This Just In: Feb 7 - Feb 14 | This Just In | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

A Case of the Sheetz

Summary: The unthinkable is now the inevitable -- grown men and women will be able to purchase beer at a convenience store in Altoona. Station: WPXI Channel 11 Reporter: Andy Gastmeyer When it Aired: Feb. 1 Running Time: 2 minutes, 2 seconds Visuals: * A graphic of a grocery bag brimming with fruit and vegetables -- and a beer bottle superimposed next to it. * A man unloading a pallet of Colt 45 from the back of a truck with a forklift. Highlights: * When anchor Peggy Finnegan decrees, "You may soon be able to buy beer where you buy your bread." * When Gastmeyer introduces his story: "His family's been in the beer business, operating this distributorship in Wilkinsburg, since 1960, and he'd like to continue with business as usual. That's why he's opposed, as are beer distributors in general, to letting legislation, such as that which is now under consideration in Harrisburg, that would allow supermarkets to sell beer." * When the owner of the Wilkinsburg distributor worries, "It will do away with a good bit of the family distributorships." * When Gastmeyer relays his findings: "Some of those we talked to are similarly opposed, but not necessarily for the same reasons." * When a woman in a Giant Eagle parking lot complains, "Not only do you have children goin' in through stores, and you have beer sittin' right there, it's easy access for them." * Gastmeyer's disclosure: "That may help explain why a Giant Eagle spokesman tells us currently there are no plans to acquire a license. They're going to be very cautious about taking a step like that." * When Gastmeyer continues, "Distributors' concerns ... are not without merit. Channel 11 news has learned that possibly within the next 24 hours, Sheetz may be given the green light to sell six-packs at its headquarters store in Altoona. Although it's limited to that particular store ... it's reasonable for some like [this business owner] to assume it's only the first step down a path that could drive him out of business." What We Learned: Today Altoona, tomorrow Wilkes-Barre! Unanswered Question: Wouldn't it be nice to have some pertinent information about other states, like neighboring Ohio, that allow supermarket beer sales? News Value: 2. Since last Thursday, Sheetz has indeed been selling beer, no doubt to the chagrin of our state's special-interest legislators. A recurring problem with many of Gastmeyer's stories is that he fails to interview anyone from the opposing camp. For that matter, it's easier for an underage kid to get beer anywhere else than at a store, for god's sakes. Ironically, in fact, during this very broadcast Channel 11 touted a sweeps story about how kids can buy cough medicine, "available just about anywhere," to get high.

Bright Lights, Big Region

Summary: We are the champions! Station: KDKA Channel 2 Reporter: Ken Rice

When it Aired: Jan. 30 Running Time: 38 seconds Visuals: What else? A sky full of fireworks! Highlights: * When anchor Kristine Sorensen begins, perpetuating the notion that we are a provincial region with an inferiority complex, "We really don't need that much to make us happy around here. Give us a winning football team, fries on our salad, fireworks, and you know, say, three to five nights a week? Is that asking too much? * When Rice remarks, "That sounds just all right to me." (Oh, you guys are just too easy.) * When Rice continues, "And now, a spark that could ignite an explosion of recognition:

Our region is now home to the 'Fireworks Capital of America.' We're not just makin' that up, either." * When Rice explains, "The Lawrence County Tourist Promotion Agency won the [trademark] from the government. And for good reason: Two of the world's largest fireworks manufacturers, Zambelli Fireworks and Pyrotechnico, are headquartered in Lawrence County." What We Learned: That the Pirates did have a winning season, if you look at it in terms of the number of fireworks displays.

Unanswered Question: Eating French fries on a salad is the mark of the ultimate Pittsburgher? News Value: 7. News of a booming local economy is always good.

"Artic Blast!"

Summary: A Febrrrruary forecast. Station: WTAE Channel 4 Reporter: Stephen Cropper When it Aired: Feb. 3 Running Time: 3 minutes, 30 seconds Visuals: * The Channel 4 "Action Cam" focused on The Point. * The "Sledding Forecast." * The "Bus Stop" forecast. Highlights: * When local TV's most mild-mannered (and therefore palatable) meteorologist begins, "Well, we gotta be thankful, I guess: Mother Nature givin' it to us in stages. Today, we dropped 15 degrees average; tomorrow, we'll drop another 10." * When he elaborates, "We're talkin' about temperatures that are the coldest in a decade. ... Last time our average was below 7 degrees, had to go all the way back to 1997." What We Learned: That somewhere out there is an 88-year-old man laughing his old ass off at the notion of "way back to 1997." Unanswered Question: What about the "South Side Bar Crawl Forecast"? News Value: 3. I know -- how cold-hearted.

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