The rest of the story...

Here's where I tell you all the stuff that wouldn't fit in a 2-minute TV story.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Wytheville UFO's 25 Years Later

1987 UFO photo by Danny Gordon
It's been a long time since I thought about the UFO sightings in Wytheville.  They happened over a six month period starting back in 1987.  At the time I had been the news anchor at WSLS for just a few months, but I also enjoyed reporting from the field.

So when the call came in to the newsroom that people were seeing something in the sky over Wytheville -- and that some of the witnesses were credible lawmen -- off I went.

Danny Gordon in early 1990's
The story had, as we say in the news business, "legs."  Which means it continued from day to day with new developments and angles.  It died down after a while, and then came back to life a few years later when NBC's Unsolved Mysteries ran a lengthy segment in the early 90's.

Another of Gordon's images
That was the last I thought of it, until a documentary producer named Sean Kotz e-mailed me a couple of weeks ago asking if I would agree to be interviewed.  His company is Horsearcher Productions, and he wanted my media perspective on the sightings.  What was it like to cover a UFO sighting?  How did we approach the story?  Were we looking for answers as to what people were seeing, or were the people themselves the story?

I agreed to the interview and then asked Sean if he would allow me to do a segment on him and his project.  I wanted to know why he was revisiting the story.  What if anything had been learned in 25 years?  Did people still believe they had seen something?  What impact did the sightings have on people's lives?  What did he plan to talk about for the entire length of a documentary?

 So, in a rare piece of media history, Sean interviewed me on camera, and then I turned around and interviewed him.

Sean and I interviewing in my study.

He agree to be interviewed for John Carlin's Virginia. So, in a rare piece of media history, Sean interviewed me on camera, and then I turned around and interviewed him.  It's certainly a first in my career.

Sean then sent me this clip he is using to raise money for his documentary.  It shows Wytheville radio newsman Danny Gordon -- the epicenter of the original story talking about what he remembers and how it impacted his life from people breaking into his home, to a nervous breakdown.

Here is a link to his fundraising page:  And if you are wondering what he's uncovered so far, you might want to check this out.

Sean hopes to have the documentary ready by the actual anniversary date in early October.  He will make it available on DVDs, and he's hoping to get some notice at the fall's film festivals.

As to what he's found about the UFO's and the impact some 25 years later...  Some of that will be shown on my segment on the FOX 21/27 10 p.m. News.  The rest he's holding close to the vest. to be revealed in his documentary.

Then and now, the Wytheville UFO's are a fascinating story.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Paint Bank Trout Hatchery

Downtown Paint Bank
Here is a link to the story that aired on FOX 21/27:
This is the time of year I always think of fishing for trout.  And I often think of how my buddies always gloat when they catch a brown trout, as if it’s a bigger prize than a brook trout or a rainbow.

Let’s face it,  for the most part trout fishing in Virginia is 95-percent “put and take.”  For non-anglers that means, the state stocks the fish in the creeks and rivers, and dozens of people come in not far behind them and catch the fish.

Nobody is using any different technique to catch a brown trout.  They are fishing for trout.  Period.

Brown Trout
So imagine my surprise as we toured the Paint Bank Trout Hatchery for the latest edition of John Carlin’s Virginia and Supervisor Brian Beers essentially conformed what my buddies have said about browns.  And then he proved it.

We walked beside the raceways where thousands of trout swarmed to the food pellets he threw in the water.

Beers with a net full of trout.
As we approached the rainbows they came swimming toward us in anticipation of dinner.  The brookies did the same.  But not the browns.

As we approached the pool full of brown trout, they swam in the opposite direction!

“It’s a lot harder to domesticate browns,” mused Beers.

So there you go.  If you catch a brown, go ahead and brag.

By the way, the hatchery is open to the public.  Tours are available during hours the hatchery is open.  And while you are there, you owe it to yourself to stop at the Swinging BridgeRestaurant.  It’s a great way to spend a day not too far from Roanoke.  Just take route 311 until you get there.
Happy John

Beers with a Rainbow
Browns from above