Behind the Scenes: My annual tie tribute

Each year, I dust off this necktie as a tribute to my grandfather, who I give credit for encouraging me to pursue a career in journalism.

I’ve really grown to love this tradition. Every year, I pull this necktie out of the closet and wear it on or around my grandfather’s birthday. He retired it from his collection and “passed it down” to me when I was in high school, a few years before he died.

Sunday would have been “Paw Paw’s” 91st birthday. He deserves a great deal of credit for sparking my interest in journalism. We would watch the news together when I was a kid and he would save newspapers so I could read them at his house each weekend.

“Paw Paw” even encouraged me to try out for KPLC 7 News Teen Reporter program almost 20 years ago and gave me feedback when I wrote for the Lake Charles American Press teen page.

He was an extremely intelligent man, a loving grandfather who never knew a stranger, and could cook like nobody’s business.

Do you have any special ways you honor the memory of family members? Continue reading

Remembering a pioneer in East Texas television history

Hudson Collins, the first chief engineer of KLTV, has died at age 94.

This week, we learned of the passing of KLTV’s first chief engineer, Hudson Collins, who lived a long life of 94 years. While I never had the opportunity to meet him, I’m fascinated by many of the details of his pioneering career.

An engineer is an important position in any television station, but he holds the distinction of being a true pioneer in local television.

After speaking with his family, former colleagues, and even the workers at a Whataburger restaurant, I quickly developed great admiration for “Hud,” as he was known. Continue reading

Actor Kirk Cameron shares his spiritual walk from atheist to evangelist

Actor Kirk Cameron shares his spiritual walk from athiest to evangelist

Actor Kirk Cameron is no stranger to talking about his faith. He’s become one of the most prominent Christian voices in Hollywood.

Actor Kirk Cameron became a pop culture idol as the star of the 1980s hit TV comedy ‘Growing Pains.’ Raised in a family without God, he found his faith while portraying teenager Mike Seaver on the ABC sitcom.

Now, as one of the most prominent Christian voices in Hollywood, Cameron is inspiring others by sharing his spiritual walk.

“As a recovering atheist, I look back and I see how God used a friend who invited me to church even though I didn’t have any interest in God, to hear the message of the Gospel, at a time that I was thinking about what life was really all about and what happens after you die and how did we get here in the first place,” Cameron said.

Continue reading

Advice from a 105-year-old with no intent of slowing down

Advice from a 105-year-old with no intent of slowing down

Northwestern State University’s oldest living graduate, Earline Andrews, turned 105 on Wednesday. We attended NSU nearly 75 years apart.

What a privilege and honor it was Wednesday morning to visit with Tyler resident Earline Andrews on her 105 birthday. She happens to be the oldest living graduate of my alma mater, Northwestern State University! I don’t think she could have been more delighted when we arrived with a beautiful bouquet of flowers on behalf of NSU and balloons from our KLTV morning team.

I thoroughly enjoyed hearing the stories from her time at ‘old Normal,’ short for the college’s former name, Louisiana State Normal College. Andrews explained that Natchitoches, Louisiana has earned a special fondness in her heart. She recalled sleeping on the porch of the girls dorm during warmer months, the plantation bell that signaled the start of each school day, and vivid memories of the famous Christmas lights that adorn the downtown riverbank. Continue reading

Inspirational ‘Chef Jeff’ taping national TV show in E. Texas

Lane and Chef Jeff after a live cooking segment on Good Morning East Texas.

Lane and Chef Jeff after a live cooking segment on Good Morning East Texas.

A celebrity chef is visiting kitchens across East Texas this week, tasting the comfort foods that stir-up smiles. Chef Jeff Henderson is taping a new syndicated TV show, ‘Flip My Food,’ which promises to take favorite family recipes and make them better, with fewer calories.

Henderson’s rise to the top took a different path than other celebrated chefs. 18 years ago, he walked out of Federal prison after serving nearly a decade for drug trafficking. From that day, he says his life had a purpose. “I decided I wanted to make something of myself. I wanted to break the cycle of poverty and the cycle of dysfunctional families and I changed my life.”

Continue reading

Up close: West Texas storm chase intercepts tornado

West Texas Storm Chase 1

The KLTV Mobile StormTracker chase vehicle is equipped with a Davis weather station, National Weather Service radar, wireless high-speed internet, and a half-dozen cameras.

Chasing funnel clouds through the rolling hills of Rusk County to being pummeled with hail on the interstate in Harrison County, the KLTV Mobile StormTracker vehicle has already been put through the gauntlet. Wanting to test some modifications to the camera system on the chase vehicle, Meteorologist Grant Dade and I set out to track storms in West Texas.

Our journey began Thursday, May 23 with live reports on Good Morning East Texas as we drove toward Wichita Falls. Grant and I explained to viewers that the conditions were ripe for development to our west later that afternoon.

After several hours behind the wheel, we came to a stop in an area known as the Caprock, separating the high plains of the Texas panhandle. Watching radar in the vehicle, Grant let me know the chase was on. At more than two-thousand feet in elevation, we found a lookout northeast of Lubbock that was the perfect perch for watching the skies. Almost immediately, a thunderstorm caught Grant’s attention. Winds were whipping as we set up video and still cameras in the vehicle to capture bolts of lightning, flashing in the distance. Continue reading

Storm chase heads straight into path of destructive East Texas tornado

Waskom Tornado 1

The Mobile StormTracker chase vehicle endured a beating from hail & heavy rain before tracking a tornado’s path through Harrison County.

The threat of severe weather was looming and I got the call from KLTV 7 meteorologist Grant Dade that our latest chase was hours away. After filling up the Mobile StormTracker chase vehicle, Grant spent some time checking models, radar and forecast discussions to pinpoint the ideal place to watch storms fire up.

An impressive wall cloud moved through Marshall, signaling the prime time to move east. With his eye on live radar data, Grant warned that we were about to drive into some strong weather along Interstate 20; he was right. In all of our previous chases with me at wheel, this was certainly becoming the most nerve-wracking. Continue reading

KLTV Thanksgiving behind-the-scenes & a collection of recipes

Always a pleasure to have Mama Steph with us on GMET. Here’s her behind-the-scenes look at our Thanksgiving special and her delicious recipes!

In Mama Steph's Kitchen

November has been a lovely, busy month.

Some of the crew along with Grant, Dia, Lane and me. My son Justin is right behind me! He operates a camera on GMET. Some of the crew along with Grant, Dia, Lane and me. My son Justin is right behind me! He operates a camera on GMET.

I was excited to be a part of a special edition of Good Morning East Texas. On November 21,  GMET anchors Dia Wall and Lane Luckie, meteorologist Grant Dade and I brought some of our favorite Thanksgiving dishes and showed them off on-air. We put the recipes online, including my favorite dressing recipe! The dressing recipe is very special; I got it 18 years ago from “MawMaw Pearlie,” a neighbor of mine when my first son, Justin, was an infant. I thought it was going to be so difficult to prepare, but she taught me her secret shortcuts, and now I’m sharing them with you!

I was on the set setting up the food, and Grant was outside frying the turkey with the fire chief! I was on the set setting up the food, and Grant was outside frying…

View original post 429 more words

Time to rise & shine with Good Morning East Texas

Time to rise & shine with Good Morning East TexasTonight was my final East Texas News at Six broadcast on KTRE. Starting next week, I’ll be embarking on a new adventure, anchoring the Emmy Award-winning Good Morning East Texas on KLTV and KTRE.

This is an opportunity I’m excited about and I hope you will be too!  Moving to Tyler is bittersweet, especially with all the friendships and connections I’ve made in Deep East Texas over the last four-and-a-half years, but this is a tremendous chance to grow professionally and personally.

I sincerely appreciate each of you welcoming us into your homes each night for that standing appointment to have a conversation about what’s happening in our community. Continue reading