as you can probably tell from my previous blog entries. Then, when I got home Saturday night, reality set in. Vacation is over! I had a great Easter holiday with my parents, sister and girlfriend...the traditional ham dinner along with plenty of chocolate.
But what was even sweeter for me was to sit with my dad and watch the Detroit Tigers rally to beat the Boston Red Sox, 13-12, in 11 innings. My dad is a passionate Tigers fan, and he moaned and complained every time Tigers pitchers gave up runs. Haha. Then, when the Tigers won the game, he looked at my mom and said, "told you they''d win in the end''.
Locally, high school baseball season begins today (Tuesday) as the Escanaba Eskymos host the Marquette Redmen. It will be a chilly night at Al Ness Field, so bring your heavy jacket! These early-season games are tough to play, but also, you have to try to get them in, considering our future lower Michigan and Wisconsin opponents have been playing all along.
Kirk Schwalbach takes over as head coach. I think that he has handled all of this winter and early-spring''s drama with class, keeping the focus on the kids. It is truly too bad that all of what happened, happened the way that it did. But now the season is starting, and these guys have the ability to make some noise!
Our first game is at 5:30 Tuesday afternoon. Hope to see a lot of Eskymo supporters there! Rookie Devin Olsen is pictured here.
It''s always fun to go to Wrigley Field. And it''s fun to walk around "Wrigleyville", a collection of sports stores and bars in the three blocks around the greatest baseball field that God ever invented.
I think that because it is so much fun to be here, the Cubs front office has been content to have bad or average teams because the execs know that people will still come to the games.
Today''s game against Washington was a great game. Ryan Dempster pitched his ass off, matching the Naionals'' star Stephen Strasburg pitch for pitch. The Cubs led, 1-0, entering the eighth inning.
But Kerry Wood came on in relief of Dempster and walked in the tying run on a 3-2 pitch that looked to be a strike...but I was in the nosebleed seats, so I can''t say for sure. But everyone was booing!!
So, the Cubs lost 2-1. I had fun though! This vacation needs to go on forever! I know, I know. Work Monday morning....
Just a quick note to congratulate Brent Kallio on a huge accomplishment.
The 2010 Escanaba High School graduate helped his Atlanta Knights Junior A hockey team win a national championship on Tuesday at the USA Hockey Tier III National Finals in Rochester, Minnesota. Kallio scored two goals as the Knights beat the Long Island (NY) Royals, 4-3, in the national championship game.
Think about that for a second. NATIONAL championship. We get excited for our local kids who win district and regional championships, and state championships, of course. And those are all awesome accomplishents. The Gladstone Braves girls basketball team and the Carney-Nadeau boys basketball team come to mind off the top of my head.
But this is a national championship. And our local boy Kallio scored two of his team''s four goals. He wasn''t just along for the ride. Brent Kallio was a factor, a big one, in that game. Can you just imagine what he was feeling when this photo was taken?
And to think that he almost didn''t play hockey once his Eskymo High School career ended. Congratulations again, Brent. It''s awesome to be able to share this moment with you, even from far away.
I always love to report on how our local high school athletes do after they graduate. When I see them have success, it makes me feel good, especially kids who I've watched grow up over the years. Two quick examples today: 2010 Escanaba High School graduate Brent Kallio, and 2012 Gladstone High School graduate MacKenzie Shepeck.
Brent was a member of the Eskymo hockey team for the 2009 and 2010 seasons, and he had 15 goals and 15 assists in his senior year. Since leaving Escanaba, he has gotten better. He spent a year with a dreadful Alpena junior team, and then finally got his chance with the Atlanta Knights Tier III junior team.
Today (Tuesday), Kallio and his team will play for a national championship at the USA National Championships in Minnesota. Brent has scored five points in four tournament games at nationals. I'm not aware of any Escanaba natives who have been a part of national championship hockey teams, and I'm sure someone will let me know if it has happened. But what Brent is experiencing right now is so sweet, and I am happy for him and his family.
Shepeck is simply one of the best high school softball players I have ever seen. She is a fierce competitor, and she led the Braves to the state Final Four three times in her four years "in the circle". Now, she is playing NCAA Division One softball for Western Michigan University....alongside 2011 GHS graduate Ally Carlson.
"Mack", as we call her, is off to a great start at WMU, with two pitching victories in the early part of this season. This Western Michigan University photo shows Mack concentrating the exact same way she did as she prepared to throw a pitch in a Gladstone uniform.
I am super-proud of Mack and now I have become a WMU Broncos fan. These two wins she has picked up on the mound in the past ten days are just the beginning!
Anyways, when the kids leave Delta County, I don't forget about them. I want to keep letting everyone know how they're doing at "the next level". I can't always get the information on every single kid, but do what I can to praise their efforts.
By the way.....even though I'm doing a little work late at night for our rrnsports.com web site, and for the news web page at radioresultsnetwork.com....this vacation is soooooo relaxing!
Hope everyone is enjoying Spring Break. And those who are still working like normal, well, I hope that your vacation is coming soon. My vacation has been very relaxing so far.
My girlfriend Becky, my sister Mandy, and myself are spending ten days visiting several different Wisconsin cities...just to see what each of these towns has to offer for attractions, shopping, museums, and of course....food.
Later in the week, we will be in Chicago for a couple of days to spend part of the Easter holiday weekend. But for now, I greet you from Wausau, Wisconsin. This picture is from the window of our hotel room, looking up at Rib Mountain.
You can see that Rib Mountain still has some snow on it, even though it has been warm, (66 degrees here today). Some of the guys around the hotel here have actually set up a betting pool on when the snow will completely disappear from the mountain. Nope....I am not entering the pool. My $3 loss in Friday's Mega Millions lottery is enough gambling for me.
Good luck and congratulations to 2010 Escanaba Eskymo graduate Brent Kallio. He plays for the Atlanta Knights Junior Hockey team...and he and his team are playing in the Tier III National Championships in Minnesota. Brent's team has made it to the national semifinals, and they will play Monday afternoon against a team from Montana. So far, in three games played at nationals, Brent has a goal and two assists. Go get 'em, Brent, in the Final Four!
We didn't really have a hard winter around here, except for those two huge snowstorms three days apart in early March.
But it seems like everyone I know is excited to just get out of town, mostly to warm places like Florida, Arizona, Cancun, and the Caribbean. It seems like everyone is excited for Spring Break, which starts today for most of our schools.
Personally, I am not going anywhere tropical. Even before I had to shell out $4,100 on a replacement engine for my car, I had decided to stay pretty close to home for the next week. We're going to Chicago for a few days to visit my girlfriend's relatives, and we're going to spend some time in Appleton and several other Wisconsin cities.
I think a lot of people are happy for Spring Break not because the winter weather made life tough, but because life itself is a grind these days. The UP economy is still flat, very few people are getting pay raises, and some people still can't find the job they want. And those who do have solid jobs are dealing with a lot of stress in the office, in part, because there are fewer people around to handle the workload.
So, I am on vacation for the next week and a half. And many of you are, too. Enjoy it! Because April 9th will come along pretty quick, and it will be time again for the "daily grind".
The Escanaba School Board Tuesday night hired Jim Hansen to become the new varsity football coach for the Eskymos.
I think it is a great choice. I've known Jim since he was a teenager, and he has always been passionate about sports. And he kept his nose clean as a kid...had to, I guess, being the police chief's son.
Even though he coached at Superior Central for a year and in Gladstone for four years, you kind of knew that he'd find his way back to Escanaba. Jimmy is only 29 years old, but he's already made himself to be a big part of the Escanaba High School.
He's the head coach for the boys tennis team, he's an assistant wrestling coach, and of course, for the last six seasons, a football assistant coach. But Jim also does a lot of stuff behind the scenes, too, like tutor kids beyond the hours that he's paid for...and he's helped the athletic director manage other Eskymo sporting events in the gym, often without being asked to do it.
(Pictured: Jim Hansen talking with Dave Falish (left) and Austin Young (right) during a game last season against Ashland.)
The Athletic Coaches Selection Committee had a tough choice to make, as Eskymo "Wall of Famer" Mike Beveridge also applied for the coaching job. Mike was the team's freshman coach last year, and everyone knows that he bleeds Orange and Black. Many people in this town still remember the years when Mike was a star quarterback here (U.P. Back of the Year in 1979), and he is Steve Mariucci's cousin...not a bad resume reference, to be sure.
In the end, it appears that the committee chose the youth and passion in Jimmy, over the history and experience that Mike would have brought to the table...and then the school board (correctly) followed suit on the recommendation.
Personally, I am fine with that. Either man would have been a great choice to teach our kids the game of football....as well as life lessons off the field. I am hoping that Mike Beveridge stays involved in Eskymo football in some capacity, because the kids can learn from him. And I will do whatever I can to help Jim Hansen and the kids have a successful season.
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