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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What happens when you mix a happy hour with designer handbags? You get a great time! I will be an MC for the Handbag Happy Hour set for tomorrow at Salvatore's Italian Gardens. It's a chance for women to socialize with their girlfriends and bid on some great handbags. Some of them are from celebrities like soap star Susan Lucci or actress Christine Baranski, who hails from Cheektowaga.

The best part of this event though is that it's a fundraiser for Everywoman Opportunity Center. This is a great organization that helps women who have been out of the workforce get the necessary training to land a job. Many women today spend years at home taking care of their families and then for whatever reason, financial need, divorce or death of a spouse are being forced back into the working world.

The EOC helps them learn the latest technology, teaches them interviewing skills, even provides them with professional clothes. This is the only organization of its kind, but it is expected to lose all of its state funding due to the budget crisis. That's why this event is important! Women need to be self-sufficient and who better than other women to help make that happen!
I can tell you what she was wearing on the first day of Kindergarten. A green skirt, red sweater and saddle back shoes.

I can remember putting her on the bus and worrying the whole morning until she came home at lunchtime.

When she was in first grade, I felt worse. I worried even more about her eating lunch at school. Would she know what to do without me there?

Fast forward 15 years. She's now graduating college. Can it be? It seems like yesterday she graduated from high school.

Yes, this weekend is a big one. My daughter gets her Bachelor in Music Education.

I know I will cry when I hear Pomp and Circumstance, the graduation song. I always do. Even if I don't know anyone graduating.

There's something about that tune and what it signifies that gets me choked up. I don't know if I am remembering my own graduation or if it's the sense of accomplishment when earning a degree.

Just like every parent, I am so proud of my daughter. She discovered her passion for music in high school. After years of playing the violin, she picked up the trumpet in her junior year and fell in love.

Now she wants to be a band director and especially enjoys teaching music to special needs students. Before she heads out on her job search, she'll be pursuing a Masters degree, possibly in music therapy. Another field that has inspired her.

I don't know what the future brings, but I know her musical talent, sweet disposition and compassion for others will make the world a better place. I can only pray, as someone once told me, that the rain that falls will be gentle.
What a turnaround for our hometown team! While there is always hope when the season begins, I don't think many Sabres fans thought the team was going to make the playoffs after its sluggish start.

Now, we're not only in the hunt, we are on the rise! The switch seemed to take place right after the ownership change. Let's face it. For former owner Tom Golisano, the purchase of the Sabres was strictly an investment.

It soon became clear that he wasn't interested in making the financial commitment needed to win a Stanley Cup. Sure, he saved the team from bankruptcy and didn't sell until he found the best owner. For that we have to be grateful.

But isn't it great to have Terry Pegula around? He truly has a love and passion for the team that's contagious! Even my interest has intensified because of him!

Now, he's bringing in 75 former Sabres alumni for a special game on Friday. What a treat for Sabres fans!!

There seems to be a brand new attitude at HSBC Arena these days. Maybe it comes from knowing that someone believes in you and is willing to do whatever it takes to see you succeed. It's a message that would motivate anyone! And in this case, the whole community is benefiting!

Go Sabres!!!!



Sunday is a special day for mothers! A time set aside to let matriarchs know how much they are appreciated!

I am so lucky that I still have my mom with me. That's the best gift I could have. But I also am the mother of two girls. They are my proudest accomplishment.

I am looking forward to all the spoiling I will get this weekend. To be honest, I get it on other days of the year, too, but it still feels special when it happens on Mother's Day!

I will spend the day with my mom, my two aunts, my sister and our families. Being together is all that matters. Hope you have a great weekend and celebrate the mother, whoever she may be, in your life! Enjoy!
Now that the weather is getting a little better, I am getting back into my almost-summer reading habits. I have stumbled onto a great book. It's written by the former food critic for the New York Times, Frank Bruni. It's called "Born Round", and it's a book about his struggle with overeating and how his love/hate relationship with food helped shape his life.

It's full of funny stories featuring his lovable Italian-American family and his food-obsessed friends. I have just started this book, but I can tell you already that it's one of the most entertaining I have ever read. Frank Bruni is truly a great writer with an amazing sense of humor. I have never laughed this hard while reading a book!!!

Growing up in an Italian-American household, I can relate to Bruni's stories about the importance of food in our lives. His beloved Grandmother who cooked up a storm brought back memories of my own Nani who, like Bruni's Grandmother, churned out one great dish after another in her basement kitchen. Oh, how I miss her white pizza, homemade pasta, pizzelles and biscotti, just to name a few.

But you don't have to be Italian to appreciate the stories in this book. Everybody has to eat and this take on food will have your savoring every word and hungry for more!
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