79/19-40 Years of Life on the Job

In front of the Brewster/Boland dormitory at Syracuse University in May 1979. Photo: Newvine Personal Collection

In front of the Brewster/Boland dormitory at Syracuse University in May 1979. Photo: Newvine Personal Collection

Milestones have always been easy for me to write about.

The basic format is to find a point in time that goes back in multiples of five years, recall what how I felt about it then, and end with what I feel about it now.

Okay, maybe there is a little more to it than that when recalling milestones.

Forty years ago this month, I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University, began a career in television news, and started four decades as a working professional.

My parents and me at the 1979 college graduation held at the Manley Field House at Syracuse University. Construction was already underway on a domed stadium that continues to host both football and basketball games at SU. Photo: Newvine Personal Collection

My parents and me at the 1979 college graduation held at the Manley Field House at Syracuse University. Construction was already underway on a domed stadium that continues to host both football and basketball games at SU. Photo: Newvine Personal Collection

There was a lot of stuff going on in the weeks leading up to graduation. In April, I ended a ten-week internship with a television station. Copies of a video audition tape of stories I reported during that time were being sent to stations all over the eastern United States in hopes of landing a job.

During the week of finals, I had an interview with station WICZ in Binghamton. The news director seemed impressed with the audition tape, but the station was still another two weeks away from making a decision.

My first paying job in television news was at WICZ-TV in Binghamton, NY. Photo: Newvine Personal Collection

My first paying job in television news was at WICZ-TV in Binghamton, NY. Photo: Newvine Personal Collection

One week after graduation, the job was offered and accepted. For the next year and a half, I reported news, anchored newscasts, hosted a daily public affairs segment, and even tried my hand as a substitute for the station’s hunting and fishing feature.

Along the way, I got the opportunity to work on the local segments of the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy telethon and helped call the play-by-play for a local tennis tournament.

Work buddies from WAAY-TV in the early 1980s. Photo: Newvine Personal Collection

Work buddies from WAAY-TV in the early 1980s. Photo: Newvine Personal Collection

I also got married during that time and accepted posts at four other television stations over the next fifteen years.

Two daughters also arrived during that time. At that point, the press card was retired. I made the transition to the next career of running chambers of commerce in three cities.

Chambers help local companies succeed by providing networking opportunities, presenting training programs, and advocating on behalf of the business community before local and state government.

A 1998 photo with business owners on one of many local advocacy trips to the state capitol in Albany, NY. Photo: Newvine Personal Collection

A 1998 photo with business owners on one of many local advocacy trips to the state capitol in Albany, NY. Photo: Newvine Personal Collection

After thirteen years of meeting government officials, creating programs to foster leadership, and handing out dozens of plaques honoring business owners, another opportunity crossed the path.

The current job combines the experience from the two previous careers to help local governments lead their communities toward greater energy efficiency.

It’s been a pleasure to honor local business owners who lead the way in their communities.

Handing out awards honoring local business people who are making a difference in their communities is all part of my current role. Photo: Newvine Personal Collection

Handing out awards honoring local business people who are making a difference in their communities is all part of my current role. Photo: Newvine Personal Collection

Along the way, most of the spare time has been put to use to keep writing as a big part of my life. There have been about two-hundred columns posted to this website and about a dozen essays published in local newspapers in California and New York.

Thanks to a fellow attendee at a workshop in Fresno thirteen years ago, the discovery of on-demand publishing helped produce a few books along the way.

I am humbled by the acceptance of my writing efforts. It has been an amazing four decades as a working professional.

There have been many highs, a few challenges, and an incredible number of great people that have crossed my path.

It’s amazing to think that the journey started just a short forty years ago.

Steve Newvine lives in Merced.

His latest book, Stand By, Camera One is available at Lulu.com and through Amazon.

Spring Clean-Up Days, another springtime ritual in Merced

Mini-vans, pick-up trucks, SUVs, and cars line up to drop off their owners’ stuff at Spring Clean-Up Days in Merced. Photo- Steve Newvine

Mini-vans, pick-up trucks, SUVs, and cars line up to drop off their owners’ stuff at Spring Clean-Up Days in Merced. Photo- Steve Newvine

You know springtime has arrived when you’re making a second or third trip to the home improvement center to pick up additional bags of mulch for the lawn.

It’s spring when you realize that there is now nothing keeping you from yard work and sprucing up the curb appeal of your home.

The City of Merced, like many communities, kicks-off the season with Spring Clean-Up days.

This year, two sites received the junk that’s been lying around in garages, along the back fence, or even inside the homes of City residents.

For employees in the City’s Public Works Department, it’s an all-hands-on-deck activity.

You might even call it the Super Bowl of trash removal.

“I’ve never heard our Spring Clean-Up called the Super Bowl before,” says Mike Conway, Assistant to the City Manager. “But that's pretty cool.”

City of Merced workers coordinate the flow of traffic coming into the Clean-Up day drop off site. This is the site at Merced College. The second site is at the Merced County Fairgrounds. Photo: Steve Newvine

City of Merced workers coordinate the flow of traffic coming into the Clean-Up day drop off site. This is the site at Merced College. The second site is at the Merced County Fairgrounds. Photo: Steve Newvine

Pulling off this annual rite of spring takes careful planning and admirable coordination.

According to Refuse Lead Equipment Operator Danny McComb, Clean-Up Days are a top priority.

“Planning begins several months prior to the clean-up dates,” he says. “Refuse Division has sufficient staffing to operate the equipment. Additional staff from Parks, Water, Sewer, and Streets sign up to work the event to complete a total of sixty.”

Behind the scenes, staff coordinates with metal recyclers, the Mattress Recycling Council, tire recyclers, and others to make sure the proper trucks and bins show up at the right sites on the right days.

There are plenty of details.

There’s coordination with the landfill, organizing lunch for the workers, and making sure there’s plenty of water throughout the four days and at both sites (Merced College and Merced County Fairgrounds).

Just about anything not designated for a specific collection area ends up in a garbage truck. Here, workers are “feeding” a discarded couch to one of the city’s trucks. Photo- Steve Newvine

Just about anything not designated for a specific collection area ends up in a garbage truck. Here, workers are “feeding” a discarded couch to one of the city’s trucks. Photo- Steve Newvine

It’s estimated about six-thousand vehicle loads come into a Clean- Up Day site every spring.

That’s a lot of stuff.

Especially when you consider the population of Merced is eighty-thousand.

Approximately seven-hundred, eighty tons of trash is transferred from homes to the dumpsters and trucks at the Clean-Up Day sites.

SPRING CLEAN-UP ESTIMATES

  • 6,000 Vehicle loads
  • 780 Tons of trash
  • 145 Tons of metal
  • 60 Yards of Brush
  • 1,885 Mattresses
  • 5 Trailers of Tires
  • 4 Trailers of e-waste

The most common things seen by the workers at Clean-Up Days include televisions, mattresses, barbecue grills, fence wood, and furniture.

The most unusual thing ever brought in to Clean-Up Day was a ski boat.

But that depends on what your definition of unusual might be.
Workers have seen empty metal urns turned in for recycling.

Even a mannequin was brought in one time.

A steady stream of vehicles loaded with household junk moves along the access road parallel to M Street at Merced College for Spring Clean-Up Days. Photo: Steve Newvine

A steady stream of vehicles loaded with household junk moves along the access road parallel to M Street at Merced College for Spring Clean-Up Days. Photo: Steve Newvine

“Steve,” my wife Vaune reminds me a few days after the first day of spring. “We’ve got to start thinking about Clean-Up Days.”

The Clean-Up Day adventure begins in our household with the annual consolidation of junk in our garage.

My wife and I make up piles. One is for items still usable that might be suitable to donate to charity. One is for items that get a reprieve for at least another year.

A third pile is for items that will be loaded into our SUV for Clean-Up Day.

So call it a ritual of springtime, or maybe a rite of home ownership.
Whatever you wish to call it, Clean-Up Day is a time of renewal, of a fresh slate, and perhaps most importantly an organized garage.

Steve Newvine lives in Merced.

His new book, Stand By, Camera One is now available in a special hardcover edition as well as the softcover version.

Both can be found at Lulu.com

Celebrating Central Valley Music Pioneers

Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame Honors Performers

The Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame. Photo-Steve Newvine

The Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame. Photo-Steve Newvine

For Kim McAbee-Carter, the founding of a Hall-of-Fame to honor musicians from Bakersfield made a lot of sense.

As a singer, she performed regularly at the Crystal Palace in Bakersfield singing alongside country music legend Buck Owens.

She sang with him right up to the last night he performed in his adopted hometown.

Buck died in 2006, and while the music went on over the years for Kim, a deep-seated idea to honor Bakersfield music performers continued to grow.

That idea has led to the creation, along with her husband, of the Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame honors the people who made Bakersfield proud.

It also contains items you might see in a music museum. And it is a venue for the performing arts.

“The Hall of Fame was started to promote the rich heritage of the not just country music, but all music,” Kim says. “We pay tribute to the local people who played a role in creating that music.”

Inside the Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame. Photo-Steve Newvine

Inside the Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame. Photo-Steve Newvine

While this Hall of Fame is a home for all genres of music, there’s no doubt the initial focus is on country.

To be specific: The Bakersfield Sound.

The Bakersfield Sound was a title given to the music pioneered by Buck Owens and the Buckaroos, his lead guitarist Don Rich, and the legendary Merle Haggard.

The Bakersfield Sound is described in my book 9 from 99, Experiences from California’s Central Valley as “Country, with an emphasis on electric guitars that sound as though the treble has been turned way up.” There are other definitions, but I’ll stand by mine.

Photographs like this one of music pioneers are on display at the Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame

Photographs like this one of music pioneers are on display at the Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame

The Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame is more than a tribute to the Bakersfield Sound.

In the inaugural class of seventeen Central Valley music artists, country accounted for the first five honored in 2017.

The honorees range from country, nu metal, opera, and beyond. To give each honoree an appropriate induction, the inaugural class was divided into three smaller classes.

The first five are: Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Bonnie Owens, steel guitarist Billy Mize, and singer songwriter of truck driving songs Red Simpson.

“The inaugural Class was broken into three sections so that we could spend time honoring each individual,” Kim says.

Life-sized drawings of some of the honorees at the Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame. Photo- Steve Newvine

Life-sized drawings of some of the honorees at the Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame. Photo- Steve Newvine

The honorees have been featured in original artwork. The original art hangs in the conference room of the Hall of Fame, but an enlarged life-sized version lines the walls in the public areas.

While this is first a Hall of Fame, there are interesting things to see throughout the facility.

This piano was made to order for the late Buck Owens. It is available to artists performing at the Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame. Photo- Steve Newvine

This piano was made to order for the late Buck Owens. It is available to artists performing at the Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame. Photo- Steve Newvine

There’s a piano that Buck Owens had made just for him. He used this piano on many of his recordings, and played it practically every day when he was performing in his later years.

“It’s a Knabe piano,” Kim says.

“In this style, two were custom made. Elvis Presley had his painted white and Buck had his painted black. We let the performers come and play on that piano. We roll it out on the stage.”

Kim also bought a jukebox that greets Hall of Fame visitors. The jukebox contains the hit records of the inducted artists.

In her office, she proudly displays a red, white, and blue guitar given to her by her former boss.

As a member of Buck’s band, the Buckaroos, she sang regularly with him on the road and at the Crystal Palace night club just off the Buck Owens Drive exit of California highway 99.

The stage for performances at the Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame. Photo- Steve Newvine

The stage for performances at the Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame. Photo- Steve Newvine

The Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame is also a performance venue.

Professional acts are booked to the Hall of Fame stage, local performances hold their shows there, and the facility is offered to other organizations for events and parties.

The place has been the scene for receptions and the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.

“We’re very proud of what we are trying to accomplish here,” Kim says.

The history of American music can be told through many chapters. Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame tells the rock story.

Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame has grown from a modest beginning in the 1960s to a world repository for country music.

There are at least two states that have Jazz Hall of Fames. Near my hometown in upstate New York, there’s the North American Fiddlers Hall of Fame in Osceola.

Kim McAbee-Carter on stage with the Buckaroos at the Crystal Palace in Bakersfield from 2009. Photo: 9 From 99-Experiences from California’s Central Valley by Steve Newvine

Kim McAbee-Carter on stage with the Buckaroos at the Crystal Palace in Bakersfield from 2009. Photo: 9 From 99-Experiences from California’s Central Valley by Steve Newvine

This Hall of Fame is taking a different approach and calling out the significant contributions from some local musical contributors who either lived in or near Bakersfield, or who made the city their home later in life.

Kim McAbee Carter thinks it’s only right that Bakersfield have a place to honor these artists.

She believes her former boss, the late Buck Owens, would be proud of what she and the Fall of Fame leadership have done for Bakersfield.

“His thoughts would either be he thought about it first and then was glad someone else did it,” she says.

“I’d like to think he would be happy it was me.”

Steve Newvine lives in Merced

He first wrote about Bakersfield in his book 9 From 99, Experiences from California’s Central Valley, first published nine years ago.

To learn more about the Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame, go to

BakersfieldMusicHallOfFame.com

Celebrating Yosemite

Two exhibitions in Merced are focusing on our National Park and the Merced River

The photography exhibit One River, Two Perspectives is running at the Merced College Gallery through March 21. Photo: Steve Newvine

The photography exhibit One River, Two Perspectives is running at the Merced College Gallery through March 21. Photo: Steve Newvine

It’s not every day one gets an opportunity to see a free photography exhibit in the community. But this month is extraordinary. There are two exhibits running in March.

Both are free.

Both celebrate Yosemite and the Merced River. One River- two Perspectives features the work of local photographers Jay Sousa and Roger Wyan.

The pair has worked together in their separate photography businesses for many years. So coming together to jointly present this representation of the Merced River came naturally.

“My contribution to the exhibit features some of my favorite photographs from the Merced River and Yosemite,”

Jay Sousa told me on the KYOS Community Conversations program when I filled in for host Roger Wood.

“The region is beautiful for a photographer.”

The Opening Reception of One River, Two Perspectives brought dozens of local community residents to the Merced College campus on March 1. Photo: Steve Newvine

The Opening Reception of One River, Two Perspectives brought dozens of local community residents to the Merced College campus on March 1. Photo: Steve Newvine

While Roger Wyan agrees that the River and the Park are a natural fit for a nature photographer, his contribution to the Merced College exhibit was inspired by the great impressionist artists of France.

“I visited Paris recently, and was awestruck by the work of these wonderful impressionist artists,” he said.

“That inspired me to show a different perspective of the Merced River.”

Both photographers were pleased to share the exhibit space that generally features the work of just one artist.

Sharing was a challenge of sorts to appropriately showcase both photographers. Roger sums it up with just a few words.

“I think our work plays off one another well.”

Poster showing some of the original art work included in the newest exhibit at the Courthouse Museum.

Poster showing some of the original art work included in the newest exhibit at the Courthouse Museum.

Just as local photographers Jay and Ryan are showcasing their original work, there’s an exhibit of mostly original photographs, art work, and artifacts at the Courthouse Museum in Merced.

The Originals of Yosemite features original photographs and memorabilia all tied to the National Park.

The local photographers who offered originals for this exhibition include UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland and Museum volunteer Donna Lee Hartman.

“We pulled a lot of stuff from our archives,” Donna Lee says.

“And several of our Historical Society Members loaned the cherished items for the exhibit.”

Steve Newvine views a large framed photograph from Yosemite at the Courthouse Museum Exhibit The Originals of Yosemite. Photo: Donna Lee Hartman.

Steve Newvine views a large framed photograph from Yosemite at the Courthouse Museum Exhibit The Originals of Yosemite. Photo: Donna Lee Hartman.

Beyond the photographs, there’s art work from local artists including a covered bridge painting by Vivian Knepel from 1980. Vivian turned 100 in January.

There’s a place setting from the dining room at the Ahwahnee Hotel (now known as The Majestic Yosemite Hotel), a scout outfit on the Museum’s mascot bear cub, and even some of Ansel Adams earlier works from before he became famous.

Most of the items are originals.

All of it well cared for by the Museum volunteers and staff.

entrepreneur Frank Gallison started air service from Merced to Yosemite back in the 1920s. These pieces of memorabilia are on display at the Courthouse Museum

entrepreneur Frank Gallison started air service from Merced to Yosemite back in the 1920s. These pieces of memorabilia are on display at the Courthouse Museum

Without realizing it, both the Merced College Art Gallery and the Merced County Courthouse Museum have turned this month into a salute to our two natural wonders: the Merced River and Yosemite National Park.

A visitor can see them both in one day. Both are free.

This covered bridge painting that is part of the Originals of Yosemite exhibition is from Vivian Knepel. She was well-known for paintings of a variety of scenes from Yosemite.

This covered bridge painting that is part of the Originals of Yosemite exhibition is from Vivian Knepel. She was well-known for paintings of a variety of scenes from Yosemite.

While the One River – Two Perspectives photographer exhibit at Merced College ends on March 21, the Originals of Yosemite will go on until early June.

It’s not every day one can experience so much local history, art work, and memorabilia.

Take advantage of it all. After seeing the photographs, art, and artifacts from these exhibitions, consider making plans to take in Yosemite National Park this year.

Steve Newvine lives in Merced.

His new book is Stand By Camera One, a look back on his first year working as a television reporter four decades ago. It is available at Lulu.com

Research Week at UC Merced

Some amazing research going on at UC Merced is being celebrated with the whole community.

This symposium was one of many events tied to Research Week at UC Merced. Photo: Steve Newvine

This symposium was one of many events tied to Research Week at UC Merced. Photo: Steve Newvine

If I remember my fifth grade instruction at Port Leyden Elementary School correctly, the scientific method begins with an observation, and ends with drawing a conclusion.

That’s sort of what UC Merced has in mind for this year’s Research Week. Simply put, if the University can showcase the kind of research going on to the broader community, it can hope to foster stronger links with everyone.

The first week of March is traditionally Research Week on campus. The activity is an effort to bring the public in to the campus and to take a part of the campus to the community.

Interested UC Merced students took part in many of the programs lined up for Research Week on campus. Photo: Steve Newvine

Interested UC Merced students took part in many of the programs lined up for Research Week on campus. Photo: Steve Newvine

“We’re really excited about this,” David Gravano, Ph.D. told me on the Community Conversation’s radio program in early March. “Science is not confined to just our campus, or to just one group of people.”

Some of the activities during Research Week are eye-catching. There is a study into reusing organic wastes to improve ecosystems going on right now at the UC.

At the beginning of Research Week, interested community members had the opportunity to listen to an assessment of the future of safe drinking water in the Central Valley.

A campus Assistant Professor helped explain to the audience of students that safe drinking water is being threatened all over the world, including here in California.

Middle school students from all over Merced County are getting a chance to showcase their work and take tours of the University’s laboratories.

This is not the first time UC Merced has done a Research Week event, but this year was special because it included more venues throughout the greater community. The Sierra Nevada Research Institute presented findings on a number of projects at a luncheon on campus.

This presentation on drinking water helped connect curiosity with science during Research Week at UC Merced. Photo: Steve Newvine

This presentation on drinking water helped connect curiosity with science during Research Week at UC Merced. Photo: Steve Newvine

The schedule for the week included a core facilities lab tour on campus followed a community forum on nicotine and cannabis policy at the Downtown Campus Center, a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fair, and an event called the Community Engaged Research Reception at City Hall.

Research Week wrapped with an Undergraduate Research Opportunity Center Scholar Panel where students can get feedback on their work.

“This is all about giving the public the opportunity to see the many innovative projects underway,” UC Merced’s Stephanie Butticci explained to me during the KYOS Community Conversations program.

“We’re welcoming the public to the campus, but being sure some of the activities take place in the community.”

UC Merced’s Stephanie Butticci and David Gravano joined me for a segment of Community Conversations on KYOS radio.

UC Merced’s Stephanie Butticci and David Gravano joined me for a segment of Community Conversations on KYOS radio.

The complete scientific method follows the observation step with research. After research, a hypothesis is drawn and tested. This leads to the conclusion.

Anyone with a passing interest in the research going on at UC Merced are likely impressed with the depth of study, the engagement of students in the process, and the outreach to the larger community.

The hypothesis has been tested, and the conclusion is clear: Research Week at UC Merced helps bring the best the university has to offer to the community.

Steve Newvine lives in Merced.

His book Stand By Camera One is available now on Lulu.com