Splat Attack: Paintball Wars

Feature Stories Comments Off on Splat Attack: Paintball Wars

The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

November 6, 2003

BYLINE: DAWN SHURMAITIS, SPECIAL TO THE RECORD

Jim “Digger” Jenkins likes to shoot people. In fact, he’s obsessed with it.
But Jenkins doesn’t use a gun or real bullets. He prefers a 2003 Custom Cocker paint marker, a sophisticated $1,400 piece of gaming equipment used by aficionados passionate about the fast-rising sport of paintball.

“I tried it and I was hooked. It’s pure adrenaline,” says Jenkins, a 32-year-old tattoo artist from Browns Mills. He’s been playing paintball for three years, spending upward of $200 a week. The cost includes twice-weekly use of an On Target Paintball Games field in Pemberton and an average 2,500 rounds of paintballs per outing. Read the rest…

Under Water with Larry Elliott

Feature Stories Comments Off on Under Water with Larry Elliott

 ABC Ink

By Dawn Shurmaitis

Resting 530 feet below the surface of Lake Superior lies Michigan’s answer to “Titanic.” There, immersed in darkness, is the wreck of the “Edmund Fitzgerald.”

“You can’t help but think of the men who died. It’s a cold, watery grave and it hits you hard. It increases your respect for the power of Lake Superior,” says WJRT-TV anchor Larry Elliott, a veteran scuba diver as well as a veteran newscaster.

Elliott is like an underwater Superman. Every week day, viewers of the Flint station’s 5 p.m. broadcast see him neatly dressed in suit and tie, calmly delivering the news. On weekends, and during emergency rescues, Elliott tosses aside his business suit and dons one made of rubber. “I love the adventure of it,” he says.

Read the rest…

3 FEET FROM EVACUATION

Feature Stories Comments Off on 3 FEET FROM EVACUATION

Ed.note: The following 1A story was part of the team coverage that won the 2003 first place award for breaking news coverage from the Associated Press Managing Editors association.

Wilkes-Barre Times Leader

September 19, 2004 Sunday MAIN EDITION

BYLINE: DAWN SHURMAITIS, For the Times Leader

It worked.

As the Susquehanna River swelled Saturday to levels not seen since 1996, officials and residents alike kept their eyes on the levee system protecting the Wyoming Valley.

Although flash floods spawned by remnants of Hurricane Ivan forced hundreds from their homes, and low-lying communities experienced heavy, widespread flooding, recent improvements and technological advances helped prevent disaster.

Had the river been forecasted to rise another 3 feet to 38 feet, Luzerne County officials would have requested a voluntary, valley-wide evacuation. Levee protection ends at 41 feet with the new dikes.

Luzerne County Commissioner Steve Urban, head of the county flood protection authority, said he felt “very confident” that the levee system would hold. “There are no soft spots. Everything appears to be working as planned.” Read the rest…

NYC Peace Rally

Feature Stories Comments Off on NYC Peace Rally

Wilkes Barre Times Leader

March 21, 2004 Sunday MAIN EDITION

LOCALS IN NYC GIVE WORLD A PEACE OF THEIR MIND

BYLINE: DAWN SHURMAITIS, Special to the Times Leader

NEW YORK CITY – At Sixth and 40th, Charlotte Lewis found her voice – and her friends.

“Peace. Release. Democracy,” Lewis chanted as tens of thousands of anti-war protesters marched through midtown Manhattan on Saturday as part of a global recognition of the one-year anniversary of the Iraq war. Lewis, a 16-year-old from Scranton, bussed to the rally with 50 other activists from Luzerne and Lackawanna counties.

When she heard Lewis’ voice, local organizer Lita Dunn Grossman yelped with glee from the street corner, where she’d been anxiously scanning the streaming crowd, on the lookout for friends and fellow protesters. “Oh thank God. I told her mother I wouldn’t lose her.”

Lewis, who carried a hand-painted sign of Death riding into battle with an American flag, says she wanted to demonstrate for peaceful resistance. “A lot of students are ignorant or apathetic. It’s nice to be part of something.” Read the rest…

Covering a Crisis: Death of JFK Jr.

Feature Stories Comments Off on Covering a Crisis: Death of JFK Jr.

ABC Ink
Covering a Crisis
By Dawn Shurmaitis

When the news hit and the beepers buzzed, dozens of ABC News employees cut short vacations and weekends at the beach to rush to Massachusetts. The search for JKF Jr.’s missing plane was on, and so was the pursuit of information, any information, about the plane’s famous occupants: the dashing Kennedy, his elegant wife and her accomplished sister.

Aviation Correspondent Lisa Stark, the mother of two young kids, was still in pajamas at her Maryland home when the Washington bureau called early Saturday morning, July 17, with the most urgent message possible: a breaking news story that needed her instant attention. Immediately, Stark called her long-time producer, Tina Babarovic. Within minutes, both hit the phones, calling sources to confirm those first few sketchy reports. Read the rest…

Radio City Rockettes

Feature Stories Comments Off on Radio City Rockettes

Wilkes Barre Times LeaderAugust 12, 2001 Sunday MAIN EDITION

AREA WOMAN WHO WAS ONE OF THE ROCKETTES RETURNS FOR GROUP’S 75TH ANNIVERSARY RELIVING RADIO CITY

BYLINE: DAWN SHURMAITIS Special to the Times Leader

SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 1A

LENGTH: 1308 words

NEW YORK CITY – It’s the kind of defining moment that lasts a lifetime.

The lights go down in the famed Radio City Music Hall. The orchestra strikes the first note. The audience hushes. And the world’s most famous precision dance troupe enters from stage left – led by Pennsylvania resident Barbara Woronko.

“I thought ‘Thank you, God, for a mother who made me stick to dancing,’ ” Woronko, who is now Barbara Anzalone, recalls of her debut. “That was the moment of all moments. It was magic. I will never forget it as long as I live.” Read the rest…

Late Nite Rocks

Feature Stories Comments Off on Late Nite Rocks

ABC Ink
Late Night Rocks
By Dawn Shurmaitis

The setting is a small TV studio in New York City framed by lush velvet curtains and fronted by a cheering crowd of about 200 invitees. On stage is a virtual Who’s Who of American pop, rock and rap: David Sanborn, Joan Osborne, Lou Reed, Boz Scaggs, Dr. John, Isaac Hayes and Naughty by Nature. The occasion is a taping for a 90-minute Late Night special.

Late Night Productions – located at ABC in New York – is responsible for concert specials as well as the long-popular “ABC In Concert.” Since its debut in 1991, the current incarnation of “In Concert” has delivered music to the masses in a unique, after-hours program featuring everyone from Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead to Hanson and Rage Against the Machine. Read the rest…

ABC NEWS IN LONDON

Feature Stories Comments Off on ABC NEWS IN LONDON

By Dawn Shurmaitis

Moscow. Edinburgh. Berlin. Jerusalem. Bonn. Johannesburg. The list goes on. ABC News correspondents are so often on their way to somewhere else, they joke that their home base in London is but a pit stop on the way to the world. When news breaks overseas, chances are great the London news desk is somehow involved.

“We cover stories that are important to our viewers — and, therefore, our broadcasts,” says Rex Granum, Director of News Coverage for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and the London Bureau Chief. “London is a jumping off point. This is the logical place for the primary overseas bureau.”

In late August and early September, the bureau swelled in size, and importance. Hundreds of ABC News personnel poured into London to report on the death of Princess Diana. While it wasn’t quite business as usual for the 90 ABC employees who call London home, it was another chance to prove their importance to company’s overall news operation. Read the rest…

Princes Di’s Funeral: Coming Together in Crisis

Feature Stories Comments Off on Princes Di’s Funeral: Coming Together in Crisis

ABC Ink

By Dawn Shurmaitis

The Monday after millions watched a somber farewell to Princess Diana, ABC News Chairman Roone Arledge circulated a memo to news employees that marked the unofficial end to round-the-clock coverage. It read, simply: “Congratulations and great job.”

“Our hallmark is special events coverage,” Arledge said later. “By far, the best was coverage of Princess Diana’s funeral. We make a concerted effort to be on top of these stories when they happen.”

The week-long reporting of the death of a princess required the efforts of more than 200 ABC personnel culled, within hours, from television and radio bureaus in London, New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. “It was unprecedented,” says London Bureau Chief Rex Granum, whose office served as home base. “It was huge.” On the day of the funeral alone, ABC broadcast nine hours of live coverage. The total, unbudgeted, cost to the network? $3.6 million. Read the rest…

Covering the Clintons

Feature Stories Comments Off on Covering the Clintons

ABC Ink
Headline: Covering the Crisis in the White House
Byline: Dawn Shurmaitis

It’s late Tuesday afternoon, January 20. ABC News Investigative Producer Chris Vlasto has just spoken to a key source on a story his gut tells him is The Big One. At 8 that night, already at home in Chevy Chase, Md., Special Correspondent Jackie Judd reaches another important source who confirms the final, vital details.

But they aren’t alone. While no other network correspondent is close to the story of the President, the intern and the advisor, Judd and Vlasto know a Washington Post reporter is closing in. The race is on to scoop the paper before its morning edition hits newstands.

Decision time. Washington Bureau Chief and VP Robin Sproul gets on the phone for a conference call to Cuba, where ABC News President David Westin, Senior VP Bob Murphy and what seems like half the news division is preparing for the Pope’s historic visit with Fidel Castro. Westin wants one more source before he’ll give the OK to air. Ninety minutes later, Justice Department Producer Beverley Lumpkin gets that source. Read the rest…