Wednesday, May 1, 2013
By Jeff Keating | Tuesday, July 3, 2012
July 3, 2012
On the June 29 episode of Beat the Press, host Emily Rooney had a rant about the media coverage of Karen Klein, the bullied bus monitor from upstate N.Y. Rooney thought the media should have delved deeper into this story and asked more probing questions. For example, why was Klein so passive? Would she have intervened if another child on the bus had been subjected to that kind of verbal bullying?
WGBH's Toni Waterman posed those questions to Klein at an event held for her in Boston by the radio station Mix 104.1. Viewers can reach their own conclusions about how she responds.
"As the bus monitor, your main objective is to make sure that stuff like this doesn't happen on the bus," Waterman said. "I'm wondering why you didn't say something to them and you weren't more aggressive in your action as the bus monitor."
"That's a good question," Klein said. "It's the first time they had ever done anything like that. Before they had acted up and I made them go sit in the front of the bus. Why I didn't do anything that time I really can't tell you, except that I kept thinking 'School's over and then I won't have to worry about this any more.'"
Klein added that she hadn't seen the children bully anyone else — just her.
She concluded, "It was a bunch that sit together and you know how kids get sometimes."
In fairness to Klein, many of those same questions should also be directed at the school district where she is (or was) employed. That's what Meaghan McDermott did in this article for the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, one of the few reports I could find that went beyond the face value of the story.
Thursday, June 28, 2012
June 28, 2012
Greater Boston has partnered with the Boston Globe to bring you a weekly feature called "From the Archives." Each Wednesday on Greater Boston, we will show one to two photos from the newspaper's archives. This weekly feature offers a glimpse into Boston's past.
This week, we look at … a terrifying murder spree.
On June 28, 1978, five bodies were found in the blood-splattered basement of the Blackfriars Pub on Summer Street in Boston. The gangland-style killing would be known as the "Blackfriars Massacre." The Suffolk County District Attorney said he “had never witnessed a more shocking crime.” Among the dead were club manager John (Jack) Kelly, a former radio and investigative television reporter who was known to associate with members of organized crime. Also killed were Charles Magarian, Peter Meroth, Freddie Delavega and Vincent Solmonte, the club’s owner. The victims were found shot in the head with either a .12 gauge shotgun, or a .25 caliber automatic or both — it was believed that there were two shooters. In 1979, Robert J. Italiano and William N. Ierardi were acquitted of the murder. They were the only suspects tried for this unsolved crime.
By Toni Waterman | Wednesday, June 27, 2012
June 27, 2012
WALTHAM, Mass. — When it comes to the battle of the bling, no one does it better then the Gypsies.
An enigma to most, Gypsies are the latest reality television stars in TLC’s "My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding." The show delves into the glitzy and bedazzled side of Gypsy life, mostly in the South. It’s a culture where bigger and “bling-ier” is always better. And when a Gypsy girl is looking to blind her competition, she turns to Waltham, Mass.–based dressmaker Sondra Celli. That’s what 14-year-old Priscilla did when she was looking for her “coming-out” dress.
“Priscilla’s outfit was completely bling,” said Celli. “The boots were 43,000 stones. The outfit was close to that if not more. And the fringe on that was all cup chain that was sterling silver with crystal stone in it.”
In the North, an expert in dazzle
Celli is the highly coveted, turn-to Gypsy designer for everything from wedding dresses to shoes to blinged-out pacifiers.
It all started 33 years ago when Celli was selling her designs to a department store.
“Nobody had cellphones and computers. And some of them are pretty savvy — they got a consultant at the department store to move away from the desk and they went through the Rolodex and found my number,” said Celli.
She started getting inundated with phone calls, all asking for clothes to be shipped to the same address.
“They kept saying they were stores and I thought, ‘How could there be this many stores on one street?’" Celli said. It turned out, "I was actually shipping to a trailer park. And I was floored."
She’s been shipping to them ever since. “I love working for them because I have complete freedom. I am the luckiest girl creatively because they give me freedom to use my brain and go with it and they trust me,” said Celli.
She enters the spangled spotlight
Celli also makes bar mitzvah dresses, but with over 1.6 million viewers of the TLC show each week, it’s her Gypsy dresses that have become the main attraction. Mother-daughter duo Deb and Bridget Freely popped into the shop recently to see the dresses up close.
“The dresses are so magical,” said Bridget Freely. “One of the dresses actually lit up, and it had little lights all over it. And that was amazing.”
Mom Deb Freely said the over-the-top dresses weren’t her style, but she appreciated the work that went into making them. She was more fascinated with the Gypsy culture: "I’m not a huge fan of reality TV shows, but … you get to learn something new about another culture that exists in our own country and we didn’t know about it."
If you drop into Celli’s store, you won’t actually see a lot of Gypsy dresses on display. She mostly makes them to order. But there was a white one on display in June draped in crystals and mink, going for a mere $20,000. You’ll need more than money to pull it off — you’ll need brute force: the dress weighs 79 pounds.
Promote small business: buy bling
Celli said business has exploded since the show debuted in April. Her staff of eight women gluing rhinestones and crystals for 60 hours a week couldn't keep up with demand.
“As of next week, we will be 16 of us,” said Celli. “We’re breaking the walls next week just to put more people in here and cut the showroom space down because we need more space to rhinestone in.”
After all, for the Gypsies, there’s no such thing as too much bling. Celli says it’s very rare that she gets something returned.
“And if I do, it’s because it needed more bling. We bling it up, so bling it on!"
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
By Adam Reilly | Tuesday, June 19, 2012
June 20, 2012
BOSTON — When it comes to journalists getting involved in politics most news organizations err on the side of caution, telling staff to keep their sympathies quiet. But when reporter Gail Huff asked permission to star in a pair of new ads for her husband, U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, Washington’s WJLA-TV said … go right ahead.
Huff may be a bit biased when it comes to Brown — she is his wife, after all. In several new campaign ads the longtime television reporter praises Brown as a model husband and fantastic father, saying in one, "If the kids had a problem they didn’t call me — they called Dad."
Huff’s praise could help Brown fend off Democrat Elizabeth Warren. But whether Huff should be a campaign surrogate at all is debatable. During Brown’s last campaign, Huff was at Boston’s WCVB. She didn’t campaign for her husband or even appear with him until election night.
After that race, she said, "What was hard was not to be able to be out there in public support — to say that this is my husband, I love him, I support him."
Now she’s making her support very public. And her current employer doesn’t mind. A spokeswoman for WJLA told Beat the Press, “We discussed it with Gail and we decided it was okay — she’s not a political reporter.”
But sometimes Huff’s general-assignment work does touch on political topics, such as the Occupy movement. In an April 5 story on police attempts to move protesters out of a park, she said, "All you have to do is look at the ground to see the problem. … We still have many tents here. They’ll have to go."
For the record, that’s the same Occupy movement that’s been praised by Warren and panned by Brown — proof Huff may need to do more to keep politics and her career separate.