Way, Way, Too Early in the Morning
November 13, 2013

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Viewers were surprised to see yours truly on the morning news this past Sunday yet no one was more surprised than me.

At 4:23AM I got a call from Tina Martin asking me very nicely if I could come in and anchor the news for her because she was suddenly very sick. Bleary eyed and in a way before pre-dawn fog, I of course said “yes.” I turned on the coffee that Kara had scheduled to start brewing at 7:30AM, scarfed down some toast and hit the shower. By 5 AM I was on the road, in the newsroom 15 minutes later and on television at 6AM, bags under my eyes and all.

The weekends are when I catch up on sleep. During the week I don’t usually get into bed until 12:30 AM at the earliest, Kara’s alarm goes off at 6:15, and the kids are up around 7. I’m usually out of bed shortly thereafter to see them during breakfast before school.

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I wasn’t always a night owl, and longtime viewers will recall my WFSB roots are in morning news. I anchored Eyewitness News Daybreak for two years with Virginia Cha and then Mika Brzezinski before moving to nights. Working the AM shift is something you can get used to if you train your body clock with a regimented schedule. Just ask Irene O’Connor, Eric Parker, Scot Haney Tina, Olessa Stepanova, and Mike Cameron. But working nights and then getting an occasional call to come in during the middle of the night is brutal.

Even so, if there is another early morning call, I’ll come in. That’s what newspeople do. By the way, Kara told me later after she had a full 8 hours of sleep and enjoyed a leisurely Sunday morning breakfast that she would have come in to cover for Tina. Yeah right. Could she honestly have had breakfast and gotten ready in a half hour?

Channel 3 Back to School Pictures
August 21, 2013

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It’s August, and that means back to school, although I’m pretty certain when I was a kid we went back to school after Labor Day. Perhaps it is revisionist history on my part, but I’m still in the summer mode.

To get people jazzed about leaving the beach and heading back to the bus stop, our WFSB promotions guys Greg Thomas and Brian Kowalenko have come up with a pretty cool idea. They asked members of the Eyewitness News team for our class pictures when we were in elementary school to be used in a promotional campaign.

Here are the pictures you will see, but you’ll have to watch Channel 3 over the next few weeks to see the clever captions Greg and Brian pulled out of their brains. They’re pretty funny. By the way, that’s me above in the snazzy turtleneck in either kindergarten or the first grade at the Cornelius Callahan School in Norwood, Massachusetts sporting a bad case of bed head. Check out another class picture and read about my trip to one of my elementary schools right here: http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/its-all-about-norwood/

Here are my Channel 3 teammates in their grammar school glamour shots.

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Mike Cameron

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Denise D’Ascenzo

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John Holt

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Mark Dixon

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Kara Sundlun

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Eric Parker

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Irene O’Connor

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Hena Daniels

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Olessa Stepanova

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Scot Haney

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Bruce DePrest

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Kevin Hogan

The Jubilation of that First Baby Picture
July 23, 2013

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WFSB made the rare decision to break into programming to get a live look at the royal baby leaving the hospital in London. Why? Our viewers wanted us to.

There has been tremendous interest in the future king by people who live in the former British colony of Connecticut. We nutmeggers in the Constitution State apparently love a good baby picture.

We’ve certainly had our share of baby debuts on television at WFSB over the years. It was a big deal when Gayle King, now of CBS This Morning, introduced her daughter Kirby to the viewers in 1986 and then her son William (shown here) a year later.

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The birth of Mika Brzezinski’s daughter Emilie in 1996 was the talk of the morning news. Mika is now on MSNBC and wrote of the attention her childbirth received in her book, “All Things at Once.”

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In 1997, viewers tuned into get a first glimpse of Denise D’Ascenzo’s daughter Kathryn, just a few weeks after she was born. Denise spoke to the viewers in a live report from Kathryn’s nursery.

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In 2007, Kara Sundlun and I introduced Helena to the viewers from her nursery, and two years later our son Julian had his Channel 3 premiere live on Better Connecticut from our family room.

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Also in 2009, Irene O’Connor showed off her twins, Robert and Quilty.

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Big $$$ Raised in 2013 Capital Catwalk
June 4, 2013

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Great news from the Hartford Stage! The sold out 2013 Capital Catwalk to benefit Dress for Success Hartford raised more than $72,000! The show featured some familiar faces as models including Scot Haney as John Travolta, Kiki Kennedy, Dr. and Mrs. William Petit, and ESPN’s Steve Levy. Channel 3′s Kara Sundlun was the emcee, and several members of the Channel 3 team modeled: Denise D’Ascenzo, Mark Dixon, Olessa Stepanova, Irene O’Connor and yours truly.

Special thanks to the sponsors and companies that helped make this event a huge win for disadvantaged women.

Hair: Blades

Makeup: Tiffany Hall Scarmana

Restaurants:

Black-Eyed Sally’s
Burger Baby
California Pizza Kitchen
Cuvee
Feng Asian Bistro
Firebox
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
Max Downtown
Morton’s The Steakhouse
Salute

Beverages: Brown Forman

Host: Hartford Stage

Sponsors:
Prêt a Porter Sponsor: Walmart
Chic Sponsor: The Travelers Companies, Inc.
Empire Sponsors: Aetna & EquiPower Resources Corp.
A-Line Sponsors: Cigna, Lia Sophia, Petit Family Foundation
Simple Sheath Sponsors: Accenture, All Waste Inc., Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP, The Sandra and Arnold Chase Family Foundation, Inc., UBS Realty Investors LLC, Westfarms Mall
Client Sponsor: Jones Apparel Group
Full Page Ad Sponsors: Bank of America, Day Pitney LLP, Mickelson, Jacobs and Bozek, LLC, Reid & Riege, P.C., Vanishing Veins and Vivesse the office of Dr. Lori Greenwald, Waterford Group Charitable Foundation
Half Page Ad Sponsors: Barnett & Shoflick Family Dentistry, Berkshire Bank – CBT Region, Hoffman Auto Group, Lindberg & Ripple, Inc., Marsh USA Inc., NEOS LLC, Rogin Nassau LLC
Gift Bag Sponsor – Hebert Candies

Clothing:

Westfarms Mall
Mariella Creations Rocky Hill
Stackpole, Moore, Tryon, Tuesdays

Photography by Danny Kash

Learn more about the Catwalk at the link at the bottom of the post.

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Watch and learn more about the Catwalk and check out video of the big event: http://www.wfsb.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=8956188

2013 Hartford St. Patrick’s Day Parade
March 11, 2013

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WFSB photographer Mike Fisher grabbing a shot of our team careful not be devoured by the land shark that is a 1965 Buick Electra

What a weekend! Members of the Channel 3 Eyewitness News team were privileged to be part of the 2013 Hartford St. Patrick’s Day parade on Saturday, and Mother Nature provided us and the tens of thousands of people along the parade route with a spectacular day. After a brutal winter, it seems everyone was in the mood to get outside and have some fun.

First of all, kudos to the Celtic committee and the many folks who put this event together every year. It’s not easy, like herding cats, in fact. Denise D’Ascenzo, Kara Sundlun, Irene O’Connor and I have been honored to be parade honorees and persons of the year in the past, and we wear our emerald green sashes with pride every March. Along with Channel 3′s Kim Lucey, Courtney Zieller, Jill Konopka and Matthew Campbell, we had an awesome time marching through downtown.

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Secondly, I want to thank all of the Channel 3 viewers who came out to say hi, wave, or shout out a compliment. Our team is truly humbled to see and meet many of you. Connecting with the people who invite us into their homes everyday, and into their iPads and phones is the best part of the parade.

Thirdly, thanks to Denise’s daughter Kathryn who snapped many of these pictures and to some of you who sent them in! Enjoy.

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check out last year’s pictures: http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2012/03/10/2012-hartford-st-patricks-day-parade/

2010 pictures: http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2010/03/15/hartford-st-patricks-day-parade/

another parade: http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/channel-3-at-the-southington-apple-harvest-parade/

Behind the Scenes at the 2012 Capital Catwalk
May 22, 2012

GET TICKETS FOR 2013 CATWALK:
280 Trumbull Street – 2nd Floor (Prudential Building)
Hartford, CT 06103
Phone: (860) 525-5015
Fax: (860) 525-5025
hartford@dressforsuccess.org

Read all about the Catwalk right here:  http://courantblogs.com/java/dress-for-success-hosts-sold-capital-catwalk/

PHOTOS COURTESY:  Brian Ambrose Photography   more pics here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/rib6ptwg4lcmzxj/n6eBXQu83H

Here is last year’s Catwalk:

http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2011/06/06/capital-catwalk-raises-record-for-dress-for-success-hartford/

2012 Hartford St. Patrick’s Day Parade
March 10, 2012

Thanks to the thousands of people who came out to the parade!  Here are some pictures taken by me, Denise D’Ascenzo, her daughter Kathryn, Hallie Jackson, WFSB Creative Services Director Greg Thomas, and some great Channel 3 viewers!    Kevin Hogan drove his 1959 MGA and I hauled out my 1965 Buick Electra for the trek.

 

Capital Catwalk Raises Record $$ for Dress for Success Hartford
June 6, 2011

More great pictures and the story right here: http://dennishouse.tv/2011/06/06/capital-catwalk-raises-record-for-dress-for-success-hartford/

Inaugurating a Governor
January 18, 2007

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Dr. Henry Lee dancing, the Governor’s Foot Guard in full regalia and thousands of shrimp.

Where was I?

Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s Inaugural Ball.

I had the great honor of being asked by Governor Rell to be the emcee of her ball. For a few weeks, I crafted my speech, which preceded the National Guard procession of dignitaries and elected officials.

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The ball was the first in Connecticut since 1999, but the tradition of inaugural balls goes back 216 years ago.

Party Like It’s 1791

The first inaugural ball in our state was in 1791. George Washington was president, Iraq was known as the Ottoman Empire, and we used whale blubber to light our homes!

At that ball, there very likely were valet parking horses and celebrants drinking warm ale. I know this because my good friend Al Terzi told me so. You see, he was working as a town crier that night!

In 1791, we were celebrating the inauguration of Gov. Samuel Huntington (1786-96), a Federalist from Norwich. Connecticut had two state capitals, Hartford and New Haven.

Also that year, we had some pretty big breaking news: East Haddam was rocked by an earthquake!

Our Leaders Then And Now

We have seen dozens of governors since that first inaugural ball 1791 (Gubernatorial Roster), many now memorialized in the names of towns, bridges, and buildings.

Our first governors were appointed by the King of England. After the Revolutionary War, we had these things called elections and everything changed. We had one governor serve 18 years, another only 13 days!

Those who bravely led our state in the 18th century no doubt could not have ever forseen where Connecticut is today.

We now have a governor who can propose laws by e-mail, a governor who has to protect our state from terrorism, and a governor who is the commander-in-chief of a state that has the best college basketball teams in the world!

On With The Show

The Jan. 3, 2007, inaugural ball went off without a hitch. I was a little nervous, but once I started speaking to the crowd of 3,000, I was OK.

It was an honor to be a part of our state’s rich history. After the speech, my wife, Kara, and I spoke to the governor and her husband, Lou, their daughter, Meredith, and son-in-law, Matthew, and their son, Mike, and his fiancee, Maura. By the way, Kara is eight months pregnant and we anxiously the await the birth of our first child.

I also got a chance to chat with newly elected Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele, who’s living the “American Dream.” Born in a small town outside Naples, Italy, he became CEO of Pinnacle in Stamford before being elected to the state’s No. 2 job.

Governor Rell must have shaken every hand in the place. She is truly a gracious woman who never seemed to tire of meeting new people and seeing some old friends and supporters.

Denise D’Ascenzo and Al Terzi were there on the dance floor bopping to “I’m a Believer” by the Monkees until Dr. Henry Lee cut in and twirled Denise across the parquet.

Scot Haney and Irene O’Connor were also there, looking dapper in their repsective tux and gown. Both had to leave early, but regaled our morning viewers with tales of the big night.

It certainly was a fascinating night, one that couldn’t have been pulled without the hard work of the inaugural committee, led by Catherine Marx and her very able team of Maureen Connolly, Paddi LeShane and Jackie Mandyck.

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