Behind the Scenes @ FOX19 News

Steven Ackermann, News Director
Steven Ackermann, News Director


Last week, I told you that I am a certified political junkie.  It is only once every four years that we can spend an entire evening counting just over half a million votes in a state that is barely 30 miles across at one point.

Far too much has been written about why "we" got it wrong in the days leading up to the New Hampshire primary.  The simple answer is that some of us (OK, many of us) just couldn't wait until voters got to the polls on Tuesday.  I'll get off my soapbox about pre-election polls now.

And, equally much has been written in the days since New Hampshire about why Mike Huckabee failed to clinch the Republican nomination or why Barack Obama couldn't lock up the Democratic nomination.

For one, I don't understand why we are in such a hurry.  Neither party "needs" a nominee until next summer.  Wouldn't it be great if candidates from both parties brought their campaigns to Ohio on March 4th (you have until February 3rd to register to vote), to Indiana on May 6th (you have until April 5th to register) and to Kentucky on May 20th (you have until April 21st to register).


This year's political campaign offers at least two chances for making history.  Hillary Clinton would be the first woman nominated for President by a major political party; Barack Obama would be the first African-American nominated for President by a major political party.

If you are thinking about those possibilities, you might reflect on a bit of American history.  African American MEN got the right to vote with the 15th Amendment in 1870.  It was four amendents and fifty years until WOMEN got the right to vote in 1920.

Jack Atherton is penning a regular political column that we would love to put in your INBOX. If you haven't signed up yet, just click HERE and check the box marked Choices 2008.


Watching the snowflakes fly reminded me about another one of the more common questions that comes into our newsroom:  Why we wait so late to announce school closings?

We don't wait!  I promise.

There is an elaborate system in place that links our news ticker and website directly to the centralized school closing system.  It is just a matter of minutes from when the information comes out until it is on our screen and on our website.

On this one, I actually have sympathy for the school administrators making those decisions.  Some years back, my wife served on the school board in another area.  I still remember those middle-of-the-night phone calls as the Superintendent tried to figure out what conditions were likely to be during the school day.  Close schools unnecessarily and you have angry parents.  Leave shools open when the weather gets worse and those same parents are angry.

Several weeks ago, all four local television stations met to discuss winter weather procedures with school administrators, highway officials and police.  The major school districts all have elaborate and detailed procedures for making those decisions.  Virtually every major school district also has a deadline for making those decisions.  Don't know the deadline for your school system?  Ask them about it at your next parent-teacher meeting.

If you would like a personalized email or text-message when YOUR school closes, you can sign up for this FREE service by clicking HERE.

As always, thanks for reading along.  And, let me know what you are thinking by clicking HERE.