Posts Tagged ‘Las Vegas’

CHS freshman Coop Cooper, on his way to playing four baseball games in a weekend. (Ken Cooper photos)

Baseball is taking Coop Cooper across the USA.

The Coupeville High School freshman spent Halloween weekend in Las Vegas, but never had a chance to try the blackjack table.

Instead, Cooper was busy playing in the 32nd annual Desert Fall Classic, participating with the Cascade Baseball Club — a U16 squad which pulls players from Whatcom, Skagit, and Island counties.

During his time on the Vegas diamond, the Wolf hardball ace played four different positions across four games.

Cooper brought the heat on the mound in his tourney opener, coming on in relief against a team from Minnesota.

Cascade trailed 4-0 and the bases were juiced with just one out when he took the ball, but the CHS hurler shut down the rally, and gave his team a chance to rally.

Cooper finished with three strikeouts, while scattering a trio of hits across 4.2 innings of work.

Cooper brings the high, hard cheese.

Cascade also faced off with teams from Vegas, Colorado, and Washington state, with Cooper playing second base, third base, and left field.

He smacked three hits in the tourney, with two of the base-knocks coming against Colorado.

When Cooper takes the field for Coupeville High School next spring, he’ll already be a veteran, even as a freshman.

He played high school ball as an 8th grader and was named Pitching MVP and Most Improved by Wolf JV coaches.

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Coupeville High School baseball coach Will Thayer is moving to Las Vegas. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Will Thayer exits on top.

After leading the Coupeville High School baseball team to the regular season Northwest 2B/1B League title, and winning Coach of the Year honors, the diamond guru won’t be back next spring.

Instead, he’ll be livin’ life several states away, with an upcoming family move to Las Vegas in motion.

Originally hired as a CHS softball assistant coach, Thayer jumped across the road to replace baseball head coach Chris Smith after his own move off-Island.

Thayer compiled a 20-10 record in his time running the hardball program.

Thayer discusses strategy with Xavier Murdy.

Coupeville baseball went 7-3 during a pandemic-shortened 2021 season, then finished 13-7 this past spring.

The Wolves were 11-1 in NWL play in 2022, edging defending champ Friday Harbor (10-1) for the regular-season crown.

CHS fell 3-2 to the Wolverines in a winner-to-state, loser-out playoff game, denying Thayer and seniors Cody Roberts, Hawthorne Wolfe, Sage Sharp, Xavier Murdy, and Cole Hutchinson a chance to advance to the big dance.

While his tenure on the CHS bench was a relatively short one, Thayer will be remembered as a coach who was very easy to work with, and one who was always willing to answer all my questions — even the dumb ones.

I wish him and his family the best in the future.


The family move to Vegas also plucks away Thayer’s daughter, Brooklyn, a hard-working basketball player who suited up for the Coupeville JV this past winter.

Once the hardwood season ended, Brooklyn capped her freshman year by working as a manager for her dad’s baseball team.

Brooklyn Thayer

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Steve Schorr

Longtime Las Vegas resident Steve Schorr died Thursday in Nevada.

He was 74, and died of natural causes, according to a statement issued by his family.

Schorr lived and worked for decades in Sin City, but came to the attention of Whidbey Island when he launched a YouTube show, The Whidbey Buzz, in May, 2019.

The twice-weekly broadcast, primarily a mix of regurgitated press releases and info lifted from local newspapers, was shot in front of a digital screen with the assistance of Rigel Studios, formerly known as Ads4TV.

That company is owned by Rick Manning, who, like Schorr, worked for Nevada TV stations in previous decades.

The Buzz was a carbon copy of other Rigel Studios-produced shows, but Manning declined to speak about it when I messaged him in June, 2019.

Despite assurances Schorr didn’t bite, the Vegas lifer quickly proved unwilling to answer many questions.

This included refusing to provide his legally-mandated federal tax number after declaring The Buzz was a non-profit, then blocking on Facebook a former CPA who asked for the information.

There was confusion at first when the show launched, as Schorr, who lived 1,200+ miles from Whidbey, seemed to have no connection to our Island.

Later, it was revealed he had at least one – a friendship with former Vegas resident Scott Thompson.

The Sin City transplant has spent several years trying, and failing, to gain approval for a proposed housing development known as Wright’s Crossing.

Schorr and Thompson met in Vegas when the former, who also operated Penny Lane Dobermans with his wife, sold the latter a dog.

This was something they acknowledged when we spoke in person before a sparsely-attended Buzz meet and greet in the small, windowless basement of the Oak Harbor Best Western.

Schorr, however, never told his viewers about this relationship when featuring Thompson or any of his businesses on the Buzz, a clear violation of longstanding journalistic ethics.

This culminated with a recent show in which the anchor allowed the builder, and a rep from Wave Broadband, to promote proposed internet service for the proposed housing development in a 15-minute piece, without disclosing their personal relationship.

Thompson later posted that Buzz episode to the Whidbey Island Community page on Facebook, referring to the video as a “press release.”

The proposed Wright’s Crossing development is currently a giant pile of twisted, uprooted trees and a lonely office trailer perched on the hill above Safeway and Wal-Mart in Oak Harbor.

Thompson, despite financially backing candidates in both Oak Harbor City Council and Island County Commissioner races, has failed so far to build much support for his development among local officials.

Dan Evans, not the popular former state Governor, but a transplant from Minnesota, lost his recent Commissioner race to two-term incumbent Jill Johnson by 10,000+ votes, one of the largest margins in recent Island county political battles.

During the race, Thompson and his wife were the largest financial contributors to Evans, donating a perfectly legal amount according to public records.

The duo, and former Oak Harbor Mayor DeVere “Scott” Dudley, best known for not being allowed to sign city checks during his time in office, were among a group which relentlessly leveled personal attacks at Johnson, a lifelong Oak Harbor resident.

While questions about others financial involvement in The Buzz were frequent, Schorr repeatedly insisted he, and he alone, financed the show.

If true, Friday’s broadcast, hosted by a fill-in, former Vegas TV anchor Casey Smith, could be the final broadcast of the show.

Smith, capping an 18-month run of The Buzz botching local names and area history, had a big stumble at the end.

And yes, he pronounced it on camera exactly as it’s shown on screen.


Neither Smith or anyone at The Buzz have responded to requests for info on the future of the YouTube show.


To follow my winding relationship with Schorr, here is a timeline of previous stories I published:








UPDATE – Sunday 7:40 PM:

Scott Thompson, who still lacks the permits to build Wright’s Crossing, says I am a “sick human being, a punk, and an asshole.”

So, I got that going for me.

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Steve Schorr likes some people. He doesn’t like me, though.

Well, I hit the big time.

Sort of.

I got namechecked Wednesday on The Whidbey Buzz, called out as Public Enemy #1 by anchor Steve Schorr, a longtime Vegas resident who has pumped out a twice-weekly web show which has tried (largely in vain) to pass itself off as a local production.

This is the story which irritated him:


I stand behind every word I wrote.

And Mr. Schorr, if you truly believe what I have documented are lies, why do you, once again, dodge a chance to address the issues raised and the questions asked?

I’ll give the dapper one credit – with his old school suits and his hair tinted purple by the digital set he shoots on – he pronounced my last name virtually flawlessly.

Which is noticeable, since it’s not an easy name, and Schorr has a long history of mangling pronunciations of things, people, and places located on Whidbey.

In today’s video he calls up all the gravitas from a 40-year career of reading a teleprompter in Sin City to chastise me for not fully believing in his faded act.

To which I would respond, if my grandfather, the otherwise quite despicable Elmer Svien, ever taught me anything, it’s this:

If it looks like a con artist, and sounds like a con artist, it’s probably a con artist.


As much as I hate to post a Buzz video, thereby helping their numbers — at the time I’m posting this, the video below has … one view on YouTube  — here you go.

I get chastised beginning at the 4:43 mark of the video.


Let’s be clear. I have no problem with Mr. Schorr choosing to vent at me.

His anger at being called out, and possibly his sadness at frittering away the tail end of his career in this manner, are understandable.

I do have a problem with two sentences in this video, however.

Schorr claims I have made “vile threats” against him, and that my “friends” have threatened him physically.

My first response, “Bull.”

My second response, “Prove it.”

You say you want only the truth. So, speak truth, sir.

I am operating alone in this matter, as the newspapers and TV stations in the area have not chosen to shine a spotlight on The Buzz.


I’m not sure what “friends” you speak of in this matter, sir.

Might help if you were forthcoming with names so we could tell if I actually know these possible ruffians.

You and I have never spoken on the phone, Mr. Schorr.

We spoke in person once, in front of a group of people, during your depressing meet and greet in the bowels of the Oak Harbor Best Western almost a year ago.

No one had to separate us, sir, though you did get visibly annoyed when I asked you questions you didn’t want to answer – such as those about your lack of transparency.

Below, to remind you of our conversations online, I am posting them complete, lifted from our Facebook exchanges.

Please review and point out any “vile threats” depicted in those speech bubbles, sir.

I can’t learn if you’re not willing to be my teacher here, Mr. Schorr.

Respectfully yours,

Someone who doesn’t “feel threatened” by you.

The phrase you’re looking for, Mr. Schorr, is “someone who feels saddened” by you.


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When the boys in the Vegas print shop have no clue how to spell the name of the Washington state Island where you supposedly shoot your show…

We don’t talk much about The Whidbey Buzz these days.

A year into its existence, the internet “news” show is largely viewed as little more than a joke, five to six minutes of regurgitated press releases offered up twice a week by a winking anchorman who frequently stumbles over pronunciations and local geography.

Which isn’t all that odd, since the nattily-dressed Steve Schorr lives and works in Las Vegas, and has for decades.

He can prattle on all he wants about his broadcasts coming from “right here at home in Oak Harbor” and it won’t change the truth.

Schorr’s word stews are shot in front of a digital screen in Sin City, set to an opening musical intro remarkably like one I used to hear emit from my early-2000’s iMac.

That’s likely the work of Rick Manning at Rigel Studios, another past-his-prime Vegas lifer clinging to the last decade in which either man was relevant – the late ’80s.

Schorr himself has been on Whidbey at least once since The Whidbey Buzz reared its head online, timed to Scott Thompson, a former Vegas resident, trying desperately to save his constantly-floundering Wright’s Crossing development.

That appearance came at the Oak Harbor Best Western, during a melancholy meet and greet conducted in a windowless, downstairs, bunker-like room.

A small pot of coffee and a jug of water, offered by the hotel, was all that was on the menu, as Schorr and Thompson, who met in Vegas and made a connection over show dogs, talked over each other and tried to fire up a small crowd.

It was the first of many letdowns for The Buzz, which has promised, and failed to deliver, almost every time out, beginning with a pledge there would be cameras at the meet and greet, and footage would be used on-air.

There was not, and it was not.

After that, failed promises of transparency, of setting up a way for people not named Mr. Thompson to donate to the cause at People’s Bank, and of a plan to create a print edition of The Buzz.

Ten months down the road, it’s June 4, 2020, and still no account has been set up at People’s Bank.

As newspapers hemorrhage money and die left and right, seems very much like an idea which might have been cutting edge … back in the late ’80s.

But we’re not here today to just talk about the ways Schorr has fallen from the true faith.

Sure, he frequently slips PR about Thompson and his companies into his broadcasts, while violating the journalistic golden rule by never revealing his own ties with the builder.

Along the way Schorr gives prominent air time to political candidates Thompson financially backs, such as current Oak Harbor City Council member Jeff Mack and Island County Commissioner wannabe Dan Evans, feeding them softball questions.

Scott and wife Cynthia Thompson are the top two contributors to Dan Evans.

And then there’s the weirdo part, where Schorr keeps interjecting bits about Jefferson County recently, on a show supposedly shot on, and centered around, Whidbey, which is located in Island County.

Is Thompson also planning to foist his house projects on Port Townsend? Things that make you go hmmm…

But today I bring out the whuppin’ stick not to attack Schorr for being a PR man, but for the moment on Wednesday’s broadcast where he truly made the ghost of his supposed journalistic idol, Chet Huntley, spin in his grave.

On The Buzz website, Schorr claims he lives by the credo “give the story, state the facts, tell the who, what, where, when, how and why AND keep your opinion out of the story!”

And then, starting at the 2:27 mark of the video below, he takes a giant steaming dump on that credo.

Speaking from Vegas, where a police officer was shot during a protest, Schorr gravely informs us that here, in a place he barely knows, “Tension remains high on Whidbey Island and surrounding communities as protesting and rioting continues to take place in cities around the country.”

And then, in a moment which would make Huntley retch, Schorr, a man “concerned only with facts,” plays footage of riots in mainland cities — lifted from YouTube — while intoning:

“In communities within Whidbey Island, there have been a series of rumors that have sparked concerns, and, even in some cases, business owners becoming armed to protect their properties, but no actual large protests have occured.”

At which point, Steve Schorr’s entire journalistic career, much of it spent reading teleprompters as a Vegas talking head back in the day, withers and dies for the final time.

“A series of rumors?”

What are you, a 14-year-old girl?

Cause you definitely aren’t a credible newsman anymore.

I get it. You don’t live here, Mr. Schorr.

Most of your contact with Whidbey Island is limited to the handful of people who showed up for your meet and greet, such as your painfully obvious benefactor, Mr. Thompson.

Oh, and the tinfoil hat-wearing nutballs who hide out on the privacy-obsessed Whidbey Island Community United page, where they rant all day and night about liberal boogeymen a’comin’ to take away their ability to live as if the 1950’s had never ended.

Which is kind of odd, since the hardcore of the hardcore on that page were born long after that decade (and a lot of its ideas) passed into history.

People like Shannon Williams, an Oak Harbor grad whose tenure on the Island County Planning Commission was remarkably short after she opened by being refreshingly frank, and rather un-politician-like, letting everyone in earshot know exactly how she feels about the homeless.

Spoiler: She’s not a big fan.

Today she occupies herself by taking paparazzi pics of homeless and posting every 12 minutes, as Shannon RW, on multiple Facebook pages like WICU, SAFE Whidbey and the snappily-named Whidbey Island Looks Like Shit.

I’ll give her this. She’s dedicated.

Or Whidbey short-timers like Paul Rempa, (now hiding as Paul TR on Facebook) who enjoys harassing grandmothers whose family roots in Coupeville stretch back nearly to the first white settlers in the area.

I cropped out the photo of the grandma and grandkids, unlike the original poster.

Mr. Rempa is fond of telling any who disagree with him that “words matter.”

Which is really too bad, since the first words which come to mind when I think of Rempa are “stolen honor.”

Screenshot from Paul Rempa’s Facebook, taken 10:30 AM, June 4, 2020.

Take a look at the screenshot, read the date and time, and then listen to command at Central Whidbey Island Fire and Rescue, who had this to say way back in October, 2019.

Hanging on to the fumes of past glory? Seems to be a reoccurring theme in these here parts.

So you sit poolside in the 105-degree heat of Sin City, Mr. Schorr (please use some sunscreen, sir), and you “hear rumors” from a nutball brigade fond of sniffing the farts of Tim “Chair Thief Boy” Eyman, and then you pass it off as “journalism.”

Antifa is coming to the suburbs! Oak Harbor is in full-on Mad Max mode!! COVID-19 is being smuggled in by the homeless!!!!!

Now, if you actually lived here, on this Island where it’s going to top out in the low 60’s today, you could have seen with your own eyes that yes, there was a Black Lives Matter protest this weekend in Oak Harbor, notable for a decided lack of “tension.”

Show me one photo of Whidbey business owners armed, camped out, expecting an assault on their stores.

Curious as to how not a single image of this type has surfaced on any form of social media this week.

But you don’t live here, do you? And you don’t have any real idea of what happens here, do you?

You just camp out here virtually, using the siren call of the internet as you steadily chip away at whatever remains of your tattered journalistic legacy.

It’s long past time for you to call it a day, Mr. Schorr.

Walk away from Mr. Thompson’s probably doomed housing development, and stop trying to prop up the fear and paranoia of a handful of nutballs, sir.

End The Buzz with some grace and go bask in the afterglow of good memories crafted in your hometown.

They think you’re a swell dude in Vegas — even named a school for you — and you can still accomplish good in Sin City.

Especially if they don’t learn about your willingness to pimp your soul on the internet.

Relaunch your real web show, Under The Vegas Sun. You looked happy on that show.

But do it soon, sir.

Chet Huntley is tired of spinning in his grave.

“Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

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