Sandy Socolow, Walter Cronkite's "right hand," dies at 86

Category: In The News
Published: Monday, 02 February 2015
Written by Admin

NEW YORK - Sanford Sandy Socolow, who as Walter Cronkites right-hand played a key role in the anchormans coverage of the biggest news of the 1960s and 70s, including the space launches, Vietnam War and Watergate, died Saturday at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York from complications from a long illness. He was 86.

As the trusted lieutenant of The Most Trusted Man in America, Socolow shared a news philosophy with the anchorman and enjoyed a special status behind the scenes at CBS News throughout Cronkites reign in the anchor chair from 1962 to 1981. He held several positions during the Cronkite era -- co-producer and executive producer of the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite, vice president of CBS News, in which he supervised all hard news programming, and Washington bureau chief -- but acting as liaison to the biggest television news star in the world put him in a unique and powerful position. It was a role he continued to play until Cronkite died in 2009.

Socolow began a 30-year career at CBS on the morning news as a writer in late 1956 and soon found himself writing for a midday news program fronted by the up-and-coming Cronkite. A lifelong relationship began between the two, both of whom had been foreign correspondents for news services - Cronkite for United Press and Socolow for International News Service. In 1958, Socolow and Cronkite bonded as the writer and reporter for the weekly CBS prime time news program Eyewitness to History, a venture that took them around the world to report on big events.

After a short CBS sabbatical at Columbia University, Socolow rejoined the Evening News, where Cronkite had taken over the anchor chair in 1962. He was named co-producer, one of two deputies to the executive producer. Part of the anchormans deal was he would be managing editor, which gave him absolute control over the broadcasts content. The executive producer and others began to use Socolow as a go-between to resolve conflicts, such as getting the news-crunching Cronkite to make room for filmed pieces from the field.

For the next eight years, as Cronkites star and ratings rose, and so did Socolows influence. In charge of the broadcasts hard news coverage, he became its news engine, compiling a briefing of newsworthy stories each morning and driving the staff to get them to air. News from Vietnam became a staple during the period, all handled by Socolow, who was the stateside producer of Morley Safers ground-breaking Cam Ne report of 1965 that showed US Marines burning a Vietnamese hamlet.

In the 1967-68 season, the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite overtook its rival, NBCs Huntley-Brinkley Report, and remained the most watched network nightly newscast for 20 years.

Socolows duties included breaking news coverage during instant news specials, producing Cronkites coverage of events like the moon landing in 1969. He hired staff for the Evening News, including the broadcasts first female producer, Linda Mason, in 1971. Later that year, he was named vice president, deputy news director and executive editor of CBS News in New York, a position owing much to the integral role he played for Cronkite. The new title, in effect, made him the bureau chief in New York, a job that included oversight of other hard news broadcasts produced in the news divisions headquarters. But his main focus remained Cronkites Evening News, where he was in the middle of the decision in late 1972 to air the controversial two-part Watergate story. It was controversial because it took up the better part of two newscasts, despite containing no news, but it did summarize the complex story for a huge audience, transforming an episodic newspaper story into a monumental scandal.

In a palace power shift that was a lateral move for him, he was assigned to the Washington bureau as vice president CBS News Washington in early 1974. No longer at Cronkites side, he still maintained his power and influence as the anchors favored producer. With the Vietnam War winding down, the big news was out of Washington, where Socolow presided over the coverage of Nixons resignation and the trials of the Watergate co-conspirators.

In another shift, he was brought back to New York in 1978 to become executive producer of the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite. Back with his anchorman in New York, he took the reins of a broadcast being watched by an estimated 28 percent of all the American homes. Socolow told the Archive of American Television in 2008 that his greatest achievement was to be the executive producer of the dominant news show with a circulation that would have made William Randolph Hearst twirl in his grave. The circulation of the Cronkite news when I left was bigger than the three network news shows combined today.

When Cronkite retired in 1981, Socolow remained in charge of the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather for nine months before being moved to London to become bureau chief, where he was overseeing all the news gathering in Europe and the Middle East. In 1984, he returned stateside and joined 60 Minutes, producing stories for, among others, Safer, Diane Sawyer and Harry Reasoner.

He left CBS News in 1988 and, for a few years, was the executive producer of World Monitor, the Christian Science Monitors nightly newscast on the Discovery Channel. Cronkite then named his friend executive producer of the company he formed in 1993, Cronkite-Ward Productions, which produced many award-winning hours for Discovery and PBS. Socolow was one of the featured speakers at Cronkites funeral in New Yorks St. Bartholomews Church in 2009.

Socolow was born in the Bronx, New York, on November 11, 1928. He got his start in journalism at the school newspaper at Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan. He graduated from City College of New York in 1950, where he was the New York Times campus stringer. After graduating, he joined the New York Times as a copy boy and was named a news clerk.

With that background, after graduating Officer Candidate School, Lt. Socolow wound up in an Army broadcasting unit in Tokyo and Korea during the Korean War. Using his connections made at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Tokyo, he was hired by INS to be Far East correspondent, a dream job for a bachelor in his late 20s.

It was just a terrific adventure and I loved every minute of it, he recalled in the Archive of American Television interview. He returned to New York in 1956 and began his broadcast television career as a writer on the Mike Wallace and the News show on WABD New York before joining CBS News later that year.

Socolow is survived by his brother, Alfred, two sons and a daughter - Jonathan, Michael, and Elisabeth. Socolows marriage to the former Anne Krulewitch ended in divorce in 1977.

Bobbi Kristina Brown -- Found Unconscious in Bathtub ... Revived But Still in ...

Category: In The News
Published: Sunday, 01 February 2015
Written by Admin

6:05 PM PT -- Sources close to the family tell TMZ Bobby Brown has arrived at the hospital with Tyler Perry and the two are at Bobbi Kristinas bedside. Were told Tyler was flying from LA to Atlanta for business and offered to take Bobby with him when the news broke.

1:53 PM PT -- Sources close to the family tell TMZ Bobbi Kristina has been placed in a medically induced coma for swelling of the brain.
Whitney Houston and Bobby Browns daughter was found unconscious in a bathtub in her home -- and taken to a hospital where she is now breathing ... TMZ has learned.

Bobbi Kristina Browns husband Nick Gordon and a friend found her in the tub ... according to police in Roswell, GA. Were told her husband and friend immediately started CPR on her ... until police and paramedics arrived.

Were told police took over life-saving measures on the scene -- and then she was taken by ambulance to a hospital.

Doctors have now stabilized her breathing, and were told she is in ICU.

Still unclear why Bobbi fell unconscious. Were told a friend made the call to 911 from Bobbis house.

The circumstances are especially eerie -- Whitney died in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton on February 11 ... three years ago.

Story developing ...

Last daffodil farmer in Puyallup gets ready to sell

Category: In The News
Published: Sunday, 01 February 2015
Written by Admin

The last Puyallup Valley daffodil farmer is preparing for industrial development on his land right outside the Puyallup city limits.

Pierce County is reviewing a preliminary proposal for a warehouse distribution center on land owned by Roger Knutson, owner of Sumner-based Knutson Farms.

The plans are likely to add fuel to a contentious land-use debate over an adjacent swath of former daffodil farmland situated inside Puyallup.

Knutson has submitted several short-plat applications to secure permits that would allow a developer to purchase and build on the property.

#x201C;He just wants to get the property entitled so he can get the property ready to sell,#x201D; said Dan Balmelli, executive vice president of Barghausen Consulting Engineers, a Kent-based firm helping Knutson with the permitting process.

County documents outline plans for a warehouse distribution center covering 181 acres on 13 parcels in unincorporated Pierce County just outside east Puyallup at 134th Avenue East.

The site is sandwiched between Puyallup River floodplain and former daffodil farmland that has long been at the center of a dispute inside the Puyallup city limits.

Knutson#x2019;s proposal was first submitted in November. He didn#x2019;t return multiple requests for comment Friday.

Balmelli said it amounts to about 3.2 million square feet of building area.

#x201C;That could change,#x201D; he said. #x201C;It could go up, it could go down.#x201D;

Balmelli stressed the applications aren#x2019;t construction documents; they are intended to get the property vested with current zoning code. Once the applications are accepted, he said, developers could purchase the land knowing what regulations they#x2019;d have to comply with.

#x201C;It#x2019;s a big project, so there are some issues we know will have to be resolved, negotiated and studied before (Knutson) gets all of his preliminary land-use approvals,#x201D; Balmelli said.

Balmelli said he#x2019;s also working with Schnitzer West, a developer that plans to build a 470,000-square foot warehouse on nearby farmland. He said Schnitzer could be one of many regional developers interested in purchasing Knutson#x2019;s land once it is development-ready.

The adjacent property #x2014; owned by retired bulb farmer Neil Van Lierop, who has secured a deal to sell the land to Schnitzer #x2014; has long been at the center of a land-use dispute.

Open-space advocates have urged Puyallup officials to allow only low-impact development in what they call a gateway to the city. Meanwhile, Van Lierop and surrounding landowners have resisted what they say are inappropriate limits on private-property rights.

Schnitzer sued the city over new development standards that the developer calls #x201C;arbitrary, discriminatory#x201D; and inconsistent with Puyallup#x2019;s comprehensive plan.

During public deliberations in the past two years, residents urged the city to proceed with caution to avoid a #x201C;sea of warehouses#x201D; in the area. Some argued that once one warehouse is built, others will follow.

Puyallup Councilman Tom Swanson at the time stressed that much of the surrounding open space in the area #x2014; primarily located in unincorporated Pierce County #x2014; was already zoned to allow warehouses.

He had warned those on both sides of the debate that the city#x2019;s adverse relations with landowners would dissuade those outside the city limits from cooperating with Puyallup, which could result in the kind of high-density development that everyone fears.

#x201C;This is one of those times I wish I were wrong,#x201D; Swanson told a reporter this week in response to Knutson#x2019;s plans.

Swanson said there#x2019;s no guarantee the warehouse project will come to fruition. But if it does, he hopes the city will try to find a way to help the farmer cash in on his land while still benefiting the community.

#x201C;That#x2019;s the largest blank canvas,#x201D; Swanson said of the area. #x201C;Something of higher development potential could happen out there.#x201D;

The challenge, he said, will be gaining back Knutson#x2019;s confidence in Puyallup leadership after the drawn-out battle between Van Lierop and the city. If that doesn#x2019;t happen and a high-density development is built, Swanson said the community shouldn#x2019;t blame Knutson.

The Puyallup Valley#x2019;s history as a world leader in daffodil growing is one reason residents are so keen on preserving the land for open space.

Washington still has daffodil bulb farms, including the Skagit Valley farms in Mount Vernon. But the Puyallup Valley#x2019;s identity centered on daffodils for decades, and Knutson is the only farmer carrying on the legacy after Van Lierop#x2018;s retirement in 2013.

The city wrote a letter to Pierce County upon notification of Knutson#x2019;s warehouse proposal, stressing that it is #x201C;strongly interested#x201D; in all future actions related to the project. The letter noted the potential effects the project would have on city traffic, trails, floodplain and utilities.

The letter also outlined the #x201C;well-documented#x201D; history of discussions between Puyallup and Pierce County that #x201C;emphasized the County#x2019;s strong intent#x201D; to maintain open space at the proposed development site and surrounding area.

#x201C;As Mr. Knutson#x2019;s subject property also was a centerpiece of those agricultural preservation discussions over the past decade,#x201D; it states, #x201C;we would expect the County to rigorously enforce permanent agricultural set-asides on this current Knutson Farms development proposal as occurred with Mr. Van Lierop#x2019;s land during the recent annexation.#x201D;

Van Lierop#x2019;s land was brought into Puyallup as part of a larger annexation in 2012, after four years of negotiations between landowners, city staff and elected officials. Under the agreement, 30 acres of his land were set aside for agricultural, recreation or open space uses.

Knutson#x2019;s property was originally included in the annexation area, but the farmer later chose not to be part of it.

Councilman John Palmer said he is frustrated with Knutson#x2019;s plan for industrial development. He said the 2008 annexation talks included a vision for mixed-use and open space in the area.

#x201C;We#x2019;re seeing something very different,#x201D; he said. #x201C;I don#x2019;t think this is compatible with the area.#x201D;

Palmer added that he#x2019;s confident the city can work with Knutson on a mutually beneficial plan for his land.

In response to Puyallup#x2019;s concerns, project manager Marcia Lucero said the county remains committed to the preservation effort.

#x201C;Pierce County staff will work with the applicant to identify opportunities to set aside open space, create functional parks, and other amenities to make the project more harmonious with the surrounding area,#x201D; Lucero wrote in a letter to the city.

Lucero told The News Tribune the application is in its early stages. There are several pending reviews and moving parts, she added, including traffic and wetlands studies.

If industrial development moves forward on Knutson#x2019;s property, Balmelli said the earliest a warehouse could be built is spring 2016.

Knutson #x201C;is going to be working closely with Pierce County and Puyallup to mitigate the impacts of the development,#x201D; Balmelli said. #x201C;He#x2019;s always planned to do that.#x201D;

Kari Plog: 253-597-8682 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. @KariPlog

New guide sure to benefit beginning birders

Category: In The News
Published: Sunday, 01 February 2015
Written by Admin

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