Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Latest Cathlolic Herald Article

((Carol and Jim Ott are pictured on the deck of their Mequon home July 9. After retiring last year, after 30 years as a weatherman on WTMJ-TV Channel 4, Jim Ott took on a new challenge: elected office. He serves as a state Assemblyman in the 23rd Assembly District. (Catholic Herald photo by Sam Lucero)) on right

on left
Bob Dolan with wife Beth at Greenfield Park in West Allis, retired last year as morning co-host on 1130 WISN-AM Radio in Milwaukee. (Catholic Herald photo by Sam Lucero)

July 26, 2007

Celebrities opt for second career Catholic media personalities Bob Dolan and Jim Ott take on new interests By Karen MahoneySpecial to Mature Lifestyles

After 30 years of working in the public eye or the traditional workforce, most people would be counting down the days to retirement.
But not local luminaries, Bob Dolan and Jim Ott.
Upon retiring from their distinguished media positions, both energetic men are keeping busy and plan to stay that way.Dolan left his lengthy career as sportscaster for WTMJ-TV, play-by-play man for Marquette basketball, pro-bowling, and college football, and, most recently, as co-host of the Weber and Dolan talk show for WISN-AM, at age 49 to pursue his own television interests.
“I made the decision to leave the more traditional broadcasting world in order to begin my own television production company, Dolan Productions LLC, for two reasons: a new challenge and time of life,” he admitted, adding, “I embrace new challenges, I feed off them. Thus, I have left several very good jobs in my life in order to tackle a new challenge; and I will leave it to others to determine if this personality trait is a character flaw or a character strength.”
Dolans kick off travel showAt age 50, Dolan, brother of Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, felt the time was right to pursue a new career. With college-age children, he and his wife Beth considered themselves young enough and healthy enough to begin their travel show, “A Husband & Wife Vacation: For Better, For Worse!” in 2006. The program, which runs on WISN-TV Channel 12, Saturdays at 11 a.m., averages 45,000 viewers per episode, which is considered an excellent rating for the time slot.
“We taped our first episode in July and the series went on the air in August, and so far, 30 episodes, including repeats, have been broadcast,” he said. “In addition, our episodes are now available on Time Warner Cable’s Wisconsin on Demand, and they are airing in four other markets in the Midwest.”
The series gives a hidden perspective and insight into the world of husband and wife travel, from the fun to the frustrating, admitted Dolan.“Our target audience is the baby boomer husband and wife, because that is what we are,” he said. “We’re about couples who have a little more time and a little more money to travel because their children are now grown and gone.”
Travel show filled a nicheThe decision to produce a program based on travel stemmed from the Dolans’ passion for the same; they often watched travel programs together, but never saw one that was hosted by a husband and wife team.
"We believed our show would appeal to other husbands and wives and believed that this fact alone could set our show apart,” he said. “Now, it turns out our idea was so good that The Travel Channel took our idea and is starting a husband and wife travel show of their own.”
In addition to the travel show, Dolan produced the television program, “One Archdiocese, Two Basilicas,” broadcast last winter. He also produces “Potawatomi Sports Attic” sports memorabilia show for Channel 24, and is producing a video on location in Rome, for a college in Minnesota. He remains mum about his latest project, and offered only a teaser for an explanation of the program’s content.“It is an exciting project that will debut this winter in Milwaukee,” he said.
The most difficult aspect in leaving WISN-AM was the close friends and co-workers he left behind, but Dolan embraced the idea to venture off on his own for his greatest challenge of all. Understandably, running a television production company can entail great responsibility as well as a bit of fortuitousness; but he would have it no other way. Independent and conscious about potential successes and disappointments, he loves everything about running his own business.
“I love being my own boss, making a decision and not having to run it by 12 different committees,” he said. “I love working some days in my sweat pants and I love being able to sneak in nine holes of golf on a Tuesday afternoon.”
Leaning on faith for guidanceDolan, a member of St. Luke Parish in Brookfield, credits his strong Catholic faith with his role to pursue the lifestyle decision, and because he takes his faith seriously, it made his choice and easy one
"My faith teaches me that there are so many other things more important than what we choose to do for a career,” he said, “And whether or not I succeed or fail in this new endeavor means very little when you have God and family and friends playing an important and active role in your life.”
While life in the public eye can have the downfall of instant recognition, Dolan is quick to dispel the notion that he is worthy of celebrity status.
“To me, a celebrity would be an athlete or a movie star,” he said. “That being said, being in the public eye is most often a good thing and very rarely a frustrating thing. It’s a positive because you can make things happen, you can get people to help you do good things and you can get in a lot of doors; it can also help you meet new people and make new friends.”
Dolan is serious when disclosing that he applied for his AARP card when he turned 50, but was happy to find that he felt no different than when he turned 40.
“You are as old as you feel,” he said. “I don’t feel 50. I don’t feel like two thirds of my life is over, instead I believe the best is yet to come and I embrace this next phase of my life.”From weather man to assemblyman

Although former WTMJ-TV Channel 4 meteorologist Jim Ott was always interested in government, it wasn’t until his forced retirement, after 30 years with the station, that his passion became his career.
“It was difficult to leave, but with TV, it isn’t that unexpected,” he admitted. “You don’t really see a lot of people in news, weather and sports who work until 65 and most leave earlier for one reason or another — that’s why I got my law degree in 2000, because I anticipated that day coming.”
Despite the initial disappointment, Ott rarely has time to miss his days working for the television station; last November, he was elected State Representative for District 23. A Republican, he is vice chair of the National Resources Committee, on the Education Reform Committee, the Committee on Elections and Constitutional Law, and the Assembly Committee on Workforce Development.
“I think our form of government is so successful compared to what we see in many other parts of the world,” he said. “We have a representative type in which people play a role — it is very unique and our founding fathers were really brilliant when they came up with this, and we are still doing it. When you see what is going on in other parts of the world, you really appreciate what we have here.”
An important advantage with his new position is the ability to reach out to the citizens within his district who need a little extra help.
“People call my office with problems they are having with state agencies and certain facets of government and either I, or my secretary, can go right to the department to solve the problem with the issue they are facing,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what the political leanings, they are all non-partisan and we do what we can to help within our office. It can be frustrating for people who call and get an automatic phone system and not often able get to a real person. With our office, you call and you get to a real person.”
At age 60, Ott is as energetic as many adults half his age, and he credits his faith for leading him to work in service to the people both in the public sector as an elected official and in service to Christ at his Mequon parish, Lumen Christi. Otts host grief ministry programFor the past 22 years, Ott and his wife Carol have hosted a grief ministry support group at the parish. Ott met Carol during a period of mourning, after they each lost a spouse.
The group became an extension of the healing ministry they offered to each other and is a helpful resource for all, not just Roman Catholics, who are grieving over the loss of someone important in their lives.
“The grief support gives a setting with others who are experiencing or who have experienced the same thing; it is a chance to get together twice a month for an hour and a half,” he said. “It is a very rewarding ministry partly because it isn’t something that anyone can decide to do; we work from our own experience as well as utilizing my wife’s expertise. She has a Ph.D. in educational psychology and is a licensed counselor as well.”
While the numbers who attend the support meetings vary from month to month, the primary focus remains unchanged.
“It is a very good discussion group and helpful for others who are dealing with the same thing,” he said. “There is comfort and camaraderie — and the recognition that when a wife, husband, child or sibling dies that it is a unique and painful experience.”
Important to use God-given giftsWhile he understands that he is still young and healthy enough to pursue more recreational pastimes, Ott enjoys the challenge of a second career and feels that it is imperative to use the gifts God has given him for others.
“I have a responsibility to use those gifts and if you were to categorize everything, God always comes first,” he said. “I find that accomplishing things and doing worthwhile things are both rewarding and challenging and believe it is good to challenge ourselves.”
Years in the public eye often bring a variety of stares, comments, and positive and negative attention, but, like Dolan, Ott takes those moments in stride and finds that most people are friendly.
“I enjoy talking to people and meeting them, but since I really qualify as an introvert, having something to talk about really helps,” he said. “Most people will say, ‘I’ve watched you on TV a long time,’ and I tell them that I appreciate that, it keeps me in business.”
Since much of Ott’s life surrounded the weather and all of its vicissitudes, most comments had to do with his perfect and not so perfect forecasts.
“Oh, I got complaints about the weather, and people would sometimes think there was something I could do about it,” he said, laughing. “That was what was most funny about it. The hardest part is that none of us is perfect, nobody forecasts perfectly and forecasts can go wrong. On the flip side, if you consistently do a good job and hit difficult forecasts, it is quite rewarding.”
Prior to the election, Ott was traveling door-to-door campaigning so he could meet the people in his district and get a feel for their concerns. While Ott expected that most people might recognize him, he was taken a bit off guard when he rang one woman’s doorbell on steamy afternoon last July.
“It was about 4:15 p.m., and you have to remember, I had been off the air since the end of April. A woman answered the door and she had this surprised look on her face,” he said. “She said, ‘I was wondering about you; I was just watching the weather and wondering if you were OK — and here you are!’ That was really nice.”
Admittedly, when Ott would correctly call a sunny, 75-degree Saturday, everyone was happy. With politics, it isn’t always that easy.
“Of course, if you forecast rain on a Saturday, people won’t be happy, but in politics there is much more at stake,” he said. “We make decisions that really affect people and you just can’t please everybody with these decisions and form of government. However, every four years we elect a new president and even though there is contentious campaigning, all will agree and work with the leadership. But in a dictatorship it is often who controls the army and it isn’t often a peaceful transition of power many times, so I really respect our form of government.”

Monday, July 30, 2007

Valerie Pieh's First Day of School

Oh check out this little sweetpea. It was her first day of Kindergarten today and as you can see by her sister Heather clinging to her, that they are very close. I wonder how the girls will do once they are separate this year. Better yet, how will Mommy Susan do with only one little one at home?

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Can't forget William

Here is William, our darling little nephew--we had a ball with him in Ohio in May and hope to see him and his mama--my sister, Amy very soon! The ugly duckling on the right is the ancient auntie--yours truly

Apple Tree

These beautiful girls are my nieces, Valerie and Heather holding the very first fruits of their apple tree. They are the sweetest little things and we are so blessed to have them in our family.

poor sean

Well my world traveler son ended up in a place called newkirchen or something like that instead of neinkirchen where my brother and his family life. He ended up having to take another train all the way from the austrian border back to neinkirchen and and is supposed to be at John and Petra's by 1:30 a.m. I imagine he will be exhausted!
John and Petra's new home is above and they are the couple on the left side having a party with their friends.

Still working on the K/news insert-I am up to 18 stories and 18 data pieces. I probably need to write about 6 more stories this week and then I will be ready for the insane asylum

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Big projects

This is it---no more giant newspaper inserts for me that seem to take on a life of their own. What began as a simple insert with a reasonable deadline and approximately 13 stories just divebombed into more than 25 at the 11th hour. Give me a break! Yesterday I wrote 13 stories and now I have to write at least another 13 in the next two weeks--and all would be well except that people are so terrible about getting back to me. You would think they could either answer a simple phone call or return an email, but people are too busy for even that, these days.

So, HJB, I love you, but no more massive projects, no matter how much you butter me up---be of good cheer

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Poem from Linda






Sunday, July 22, 2007

Crabby and Tired

I don't have a lot of positive things to say today. Insecurity, crabbiness and frustration having taken over my mind this morning. Yes, I realize it is Sunday, the Lord's day and we are headed to church, but I am feeling a bit cynical regarding life and optimism. We've been on a long spiraling journey downward and I am so ready to see the road turn upward into fresh green fields rather than looking at murky dung heaps.

told you I was crabby........

Friday, July 20, 2007

Cheap getaway

Last year, when Blaise was in a two week training session, we met in Madison and stayed at a hotel. The stay was less than desirable, so I complained to the main headquarters about their accomodations, or lack thereof. We recevied a free hotel pass--yeah, pays to complain. We are using it this weekend and going back to Madison and then to the famer's market in the morning. That is one of our favorite and cheapest things to do --I love the aromas of fresh cheese breads, smoked sausages, ripe tomatoes and fruit wafting along the streets of the Capital Square. It's fun to see the Amish families pitching in to sell their succulent jams and jellies, home made pies, breads and jumbo cookies. Of course, you meet all sorts of people with varying alternative lifestyles who hand out literature and try to convert or collect money, but it adds to the ambiance. After our purchases, the final cap of the weekend is sitting on the capital lawn with a steaming cup of coffee and a hot and tasty bag of kettle corn....yummy

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Isn't it odd
That some people who go around acting holier than thou will lie, cheat and steal in order to get their own way?
isn't it odd
That some people will lie on their income taxes to avoid paying their required amount of child support?
isn't it odd
That some people will go out of their way to cheat their children and then wonder why the kids will have nothing to do with them?
isn't it odd
that some people will spend thousands of dollars to save a few hundred?
isn't it odd
that some people will make an agreement to pay a debt in order to avoid a court hearing and then stall twice, only to come back and find another creative way to lie, cheat and steal from not only their children, but the United States Government?
Isn't it odd
that in the eternal scheme of things----that they actually think they can get away from it?
Oh to fall into the hands of the living God

Deadlines and Projects

Happily I can say that I finished two stories on deadline last night, yeah! Hopefully, today I'll have time to work on my latest giant project. It is an insert for the Kenosha News on the 50th anniversary celebration of St. Joseph High School. Most of the interviews are completed, but I have a few who have not responded and I need to work on some filler info, such as architect and other structural information on the building. It is a lot of work and thanks to a lot of other work, I am a bit behind. I just need a few days to concentrate on the project. This is set to print in mid-august--so I have a bit of time yet before I start panicking!

Monday, July 16, 2007

For Kelly

Ode to Pablo
Your bowl stands empty
can't bare to let you go.
your presence meant much to me.
you became ill
just floated on the surface
on my dusty windowsill
I miss your glance when you swam
such a pretty beta
without you, I know not who I am
don't be mad, my little fish
my heart is opened anew
Picasso came here and fulfilled my wish
I feel happy again
he is having fun swimming in his beaker
please forgive me, if you can
rest in peace little Pablo

Trying to get traffic

Technorati Profile

Sunday, July 15, 2007

What a great day! Temps are in mid-80's and since we attended Mass last night, Blaise and I made a trip down to Lake Michigan to the annual Art Fair--it was a lot of fun, but I think we had more fun at the neighboring garage sales. We picked up an antique juice pitcher, a coin set, and a couple of handpainted matrushka dolls from a lady from Russia.

Tonight we grilled some salmon and steaks, made marinated grilled zucchini, potatoes au gratin, and salad from our garden.

AND..........drum roll, I finished a story that I have been trying to fit in for a while--yippee! Hey Sam, this one is for you--and just want you to know if you see this, that I will miss you at the Herald--but maybe you will have work for me at the Green Bay Diocese? Pretty please?

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Well, the air is cool and clear today--no more 90+ temps for a while. This should make my brother Mike, the plumber very happy as he is stuck out in the elements quite a bit of the time. I always feel bad for people who work outside in extreme weather while I am holed up at my computer--but I guess that is why he makes the big bucks and I make a paltry sum. Oh to be JK Rowling at this point--now that would be a major kick. I have a few books in the works, but can't seem to get them to the publishing point--if I did get at least one of them going, maybe I could forgo the freelancing gig.

Here is a picture of Zachary on one of those dog day afternoons that I just mentioned--I think he's ready for an iced tea or bowl of sorbet!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Maybe I have it all wrong and am supposed to be doing something else with my time. The markets I generally write for seem to have dried up--sure, I have other venues at the moment, and while I appreciate them, the pay is not so good. God must be giving me a lesson here somehow, but I am not sure what it is. Maybe he wants me at the corner McDonald's flipping burgers because at the rate I am going this summer, it would certainly pay more.
Want fries with that?

Monday, July 9, 2007

All aboard the Lady of the Lake

And of course, no day would be complete without a few games of Horse!

Tom, Marge, Diane and Erin after the Boat tour--Molly had to leave quickly for work.

Diane, Tom and Erin in front of Jelly Belly Factory...Marge was not feeling well for this part so she stayed home and watched birds.

Jelly Belly Fun

Well, the family has gone back to Pensacola and arrived safely. we had a wonderful time touring the jelly belly factory, Mars Cheese factory--hey, they are in Wisconsin, you just have to get some cheese! Then in the afternoon we took the Lady of the Lake Boat tour on Lake Geneva. They enjoyed seeing and hearing about all the gorgeous mansions--I think we all wish we could afford one of our own. In the evening we went to Popeyes for their fish fry--another Wisconsin novelty, I found out. They seemed to enjoy the dinner. It was hard to say good bye, but with such good memories, nothing can put a damper on the week. The only thing I could use is a bit of rest--I am kind of pooped and finding it hard to get back into my writing routine.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Catching up

Well, Peter, Diane and her parents are in Two Rivers, Wi for their family reunion. I had some time to finish a story and actually managed to file it by my 9 a.m. deadline. YAY! I was worried, but so far, in the past 17 years, I have never missed a deadline and that makes me happy. Now, if the papers would just keep their end of the bargain, I would be happy. Seems as if they are always in a hurry for my stuff and then take their time with publication and worst of all, with payment! This week I have to do a few interviews and then write up two pieces for a magazine by Monday--I have to get busy because the family returns on Thursday afternoon--so can't procrastinate for too long.