Thursday, June 27, 2019


I'm getting tired of writing about work friends who have left us.  A man who was probably one of my closest friends in the television news business died this week.  Bruce Lindsay was a larger than life personality who ran the assignment desk at WDAF in Kansas City for years. 

Bruce and I started at WDAF at about the same time.  He was older and knew the city like the back of his hand.  His contacts with local law enforcement were the stuff of legend.  Bruce broke more big stories thanks to those contacts than anybody I ever worked with in K.C.  If something was in the air Bruce would say, let me use the source-o-phone and make a call.
Bruce was wise enough to know who was answering calls on the detectives desk at KCPD and would have me make the call for him if it was someone who didn't like him.  He would advise me as how to talk to the detective and more often than not the result was a story.  I know he pissed off somebody at the department for the information he got about legendary Kansas City serial killer, Bob Berdella.

Bruce and I spent a lot of after work hours together listening to jazz.  We would go somewhere for live music or hit a popular bar with an incredible collection of jazz records for a beer.  Milton's Tap Room was a one of kind place for a one of a kind man like Bruce.  

Bruce loved his guns.  He collected them, lots of them.  He brought them to work when he shouldn't have.  I think his love of guns was only topped by his love of music and his three daughters.  

No one put on a show at the assignment desk like Bruce.  He would spout lines from his favorite movies, particularly "Full Metal Jacket," and regale anyone who would listen about his time as a Marine.  If it wasn't for a bad spine I think Bruce would have served 20 in the Corps. 

When I returned to Kansas City after a three year stint in Phoenix, Bruce pulled me aside after I had been back on the job for a couple of months.  He confessed that my re-hire had made him mad.  He thought I was an asshole but he could see that I had changed and was happy that I had come home to Channel 4.  I think it's the nicest thing has anybody ever told me.

Then there were the nicknames.  Bruce had nicknames for everyone, mine, Rink, became Stink or Stink Boy Brown depending on his mood.  Sportscaster Frank Boal became the Boal Weevil, anchor Cynthia Smith was dubbed the News Hawk.  He was indiscriminate with his nicknames and they were always spot on.

During my last couple of years at FOX 4, Bruce and I delighted in terrorizing the new associate producers.  I would whisper to them that Bruce had served time for murder at Brushy Mountain Prison in Tennessee so it was best not to anger him.  Given his usual sour disposition the AP's would take my stories as gospel.  

The last 30 years of his life were unfair.  His woes started with a lawn mower accident that cost him a finger.  His bad back would lead to several medical complications. Those issues led to a whole slew of other problems that didn't make for a life that he deserved. 

Bruce Lindsay was a difficult man who lived a difficult life.  But he brought a joy and an uproar that kept the newsroom alive and humming.  His passion for music will always stay with me, as will the Jazz in the Night poster that he gave me some 30 years ago.  It's sad that he left us probably not knowing how many lives he touched and how many people loved him.

Sunday, June 23, 2019


Who is Dasha Dorofeev?  She is an eight-year-old getting ready for the third grade.  Dasha is a gymnast.  She speaks fluent Russian, but that's because mom and dad brought her here from Riga, Latvia when she was just age two.

Eight days ago Dasha, her mother Natasha and sister Masha were in a horrific car crash during a driving rain storm.  The crash broke Natasha's shoulder and left her with two collapsed lungs.  Masha survived with a slight concussion and a scratch on her arm.  Dasha was trapped in the wreckage and San Carlos Park firefighters cut her out of the car to save her life.

Dasha was taken by helicopter to Lee Memorial Hospital and then transferred by ground to Tampa General which has a pediatric unit that can handle neurological crises.  She was incubated and heavily sedated.  By Monday the breathing tube was removed and the recovery process began.

The last eight days have been a blur.  I have been in Fort Myers the entire time save for two trips to Tampa.  My first responsibility was to take care of Masha while mom recovered.  My first trip came on Wednesday after I retrieved Natasha from the hospital and the other this weekend to take my wife Tatyana out for dinner and a much needed cocktail.

Vlad, Natasha and Tatyana take turns sitting with Dasha around the clock. The progress is measured in teeny, tiny increments of hope.  A hug here, a kiss there, and finally a giggle plus a trip down the hallway to put together a puzzle.

Seeing Dasha is like seeing a severe stroke victim.  She struggles to focus but she fights mightily to do so.  She has yet to speak.  It may take weeks for that to happen.  But she has accomplished the impossible in a matter of days.

For grandma, mom and dad the days have no meaning.  Masha has gone to Sarasota to stay with a friend, a great getaway from the grind of watching her sister.  I don't know how she will rebound from all of this.  I don't know how any of us will recover.  But we will and so will Dasha.