Joanna Pasceri

I grew up in the television news business, starting my career right out of college at age 21 in Elmira. It's now 23 years later, and I'm back in my hometown, sitting at the main anchor desk. I never would have imagined that when I arrived at WKBW-TV 17 years ago. I was hired to write the news for Keith Radford. Now, I sit next to him.

A native of Lockport and a graduate of SUNY Fredonia, I never wandered far from Western New York, and that's fine with me. I love it here. It's my home, and where my husband and I are raising our girls. We wouldn't have it any other way!

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Unless you live under a rock, you probably know that the NFL lockout has been lifted. Both team owners and players have agreed on a new, ten year deal. Not a surprise to me. Did anyone honestly think there wouldn't be a season?

If the deadlock continued, it surely would have been a bummer for football fans. What would we have done every Sunday at 1pm this fall? No anticipation. No excitement. No hope. No thrill. Despite that, I am pretty sure we would have survived and maybe even thought of something else to do!!!! We could actually have saved a few bucks and imagine this, accomplished a thing or two on a Sunday!

But what would the continued lockout mean to owners and players? No money, that's what. Profits and salaries, gone. Yeah, that wasn't going to happen. No matter how at odds they were.

With training camp just days away, I had a feeling there would be a break in the talks. After weeks of slow progress, suddenly owners had a deal everyone could agree on. It passed with a unanimous vote on Friday.

Then, it was the players turn, but they couldn't make it seem that easy. They cried foul, and claimed the deal "disrespected" them. Despite all that disrespect, they were able to work out their differences in record time. The deal was given their OK today, just two days later.

Coincidence? Maybe. But I think both sides had every intention of settling this by the start of training camp. Too much was on the line.

So, now that it's game on, fans know where they will be every Sunday this season. They wouldn't have it any other way! Go Bills!

I admit it. Just a few weeks into 2011, and I already have the January Blahs. I started the new year with such great hope and excitement. How could I be tired of it so soon?
To be honest, this happens to me every year. After the rush of the holidays, the weeks following suddenly seem so dull. Add to that the cold, snowy weather, and I start feeling blue.
Well, lucky for me, I'm not one to wallow in self-pity for long. My Dad always taught me to pull up my boot straps and soldier on when I started feeling down. So, that's what I am doing.
I have already begun connecting with friends and making plans to have some fun in my off time. This time of year you have to work a little harder to make life interesting, but don't worry, only 61 days until spring arrives, renewing that hope and excitement all over again!!!!
Music artist Jack Johnson has a song called, "The News" in which he sings, "Why don't the newscasters cry when they read about people who die?" "At least they could be decent enough to put just a tear in their eyes."

Well, I'm here to inform Jack Johnson and everyone else: this newscaster does cry, has tears in her eyes and gets depressed over sad news. Especially recently.

We are used to ebb and flow in the newsroom. Some days or weeks are slow, others are busy, but these past few months, it seems like non-stop tragedy. Locally and nationally.

We've had several drownings, deadly fires and two young girls hit by cars. There's the Iraq War vet killed when he fell off a rollercoaster and another local soldier who died serving his country. There's the Casey Anthony case and the Jaycee Dugard story, that was so upsetting, I couldn't watch Diane Sawyer's interview.
There's the eight year old boy dismembered in New York, and there are killer tornadoes striking all over the U.S.

I remember when I was a rookie in this business, earning my stripes in Elmira when tragedy struck at the Steuben County Social Services Department. Someone walked into the Support Collection Unit and started shooting. Several people died. After stoically covering the story for days, I remember coming home, sitting at the kitchen table and crying.

The crash of Flight 3407 also comes to mind. My co-anchor and I stayed on the air for eight straight hours. It's the worst story I have ever reported on, hands down.
The death and destruction left me feeling like I was in a fog for months.

Despite your own reactions, you can't properly cover a story if you're not in control of your emotions, and you certainly can't clearly present a story in an emotional state. Viewers, whether they realize it or not, rely on us to be the calming force during a crisis.

So, for your information Jack Johnson, I have plenty of teary eyes in the field and on the set. This newscaster is feeling it, too, but I'm just doing my job.

Reporting on tragedies is part of my job, but that doesn't make it any easier. And it's especially difficult when these stories hit home for me.

I didn't know the St. Bonaventure University sophomore, Matthew Dungan who died after collapsing at an off-campus residence over the weekend, but I do have a daughter who is a senior in college.

When Matthew's father said it is every parents nightmare to get that call in the middle of the night, it struck a painful chord. Even though I wanted my daughter to experience college away from home, I can't help but worry about her safety. It's hard to give up control of their lives, but they grow up, and you eventually have to let go.

If there's a lesson to be learn about this tragedy, we don't know it, yet. But I do know that even though I never met Matthew, I grieve for him and his family. Sadly, they won't ever know the man he could have been. It makes me even more grateful for the beautiful daughter I have, and the mature young woman she is becoming.
It has happened again. Another young person lost while trying to swim in natural waterways. Last night, it was an 18-year old who drowned after jumping off a cliff into Lake Erie in Ripley, down in Chautauqua County. Earlier this week, it was a 13-year old Buffalo girl who died trying to help another child swimming in Cazenovia Creek. Earlier this month, a young Buffalo boy was lost swimming off Squaw Island. These are just a few of the tragedies happening since the weather warmed up. So sad. So unnecessary.

It was so disheartening to hear that the kids swimming in Cazenovia Creek were just a minute away from one of Buffalo's splash pads. Why not cool off there? Folks will tell you that kids have been swimming in the lakes, rivers or creeks for years, but how many have to die before people realize that it's just not safe? No supervision and unpredictable currents. Two big reasons to stay away.

Buffalo's 10 public pools open Friday, and it can't come soon enough. The Mayor held a news conference at Kensington Pool to announce the start of the city's swimming season. The city spent 200-thousand dollars on repairs and upgrades to its pools, thousands spent on Kensington Pool itself.

The pools will be open from 11am until 7pm six days a week. Plenty of opportunity to cool off with lifeguards making sure everyone stays safe. That's the way to go this season. Parents must insist on it. We can't lose anymore children.
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