Tragedy kept Northwest Flight 255 from landing at Phoenix's Sky Harbor International Airport on Aug. 16, 1987. The plane crashed shortly after takeoff from Detroit, and there was only one survivor.
Gary Martin, now an Elk Grove resident, remembers the day well. He was the weekend managing editor at the CBS affiliate in Phoenix, and scrambled his team to respond to news that didn't come until nearly 7 p.m. their time. That team included Dale Schornack, before he came to work at Sacramento's News10.
"Dale wrote the lead package that night and then we had live reports from our own Sky Harbor Airport," Martin said. "We were live out of Detroit that night and then later had a live report out of the continuation of that flight, which was in Burbank as I recall."
Their work won an Emmy.
Martin came to Sacramento to work for News10, but he decided to take a job as an educator in 1991. He's now the department chair for radio, TV and film at Cosumnes River College, but starting July 1 he'll be executive director of Access Sacramento, the public access broadcaster. He'll take the reins from Ron Cooper, who's retiring after 21 years in the role.
Soon after beginning work, Martin said, he'll launch a series of forums to gather public opinion about what Access Sacramento is doing and what it could do better. He noted that he won't completely leave the role of educator behind.
"A big part of Access Sacramento's mission is training as well as providing access to the equipment that makes voices come alive," he said.
"When people need to learn how to operate a video camera so that they can create a memory video of their child's ballet recital, we can help them learn how to do that."
Comedian is Boston tough
Entertainer Jack Gallagher should write a book on reinventing yourself.
Maybe one day, he will. The Boston-area native has done a lot of other things he never expected when he was working on his degree in 18th-century English literature at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
"Would you want to pay for your kid to go to college to study 18th-century English literature?" he asks after a laugh that sounds like a groan. " I got out of college and did odd jobs."
Gallagher is probably known best as a stand-up comic, but he's also been the host of a short-lived local TV show, celebrity spokesman, actor, voice-over talent, scriptwriter for corporate videos, playwright and now keynote speaker.
He said there was about a year in there where he thought he'd made it.
"I had a sitcom deal for a while," he said. " It was put on the schedule and it was canceled seven days before it was supposed to premiere. My dad, who's passed away, was incredibly helpful because I was feeling terribly sad for myself."
Over the phone, he said, John Gallagher read him the riot act: "Are you bleeding? Is anything broken? Can you walk?"
"Yeah," the son replied.
Dad's advice: "Then get off your ass and do something."
It was genuine Boston attitude, said Gallagher, and that is something he wants the nation to adopt.
So, he's adding T-shirt retailer to his list of accomplishments.
At www.jackgallagher.info the entertainer is selling T's with the Navy Jack flag and the words "Don't tread on me" and "Made in Massachusetts."
After he covers his costs, proceeds will go to the One Fund in Boston, benefiting those affected by the terrorist attack on Patriot's Day.
Betting on her talent
Sacramento jazz singer Beth Duncan served a rather expensive calling card to the music industry in September, a CD called "Comes the Fall" that she and family members funded out of their own pockets.
The effort Duncan won't say exactly how much it cost recently paid off with a nomination in the Independent Music Awards. The title track, composed by Martine Tabilio, is one of five tunes competing for best song in the cabaret category.
The award has not been the only benefit Duncan has seen.
"I really don't have the freedom to tour and go from place to place to build fans," Duncan said. "This project and the recognition that it has been getting opens doors for me to be able to get to play places like the Sound Room in Oakland this Saturday night."
Tunes from Duncan's CD have been played on about 130 U.S. radio stations and others as far away as Kobe, Japan.
Learn more about the project and her upcoming appearances at bethduncan.com.
Duncan didn't know she had the pipes to be a lead singer until vocal coach Judy Davis accepted her as a student. Davis, who died in 2001, worked with superstars such as Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland.