Jack Hall Blog
ESCANABA, MI---FEBRUARY 12, 2016-2:01 A.M.
We're heading into the busiest time of the winter sports season. Over the next few weeks, we will have a lot of boys and girls basketball games on the air, as well as the Escanaba Eskymo hockey team looking to make another long playoff run.

I am juggling the broadcasts the best I can for the Gladstone boys and girls basketball teams, as well as the Eskymo hockey team. Because of snowstorms and my health issues, I haven't been able to get the Gladstone girls on the air very much.
 
So, I am putting three games on the air for the girls before the regular season ends: next Monday against Escanaba, February 23rd at Kingsford, and February 25th against Iron Mountain. And, the following week, the girls district game way up in Houghton.

This means I will not be able to cover the Eskymo hockey team's make-up game with Negaunee on the 25th, and I won't be able to air the Gladstone boys make-up game on the 23rd against Marquette. I will have the boys on the air next Tuesday in Negaunee, and, of course, I will broadcast the boys' big game against Escanaba on the 26th.

And as for the Eskymos, I am heading to Houghton this Saturday...and to Calumet and Hancock next weekend...to cover their games. And every Eskymo hockey playoff game will be on the radio. So...that's my plan right now to get as much coverage as possible for these three teams that I cover as we head into March Madness...oops, March Magic, as the MHSAA says.

And besides these games that are on the radio, I have tried to attend matches for the Escanaba and Gladstone wrestling teams, as well as some of the basketball games for our local Class D teams. I may not be doing the play-by-play for those teams (you'd never want to hear me try to do wrestling), but I am doing pictures and videos for RRNsports.com on those nights.

Let's have a fun three or four weeks!

---later, Jack

GREEN BAY, WI--FEBRUARY 9. 2016-12:35 A.M. CT
Well, the week started with a long day in Green Bay. No, not for a shopping trip. This was a trip to the Green Bay Eye Clinic as we try to repair my eyesight. I have had a hard time seeing because of the diabetes, and so the treatment of my eye issues began on Monday.
 
Basically, I have damage to my retinas, especially in my right eye.
 
I saw a retina specialist...Dr. Wang...on Monday, and he injected a drug into my right eye with the hopes that it will start to stop the leakage of blood into my retinas. That leaking is what's making it very difficult for me to see much of anything.
 
I have to go back in March for another injection, as well as for a number of additional tests.

It is possible that I will be able to take future injections in Escanaba, or Dr. Wang may do laser surgery in Green Bay. Don't really know which yet. I have to say it realy sucked to have a needle stuck into my eye. I was NOT knocked out for the procedure, although they did numb the area after they dilated my eyes. The pain was pretty minimal, actually.

I have to give a big "thank you" to my friend Mike Dagenais for driving me there, and for staying with me at the clinic. It was very much appreciated. Mike will be helping me again Tuesday night as I try to broadcast the Gladstone Braves-Marquette Redmen boys basketball game. That is a big GNC game and I hope you all can come watch, or tune in on NewsTalk 600 AM.

---later, Jack

ESCANABA, MI--FEBRUARY 5, 2016-2:14 A.M.
I am hoping that the eye problems I am having will be solved soon.
 
I went to see Dr. Kohli at U.P. Optometry on Thursday and he told me kind of what I already guessed: I have damage done to my eyes due to diabetes. It's called retinopathy, and it means that high levels of sugar in my blood caused these little microbes to start leaking blood into my eyes. That's why I have had the white spots in front of everything I've seen for weeks.

It has gotten worse, as many of my friends can attest. And on Thursday, when they dilated my eyes to do a whole bunch of tests, they stayed dilated and I could barely see. So, I walked into the Wells Sports Complex for the Eskymo hockey game against Kingsford wearing sun glasses, and unable to see well enough to do the play-by-play broadcast of the game.
 
Luckily my friend, Kingsford announcer John Koehler, himself a diabetic, was able to broadcast the game for both our station and his, with Mark Gauthier doing the color comentary. I hosted the pre-and-post-game shows, as well as the intermission shows. I felt like an idiot wearing sunglasses inside the hockey rink! But we got through the evening OK.
 
I will be heading to Green Bay on Monday for treatment at the Green Bay Eye Clinic. I will need either laser surgery, and/or an injection of medicine into the eyeballs. Ugh! Wish me luck!

---later, Jack

ESCANABA, MI--FEBRUARY 4, 2016-1:33 A.M.
It was a nice win for the Gladstone Braves wrestling team over the Escanaba Eskymos.

It was especially big for Braves sophomore Diego Mileski, who was trailing Eskymo Sergei LaMarche, 10-5, midway through their 125-pound match. LaMarche is an experienced wrestler, but Mileski battled hard and earned a pretty improbable victory by pin.

The match was redemption for the Braves, after losing to the Eskymos in a dual meet earlier this season. Gladstone likely sewed up the Mariucci Trophy for the U.P.'s best team, although the coaches have the final say on that. Both teams get ready for the districts now!

As for me, I head to the optomotrist Thursday afternoon. Hopefully Dr. Kholi can figure out what's happening to my eyes and work on a plan to fix them. Then, maybe I could actually see clearly again!

---later, Jack

ESCANABA, MI--FEBRUARY 3, 2016-1:44 A.M.
One year ago, at pretty much the very moment that I write this, there was an explosion at the Escanaba Power Plant, and the substation there was destroyed. The city's other substation couldn't power the entire community, so Escanaba leaders decided to set up rolling blackouts.

For a few hours, you'd lose power while someone else had power. I remember it was a very cold night, and the next day, the city was nearly at a standstill. Looking back, I think that incident showed me just how much we rely on things like electricity, the Internet, cable/satellite television, and all of those modern conveiences.

It turned out that everyone had consistent power again in just over 24 hours from the time of the incident. Think about how many people in war-torn communities are lucky to have power for two or three hours a day. Or those who live in Third World villages without any at all.

On another topic...I was fully expecting our community to be buried under a lot of snow. But as I write this, the Escanaba area has received obly a few inches of snow. Having said that, the roads are still messy, so give yourself extra travel time as you head to work or school.

I know some people who were actually looking forward to twelve inches of snow. And not just schoolkids, either. Speaking for myself, the least amount of snow we get the better!

All of the high school basketball and hockey games scheduled for Tuesday night in our area were postponed. I put the make-up dates for many of them on RRNsports.com. I think the athletic directors in our area did the right thing by erring on the side of safety and caution. Some areas still did get walloped with heavy snow, and even here, it's not pleasant out there.

Have a good Hump Day, everyone.

---later, Jack

ESCANABA, MI--FEBRUARY 1, 2016-1:12 A.M.
How's it going everyone? It's been a while since I did a blog entry.

I was on the road with the Escanaba High School hockey team for four days as the boys played in the Michigan Public High School Hockey Showcase. It's quite an event...58 teams from across Michigan...in the small town of Chelsea. That's near Ann Arbor, by the way.

It's always fun for me to spend time on the road with the guys. I know that a lot of people couldn't make that trip because it is so far away, and that's a lot of vacation time for many people to use. I thank my co-workers Susie Larson and Don Curran for helping out in the newsroom while I was gone. I wrote some stories, but they did the day-to-day work!

The Eskymos played against three very good hockey teams. Chelsea had a 14-1 record, Romeo was 16-1, and Berkley was 11-6 in a tough league. The Esky boys battled from two goals down in all three games and managed to get two ties and a close 5-3 loss to Romeo.

They boys and our coaches represented us well, and not only at the rink. The hotel staff was impressed with the politeness of our kids. The restaurant staff were, too. The kids always clean up after themselves when the bus drops us off. And by the way, thanks to Eric Wilbee from Gold Star Tours for getting us everywhere in one piece. The kids really like Eric.

Anyway, hope you all enjoyed the broadcasts from Chelsea. Thanks to our sponsors for paying the expenses. I will be in Garden Monday night with the Gladstone boys basketball team against the Big Bay Black Bears. Hope you can all tune in!
 
---later, Jack

ESCANABA, MI---JANUARY 26, 2016-1:44 A.M.
I watched most of the Democratic Presidential Town Hall Monday night when I got back from the Rapid River-Stephenson boys basketball game.

I guess the one thing that stood out to me in the forum was just how dangerous it would be for all of us if Bernie Sanders somehow became the next president. He literally spent all of his time talking about raising the taxes of people who have been successful in life, and contrary to what many liberals believe, most "rich" people didn't get that way by stealing from the poor, or by inheriting their wealth from family. Most "rich" people worked to get where they are.

Sanders says we should have a $15 minimum wage, and free college tuition for everybody, and free health care for everyone. It's ideas like that which would bankrupt this country even faster than it might otherwise go bankrupt. With people like Sanders in charge, prepared to confiscate the wealth they earn, why would anyone ever strive to better themselves?

Anyway...hope you will tune in for the Gladstone Braves vs Menominee Maroons girls basketball game Tuesday night on NewsTalk 600 and rrnsports.com at about 7:15 ET.

---later, Jack

ESCANABA, MI--JANUARY 25, 2016-1:02 A.M.
For years, I have felt sympathy for people who had huge medical bills when they got sick.
 
I never knew, however, how much an illness can change your financial life until I started receiving my bills for the infection that had me in the hospital in late November.
 
In many cases, even with Blue Cross, you have to pay thousands of dollars out of your pocket for "deductable" and "co-pays" before the insurance covers a dime.
 
I only stayed one night in the hospital and made only a couple of trips to the emergency room. I can only imagine how much it costs people who have to go to the hospital multiple times, or have to stay in a hospital room for a couple of weeks.

The pricing seems to be outrageous, and I suppose it's that way because so many people don't ever pay their bills, and because so many file for bankruptcy. But, really? $6,300 for one night in a hospital room? That's the most expensive hotel I've ever stayed in!

For all of you dealing with worse medical financial issues than me, hang in there, and just do your best. That's what I am doing with my relatively-small problems!
 
---later, Jack

ESCANABA, MI---JANUARY 22, 2016-1:33 A.M.
It was, as advertised, a good hcokey game between the Escanaba Eskymos and Calumet Copper Kings Thursday night. The Eskymos got a pair of goals from Chris LeMire and had a 2-1 lead, but Calumet scored three goals in the final 2:17 of the game to win, 4-2.

It's unfortunate that a holding penalty was called against Escanaba, away from the play, with 1:40 to play. But give Calumet credit for pouncing on its opportunity to get the game-winning goal, and then to seal the game with the empty-net goal as time ran out.

That was a very good Calumet hockey team, with a lot of speed. They have the potential to make a long playoff run in Division Three. And the Eskymos have proven this week that they, too, are a good hockey team. There were questions about whether \last year's success was due only to Levi Wunder. But this week, with a win at Marquette and an almost-win against Calumet, the Eskymos have shown that they have grown into a strong hockey club as well.

I have a good basketball game for you Friday night. The Gladstone Braves will host the Menominee Maroons. This is the Great Northern Conference. Should have a big crowd. Heck, you should come just to watch Menominee's longtime coach, Pete Pericolossi, roam the sidelines. If you can't make it, though, tune in on Kool 105.5 FM, NewsTalk 600 AM, and on-line at www.rrnsports.com.

---later, Jack

ESCANABA, MI---JANUARY 21, 2016-1:04 A.M.
It was a nice win for the Escanaba High School hockey team Tuesday night in Marquette. The Redmen controlled the play for much of the game, but the Eskymos scored two quick goals in the second period and rode the hot goaltending of Jack Valentine to a 2-0 victory.

It's always sweet for the Eskymos to beat the Redmen, and it was a fun busride back Tuesday night, albeit a late one. Next up is a Thursday night home game against Calumet.
 
It will be very strange to see the Copper Kings come to town without legendary Coach Jim Crawford. He coached that progam to success for three decades. Hope you can come out to Wells and watch the guys, or tune in on NewsTalk 600 AM and rrnsports.com on the Internet, starting at 7:00 Thursday night.

Just a quick "thank you" again to all of the people who have expressed concern about my health recently. I am doing OK. Still trying to fihure out exactly what I can and cannot eat (and when I should and should not eat) while having Tyle Two diabetes. My biggest problem right now is my eyesight. It's not good. But I'm listening to my doctors and hope to make a big comeback!

---later, Jack

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