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This Just In: July 24 - 31

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Zanos and the Art of Appliance Maintenance

Summary: Can this washer be saved? Station: KDKA Channel 2 Reporter: Yvonne Zanos When It Aired: July 18 Running Time: 3 minutes, 32 seconds Visuals: * Assorted home appliances that I generally curse (and kick) on a daily basis. * Inside a good old-fashioned camera-repair shop. Highlights: * When Zanos admits, "It's not an exact science. If it's a stove that fits a certain space, or maybe it's a color that matches perfectly, those can be reasons to repair instead of replace. Or maybe you just don't want to deal with new technology. All that aside, however, there are guidelines to help you decide: repair or replace?" * When a local appliance repairman recommends when to ditch the old stuff: "If you're goin' over 50 percent of what a new appliance would cost ya." * When we're told age should also be a factor: As the repairman chuckles, "When you have an old avocado-green refrigerator, it's time to change." * When Zanos addresses the trend toward purchasing front-loading washing machines as replacements: "[They] cost more, but are more efficient, handle bigger loads, use less soap and less water. More energy-efficient appliances can save you money over the long run." * When Zanos looks at the flip side: "[N]ew technology isn't for everyone. [This woman] went to this camera-repair shop to find out if this Nikon film camera was worth saving. ... The cost to repair? $85. The cost to replace? About the same. You can't buy a new one anymore. They don't make them. Even so, in this case, camera repairman Aaron Klein says he thinks this camera is worth repairing." * When Klein says, "As technology goes on, we're gonna get less and less metal parts inside of our products today, whereas the older products are made out of good-quality glass and metal parts. If you put maintenance into them, they will pay for themselves over the years." * When Zanos asks, "And what about all those electronic products in our homes?" A computer dealer answers, "With most of the small electronics anymore, it's cheaper to get rid of it and get a new one than repair it." What We Learned: When the cost of repairing me is more than 50 percent of what I'm worth, you won't be reading this column anymore. Unanswered Question: What is the best way to dispose of these giant appliances? News Value: 6. Zanos always offers sound advice without all that crazy sensationalism. Damnit.

40 Years of Fun

Summary: How our most famous local roller coaster got its name. Reporters: Jake Ploeger, Shannon Perrine. WTAE Channel 4 When it Aired: July 20 Running Time: 1 minute, 4 seconds Visuals: * The fully-saddled-up Thunderbolt coasting downhill in all its clunkety glory. * The caption, "Thunderbolt Turns 40, Rides Like New." (I feel the same way.) Highlights: * When Ploeger responds to film of passengers screaming on the Thunderbolt: "Oh yeah, the sounds of Kennywood Park's Thunderbolt roller coaster. Not only is it a Pittsburgh staple, it's rated as one of the best wooden roller coasters in the entire world." * When Perrine picks up, "And 40 years ago today, back in 1968, the thrills and screams began. But do you know how the Thunderbolt got its name? From this local man. His name is Phil Stoll. When he was just 7 years old, he won a contest on the old 'Paul Shannon Show which aired of course right here on WTAE-TV. Many of you remember that. Today, he was honored with a framed picture of the coaster." * When Stoll reveals the inspiration for his winning entry, "When I was a little kid I saw this movie and there was this, uh, horse and that was the name of the horse and he was big and strong and powerful and fast and he was like the star of the movie, so I just remembered that name." * When Perrine ends, "That is a great story; I did not know that. Along with a cake to celebrate the coaster’s 40th year, there was an unveiling of a Kennywood National Historic District sign." What We Learned: Being 40 and going over the hill can be fun after all! Unanswered Question: Does he have a free lifetime pass to Kennywood? Because he should. That is the best story. News Value: 4. I did not know that either.

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