Greetings from Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
My name is Bryan Dean, and I cover Oklahoma City government, Oklahoma County government and the military for The Oklahoman and NewsOK.com. For the next five days, I am participating in a program called Bridging the Gap: Military and the Media.
The program is run by Kansas University’s William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications through funding from the McCormick Foundation. The goal of the week-long seminar is to foster understanding between members of the media and the military. There are 18 journalists here from across the country. We’ll be splitting our time between Fort Leavenworth and Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri.
Here at Fort Leavenworth, we’ll be talking with U.S. Army majors who are here training. Much of their training is in the classroom, and we will be sitting in on some of those classes to see how and what they learn as they train to lead men in combat and on the homefront.
We will spend much of Monday, all day Tuesday and Wednesday morning at Fort Leonard Wood, where we will be “getting dirty” with fresh Army recruits. We are going to get a taste of everything from obstacle courses to simulated weapons training.
I’ve covered the military for almost the entire seven and a half years I’ve been at The Oklahoman. Covering the military is unlike any other beat a journalist might encounter. I’ve always been interested in the military, and I like to think I know a lot about our armed services and how they work. I’m here with the hope of learning more.
The goal of this program is to foster better working relationships between members of the media and the military. We come from different worlds, and it is certainly helpful when we sit down and try to understand each other better. Ultimately, I hope it helps me become better at bringing you stories about your loved ones and fellow Oklahomans who are in the military.
Over the next week, I’ll be updating this blog as I get the opportunity. I’ll try to describe some of the training we see here, and I’m hoping to bring you some stories from Oklahomans training either here at Fort Leavenworth or at Fort Leonard Wood.
Please feel free to leave comments or email me at email@example.com if you have questions or if there is something you want to know about the military. I’ll do my best to answer.
- Staff Writer Bryan Dean
I was saddened to hear of Randy’s M&M’s closing. I feel like the store and I started careers at the same time.
When the store opened in 1981, I was a 10-year-old embarking on my baseball career. Just happened that a player on the team was somehow related to the store’s owner. So over the next four or five years my team was the Edmond A’s sponsored by Randy’s M&M’s — green jerseys with a yellow lettering on the back promoting Randy’s. I remember feeling pretty cool to be sponsored by such a hip store specializing in music and video movies.
Randy’s lasted longer than my baseball career — two broken thumbs in 8th-grade ball was pretty much the end for me.
The memory has lasted for a much longer time. I remember those days spent with my dad as he coached the team, the last outs and the winning runs. I can still remember the names of most the players, some who have reappeared from time to time in my life.
I’m not sure if the Randy’s at 3200 Boulevard in Edmond was the first store. Seems like there might have been one before that.
What I am sure of is that the Boulevard store has been on my route home from work for the past six years or so. At the end of a long day, it’s nice to drive by and see the M&M’s sign and just for a moment flashback to those days as a child playing ball with my friends. It makes me smile and occasionally brings a tear to the eye.
So thanks Randy. I’m sad to see you go.
Michael Baker, Local Editor
Flew in somewhat late Friday night and I’m already missing the dry heat of Reno. How did it get so hot and humid here?
Yesterday was somewhat of an emotional day. In the morning I said goodbye to a great group of journalists that I spent six weeks with.
Good people. I will miss them all.
But, I’m happy to be back in Oklahoma, with family and in my own house.
And I’ll be happy to return to another great group of journalists at The Oklahoman. I’ll be back at my desk next week.
So, I’ve said goodbye to Reno.
And, I’ll say a hello to all my friends and coworkers in Oklahoma. I’ve missed you all.
… Oops, I almost forgot. I did 0ne last video while I was in Reno. I’ll share it with you here. I found an interesting landscape photographer with a gallery on the Truckee River. Here’s his quick interview.
We graduate from the Maynard Institute multimedia program on Friday. They call it graduation, but I don’t believe there’s a final exam.
Before that, I want to share a trip I took when I headed out of Reno for a day.
First up was Carson City, the Capitol of Nevada. The Capitol building sits in the middle of town surrounded by nicely landscaped grounds.
I stopped in a nice little coffee shop across the street, Comma Coffee, and had a quick cup.
Then I headed south to Minden. I first heard of Minden when I saw an advertisement for a uekele festival the other weekend. I didn’t make the festival but the town stuck in my mind. It has a mix of new and old. There’s some old buildings on the main street and a few newer areas just off. The Sierra Nevada Mountains make a beautiful backdrop for the town. When I was there it was July 4 and the city was getting ready for a celebration.
Back to Reno after that. A nice day driving around. Some real pretty country.
I was walking around downtown Reno the other day with my roommate here at the Maynard Institute multimedia editing program. We came across a real nice woman with a really peaceful and engaging demeanor.
Kimberly Allcock is a henna artist and she was working at a farmers market on West Street near the Truckee River. My roommate and I sat down and spoke with her a bit.
It was a nice conversation and experience. Very calming and I’m sure I’ll do it again.
I’m getting ready to enter my last week here in Reno and I’ve had a great time. I’m hoping to add one or two more blogs before I go.
I spent part of Saturday at the ElDorado BBQ, Brews and Blues Festival here in Reno.
Nice to have good barbecue in Reno. Made me miss home.
If there’s anything I’ve learned in the last four weeks, it’s that Reno knows how to throw a party. It seems like every weekend the city finds a way to get thousands of people to show up downtown for a special event.
This one blocked off a section of Virginia street, where most of the casinos are in town.
You could pay $20 and get a mug and about 10 beer tokens. Each token got you a 4 ounce taste of beer from one of the two dozen or so microbreweries with booths.
After spending a few hours out in the sun, I went with a group of my fellow fellows here at the Maynard Institute multimedia editing institute to the Truckee River, which cuts through downtown. It’s in the Reno Riverwalk District.
We blew up a few tubes and headed down the river a few times. No major injuries but my baseball cap is likely in Sparks, Nev., by now. It was lost as I went under.
But, I’m doing more here in Reno than just floating down rivers and eating barbecue. During the week, I’m in a classroom daily, learning how to provide multimedia content for the readers back home.
At the same time I’m doing that, there’s a group a couple buildings over at the University of Nevada, Reno, that is building a stage for a huge Shakespeare festival they have in the area in July. The Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival begins July 11. Unfortunately, that’s one day after scheduled to leave.
But I did speak a bit with some of the people putting the stages together.
I’ll keep updating this. I’m looking for a new video story to do and will post it here as soon as I get to it.
OK, so it’s been a while since I blogged. I was down with a cold for a bit and then returned to Oklahoma for a weekend to see my family.
But, I’m back in Reno now and wanted to share my thoughts of a visit I had the other day to the Nevada Museum of Art.
To begin with, the building is really cool. The natural light in the galleries makes for really nice viewing of the art work. Designed by Will Bruder, the new museum opened in May 2003. The roof-top deck has a tremendous view of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
On the outside, the building is surrounded by sculptures.
There is also some pretty cool art on the inside. If you’re in to industrial photography, you should certainly check out the exhibit by Bernd and Hilla Becher.
There’s also a cool media exhibit by Jennifer Steinkamp called “Fly to Mars.” The exhibit is a computer-animation of a tree as it cycles through the four seasons.
I’m in class at the Maynard Institute multimedia editing fellowship for most of the week, but I’ll be sure and update my blog as soon as something fun comes up. Maybe I’ll find a nice golf course this weekend. Anybody know of any in the area?
Or maybe I’ll take a trip to Carson City.
I’ve been learning so much here in Reno at the Maynard Institute fellowship that a trip to the clear blue water of Lake Tahoe was exactly what was needed to relax.
On Saturday, the group headed to over the pass to Lake Tahoe. On the way we stopped at a park that had beautiful views of Reno. It was a bit hazy in the morning, but still a relaxing view.
We then headed up into the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the temperature began to drop. It was winter coat weather at 8,000 feet. Once we started heading down we caught our first glance of Lake Tahoe.
At 1,645 feet deep, Lake Tahoe is the third deepest lake in North America. It measures about 22 miles long and 12 miles wide.
Along the shore, were boulders that were formed over the last 10 million years. Active volcanoes, fault lines and glaciers chiseled the granite into boulders.
After a relaxing time of looking out over the lake and listening to the water splash against the boulders, the group headed to lunch.
I will highly recommend a place called Jake’s on the Lake in Tahoe. It’s one of the more relaxing lunches I’ve had in a long time. The food was excellent, with a nice selection of fresh water fish and seafood, and the view overlooking the lake was special.
It was just the sort of trip the group attending the fellowship needed to decompress and relax a bit.
Back to learning tomorrow.
Well I’ve written a bit about the casinos and nightlife in Reno.
But, that’s not why I’m here. I’m here to learn all these nifty multimedia tools — twitter, Facebook, Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Soundslides, video and even Flash. If you don’t know what all those are about, don’t worry. I’m not all that clear on some of the concepts either.
I did do a a Soundslide project on the University of Nevada, Reno. That’s where I’m taking classes to teach me how to do all these multimedia/Internet things.
Make sure you use the captions so you can follow along.
Hope you like it. Reno is a nice place, but it’s no place like home.
–Michael Baker, Local Editor
Saturday, I headed to EuroFest at the Sands Regency Casino & Hotel in downtown Reno.
The event was free, the food (I had an egg, cheese and ham crepe, $6) and the drink (a masskrug filled with a nice European beer, $27), was not. But it went to a good cause, as proceeds benefit the Shriner’s Hospitals.
Early in the evening, I met a really nice couple. They take their dancing seriously. Louis Ettlin, 86, of Lockeford, Calif., and Mary Reichmuth, 79, of Freemont, Calif., have been dancing together for about a year in a half. Louis has been dancing at events such as EuroFest for about 12 years.
Louis, a retired truck driver, said he’ll travel more than 8,000 miles during September and October to attend Oktoberfest events all over the country.
Louis began dancing with Mary after a previous ”lady friend” died. Louis had his former partner’s old-European style dresses and he just needed someone to fill them out.
“I make sure I get the girl with the right size,” he said.
Louis and Mary plan to keep dancing for a long time. He’s already hired the band for his 90th birthday party — the Al Gruber Band.
When the sun set, a younger crowd came out to hear the headlining band. The Young Dubliners play a energizing celtic rock and roll that had the audience jumping.
It was a great evening in Reno.
–Michael Baker, Local Editor