Reporters Notebook

Notes from the Reporters Notebook.

Legendary Capitol Reporter Eric Eskola Class Act

Over the past three Legislative sessions I've gotten to know WCCO Reporter Eric Eskola. I have to admit that part of the reason I got into politics and radio was because I, like many thousands of other Minnesotans, listened to Eric on a daily basis. His reports from the Capitol have kept Minnesotan's politically informed for more than two and a half decades.

His untimely and unceramonious release by his employer WCCO radio sent shockwaves through the Capitol Press Corps and no doubt the rest of Minnesota. Turns out it was probably some CBS bean counters in New York and not the local folks who made the final decision. In any case Eric Eskola being let go would be similar to cutting Adrian Peterson from the Vikings. Eric is the face of CCO's political franchise.

Beyond Eric Eskola's considerable talent as a Newsman, he is also a respected and beloved member of the Capitol Press Corps. Two days ago, the Senate made a proclimation honoring Eskola's work at the Capitol. It was well deserved and earned. Eskola is a tireless worker and someone whose love of his craft shines through in its results.

If this whole episode has any lessons, its that Corporations can and will make stupid decisions and that great men handle themselves with grace especially in adversity. Eskola has been nothing but gracious about his situation, saying he greatly values the opportunities he had at CCO. Never a bad word or sign of bitterness, and yet we all know he's saddended by the situation.

If anything in this world is still right, Eskola will be scooped up very soon by a shrewd Radio operation. I predict Eskola will back at work very, very soon. I'm glad to have gotten to know him this past few years and honored to call him a friend. I'll be watching him every Friday on Almanac and look forward to a time very soon when we'll all hear him filling the airwaves with his reports from the Capitol.

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May 3, 2010

This weekend I covered the killing of Maplewood Police Officer Joe Bergeron, a 24 year veteran of the force. Bergeron was responding to a car jacking when two men, Joshua Michael Martin and Jason John Jones approached his car. A witness saw one of the men raise his gun and shoot the officer in the head.

I circled the vicinity of the Officers shooting in my car, but Police had the area locked down. I decided to go ahead on foot, at which point I got word that the first suspect, Jones, had been shot and killed after attacking another Policeman.

After that I was unable to enter most of the secure areas as Police searched for the remaining suspect. At one point I entered an area near the Lawson Arms Apartments on a tip that the second Suspect, Martin, was hold up in the building. I was promptly sent away by an Officer who said that, "No one is allowed near there."

By the time I got near the area, the suspect had already been arrested without incident. I was able to interview several witnesses and neighbors. That story can be heard here on KFAI's evening newscast.

http://www.kfai.org/kfaieveningnews

I attended two different news conferences at the Saint Paul Police department Headquarters. Their was a palpable sense of loss by the Police spokesmen, Chief Harrington (St.Paul), Chief Thamala (Maplewood) as well as the Mayors of both cities.

Here is the video from both of those News Conferences:

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Feb 14, 2010 - This is a YouTube video of my unboxing of the Sony PCM-M10 recorder I use at the Capitol and in my other Reporting assignments. It's a very nice device that is rugged and produces very high quality sound.

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Feb 11, 2010 - While I was in the Senate Chamber today listening to the debate on GAMC, newly elected Republican Senator Mike Parry stood up, asked to be recognized and stated that he was, "APPALLED". What was he appalled about? He said he was appalled that during the critical debate on GAMC there were so many DFL Senators missing from the floor. He then demanded that according to the rules, the Senate Sargent At Arms should go out and get the missing Senators. What the junior Senator failed to notice was that a number of his fellow GOP Senators were also absent. He was generally ignored and the debate moved on. It was an ponderous moment.

In other news, there was a large rally for Marriage Equality and for the Disabled in the Rotunda. DFL Sen. John Marty spoke to the group and told them not to lose hope. Many in attendance said they were hoping the Legislature and Governor would restore GAMC and the cuts to support services they say are critical to them.

I had a brief conversation with GOP Senator Warren Limmer who said he enjoyed the Governors State of the State address and agreed that it was time to cut spending and reduce the size of government.

My highlight of the day was interviewing former Governor Wendell Anderson. He said that partisanship had gotten much worse in our state and nation and lamented that change. He said that people who were out of work or struggling in today's bad economy, should take heart, that things would eventually get better.

Wendell Anderson
Former Governor Wendell Anderson
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Feb 10, 2010 - Governor Tim Pawlenty (R) will make his final State of the State address from the Minnesota Capitol. He will address a joint session of the House and Senate. We'll be tweeting live from the address and have follow up analysis and any press conferences that follow it. - Stay tuned!