Friday, May 24, 2019


Tim Richardson was a local television news star.  At least that's the way I thought of him as a teenager growing up in Lawrence, Kansas watching Kansas City television.  Tim worked at KMBC.  He was a consumer reporter who helped people.  The charisma just oozed off the screen. 

So I was awestruck when I first met Tim.  I was working at KMBC as an intern in the spring of 1978.  By this time Tim had left television news and if my memory serves me correctly he was working for the city of Kansas City, Kansas at the time. 

I didn't have strong feelings about many of the on-air people at the start my career.  Tim was out of the business but he had left his mark on this impressionable young journalist.  I felt the same way about Charles Gray, who had migrated to radio by the time I started at Channel 9.  And I eventually felt that way about his replacement at KMBC, the larger than life Larry Moore.

I learned tonight that Tim Richardson had died.  The news left me crushed.  I don't know why.  Losing people who had an impact on your life is part of living life.  But Tim left a deep impression on me.

It's probably because I got to know Tim when he returned to television at WDAF TV.  I soon found out that Tim like most heroes, had his weaknesses.  But he was a special man, with incredible ties to the community at large.

I always felt that Tim was looking out for me.  He would even fetch me a meal from Gates BBQ and makes sure my beef sandwich was lean.  I think we had a bond because I gave him respect that few of the other producers at the station gave him.

Tim could be slippery and could be prone to not pushing to do his best work.  That angered the other producers.  I was tolerant of his unusual work habits because I knew that when I needed him, when it was important, Tim Richardson would come through for me.  He would get the story.

Tim was a dapper, hip man of the town. One day I came to work one day in a pink dress shirt.  He quizzed me about whether wearing pink would in some way mask my masculinity.  I assured him that it didn't and it wasn't before too long that Tim had purchased a pink dress shirt.

I remember when Tim had learned that Kansas City Chiefs great Buck Buchanan was dying from lung cancer.  Tim and talked about whether we should break the news.  Tim spoke with the Buchanan family who pleaded with us to wait, that when the time was right they would give us the scoop.  Tim trusted me with the information knowing I wouldn't share it until the time was right.

It wasn't a month or so later that the Kansas City Star broke the Buchanan news and we were beaten out of a big story.  Tim showed me something in that moment.  He wasn't angry.  It was just part of the job and that you just had to push forward and do the best with the hand you were dealt.

Tim wasn't the best reporter I worked with and he certainly had his faults.  But I always enjoyed working with him.  I savored his company whether it was a beer after work or a quick lunch together at Gates.  I wish I could be with him one last time for a beef and a half with fries.


Wednesday, May 1, 2019


A big weekend lies ahead for a handful of outstanding track and field athletes from Lee County.  At least a half a dozen runners and throwers stand a chance of claiming gold at the Florida State High School Track and Field Championships in Jacksonville.  The two day event starts Friday at Hodges Stadium on the campus of the University of North Florida.

We’ll start with the throwers and Fort Myers High standout Jacob Lemmon.  The senior discus thrower leads the nation with the best ever toss in Florida high school history of 209 feet six inches.  Lemmon could also score points in the shot put.  SFCA’s Rebekah Bergquist is a standout discus thrower as well.  She sits just outside the national top ten in the discus and Bergquist should score points for the Kings in the shot put as well.

Dunbar has the market cornered on sprinters.  A healthy Seneca Milledge could end his storied career for the Tigers with a Class 2A 100 meter title.  And if Milledge is on Dunbar’s 4x100 team, the result could be double gold.  Dunbar has a pair of girls who could make the podium as well in the sprints. Junior Teera Stewart shines in the 100 and 200 and hurdling sensation Lucheyona Weaver is coming into her own as a sophomore.

A pair of gold medals would make up for a rough and tumble season for the greatest middle distance runner in Southwest Florida history.  Estero senior Hugh Brittenham overcame health issues to put himself in a position to capture both the 800 and 1,600 meter titles.  Brittenham is the defending 3A state champion in the 800.  Assuming he’s healthy, the Florida bound star stands an excellent chance of winning the 800 and adding the 1,600 crown, a race he finished second in last year.

ECS 400 meter standout Moriah Oliveira should defend her Class 1A 400 meter crown.  With the help of her twin sister Sierra, ECS could also claim the 4x800 and 4x400 relay titles this weekend.  A team podium finish could result if Sierra can duplicate her 2015 victory at 800 meters.

And that takes us to the Friday morning Lee County showdown that will highlight the meet, Sierra Oliveira vs. Cantebury’s Jessica Edwards over 800 meters.  This duo went one-two at last year’s state meet with Edwards taking her first state gold.  Edwards has dominated the meetings at 800 meters so far this year.  With good weather and great competition Lee County could see its second high school girl under 2:10 for that distance, the question is will it be Edwards, Oliveira or perhaps both?

On Saturday Edwards will try to add a 1,600 meter crown after her 4x800 duties.  Last year as a ninth grader Edwards took second.  This year besides the 1,600 title, Edwards will hope to join the exclusive list of Lee County girls who have broken five minutes over that distance. 

Regardless of the times, Lee County athletes stand ready to make an impressive haul of gold medals this weekend in Jacksonville.