Thanks, Tonya!

And welcome back, friends and neighbors, to another edition of Hometown Beat. As loyal WGKJ viewers know, every Tuesday and Thursday for the past seventeen years I’ve been coming to you from a Mystery Location to chat with an interesting member of our community.

From the past four mayors to Cora, the retiring lunch lady. From Amir the little spelling bee champ to Miss Sally, a lawyer by day and a member of Clowns 4 Kids by night. For seventeen years I’ve had the pleasure of introducing you to the most interesting people right here in our own hometown.

Well, I’m sorry to say that this is the newscast’s last Hometown Beat story. WGKJ has decided to go in a different direction, and starting Tuesday you’ll be seeing Trip Walston in this spot. You probably don’t know him yet, unless you watch the news in Cleveland, but I hope you’ll give him a warm welcome. All things change, folks! And I’ve got the most wonderful memories.

For our last story, we’re coming to you from a very special Mystery Location. It’s such a mystery that the folks back in the studio think I’m somewhere else! Sorry, Carlo from Carlo’s Pizza! Maybe Trip Walston will interview you sometime! But not unless you commit a crime. He’s one of those Gotcha Reporters. A different direction, like I said.

Well, it’s time to introduce you to today’s Hometown Beat Mystery Guest! As always, I’ll give you three hints. Let’s see. He’s new in town … He stole my job … And he doesn’t lock his back door. Give up? It’s Trip Walston, the Gotcha Reporter! Gotcha, Trip!

Go nice and wide here, Jimmy, so everyone can see.

As our astute viewers can tell, Trip won’t be interviewing anyone anymore.

I’d like to send a special Hometown Beat salute to Dan O’Neill over at Eastside Firearms and Gun Range! Dan also contributed that great quiche recipe to the Hometown Beat Cookbook, which is still available on the WGKJ website. All proceeds go to the Boys and Girls Club.

Yes, Bob, I can hear you. Bob is our longtime producer on the newscast. He oversees the show, does the hiring and firing, that sort of thing. No, don’t listen to him, Jimmy. Do not put that camera down unless you want to lose another finger.

A special Hometown Beat salute, by the way, to Bill’s Knives and Camping Gear, over there in Evergreen Plaza. Oh – Right next door to Carlo’s Pizza! How about that! You know, folks, we call ourselves a city, but we’re really just a small town.

Ok, Tonya? If you’re just going to swear in my ear I’m taking out the earpiece.

It has been an honor and a pleasure bringing you all the Hometown Beat for the past seventeen years. I’ve been trying to decide what my favorite memory is – maybe attending Sundae School at Sophie’s Ice Cream Shop, or the time I got to be a crossing guard for a day. And there is a clip they show every year at the WGKJ Christmas party of me getting chased by a cow at Rivera’s Dairy Farm, isn’t that right, Jimmy? Jimmy, it’s going to be hard for you to carry all that equipment with no thumbs. Stop crying. Let’s see a little professionalism.


All Art by Steve Ryder