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Posts Tagged ‘Las Vegas’

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:

https://coupevillesports.com/2020/06/04/vegas-scalawags/

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.

Allegedly.

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.

Yet.

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

One night only!

OK, it’s actually an hour-and-a-half in the morning, but cut the guy some slack, he’s busy.

Steve Schorr, who has lived and worked for decades in Las Vegas, is coming to Whidbey Island (well, Oak Harbor at least) this Saturday, July 13, and will appear in the conference room at the Best Western Hotel from 10-11:30.

That joint, catering to people who want to at least step foot on Whidbey, without having to make the trip out to where Wright’s Crossing is proposed to be built, or, heaven forbid, turn south and see 92% of the Island, is at 33175 State Route 20.

Close enough you can grab a bite at Frank’s Place, far enough away from Coupeville so an out-of-towner can avoid our cooties.

So, why is Mr. Schorr’s cameo in Oak Town important?

Because he’s the public face of Whidbey Buzz, an internet show which surfaced this spring, currently broadcasts twice a week, and positions itself as a local news show, while declining to publicly acknowledge it’s shot in front of a digital screen in Vegas.

Schorr is also Chief Strategy Officer of LV.net, Founder and President of Consulting Nevada, President and CEO of Vegas Life TV and hosts Under the Vegas Sun weekly at Liberace’s Mansion.

He’s Vegas through and through, down to recently noting on his personal Facebook page, “Wow. Another earthquake. This one was bigger than the past. My pool water is sloshing over the edges. Stuff falling off shelves. WOW.”

But now, in the middle of an extremely-busy Vegas schedule, he’s carved out a few minutes a week to talk on the internet about an Island 1,500+ miles from said pool.

Well, I mean, at least some of the stories are about Whidbey Island.

Not really sure of the point of Wednesday’s piece about Restaurants Unlimited filing for Chapter 11 while complaining about the minimum wage … since the closest of their 35 eating establishments are in Seattle — at least 60 miles (and a ferry trip) from our Island.

Probably looks shorter on a map perused pool-side.

But, other than that, Whidbey Buzz is right there in the thick of it, sorta, even if stories about Stanwood and Camano outnumber stories about the part of the Island which starts where Oak Harbor ends.

Why? Well now we can ask him in person.

Cause, if you check out the Buzz website, its two Facebook pages (unless you get banned for asking questions), or its Instagram, you find a troubling lack of transparency for a broadcast which wants us to take it seriously.

This (reproduced exactly as originally posted) is as deep as they get:

We Know here at The Whidbey Buzz, that many people are asking questions about who were are. As a non-profit News Operation we Pride ourselves in providing reliable, nonpartisan , deeply rooted thoughtful journalism. At our core is the truth and facts of stories. We look only to support the community, and as a non-profit newsroom we rely on donations and sponsorships to support our work. We don’t sell advertising but rather hope the community seeks to support what we are doing. We just thought you would like to know.

And that’s where the sting is – if they want our support, our donations, you think they would be willing to talk about themselves, and why, in their belief, Whidbey Buzz matters.

Except, they have done the exact opposite.

When asked questions on Facebook, Schorr runs the gamut from offering similarly vague, cliche-riddled non-answers to the slightly more-satisfying “It’s none of your business!” when asked about who finances the show.

Rigel Studios in Vegas, run by Rick Manning, who is listed on the Buzz Facebook page as a Team Member, won’t answer any questions, either, citing an NDA with Schorr.

But, since Manning routinely shares Whidbey Buzz links on his personal Facebook page, and since the opening credits to the show have been lifted straight from Newsline America, an earlier Schorr show proudly produced and advertised by Rigel Studios … this ain’t rocket science.

There will be some who say, “Give them their privacy.”

You’re more trusting than I am.

I had a grandfather who was fond of saying, “If it looks like a scam, and sounds like a scam, and feels like a scam … get the tar and feathers, boy!!”

He was not the most agreeable of men, maybe. But he also wasn’t a rube.

But, those of you who didn’t get to experience Elmer Svien up close and personal may say, “Give them time. They’ll eventually stop dodging questions, and banning the questioners.”

Just trust the Vegas boys. Nothing shady has ever come out of Sin City.

Don’t ask them why they won’t acknowledge the show is created and shot in Vegas, even as Schorr opens broadcasts with “news from around the world, the nation, and right here at home at Whidbey Island.”

Don’t ask why everyone else affiliated with the show (if there’s anyone else) won’t put their name on the product.

You know, the way reporters and editors at the Whidbey News-Times, South Whidbey Record, Whidbey Weekly, Coupeville Sports, Everett Herald, Skagit Valley Herald and every other semi-reputable news organization does.

Or even some less-than-reputable outlets.

Heck, even IslandPolitics.org, the badly-written (scribbled in crayon?) blog which was the bane of civilized society on Whidbey until it imploded, openly identified its four contributors.

Cliff Howard, Bill Strowbridge, Ken Wolf, and the Big Dog himself, the ever camera-shy Bill Burnett, vented bile (or hot ‘n spicy truth, depending on your personal beliefs), but never hid who they were.

Guess, in the end, I did respect them more than I thought.

Now, maybe Mr. Schorr walks into that conference room Saturday, and in between some Danish and a cup of Joe, he suddenly lays it all on the line, like Sinatra wailin’ on My Way.

Right before he hops back on a big jet plane and scoots back to poolside livin’ in Vegas, he finally pulls back the curtain on the who, what, when, where, and, most importantly, why of Whidbey Buzz.

You want us to believe in something which makes little sense.

You want us to accept, without questioning, that a man in his late 60’s, a man entrenched in Nevada, is making this odd pivot, paying for the production out of his own pocket, just because he may have a friend or two up in this neck of the woods.

You want us to believe you are “digging deep for stories,” when, as a 30-year vet of journalism, I can tell you 99% of your stories exist on the level of regurgitated press releases and stories from other sources.

Don’t post the same footage of jets flying at OLF that hundreds of other outlets have and pretend you’re the first to discover we have a Navy base on this Island.

Don’t immediately rush to hold hands with anti-homeless, anti-low income housing Facebook pages like Whidbey Island Community United, SAFE Whidbey, and Whidbey Island Looks Like Shit, and then pretend ignorance when you subtly start dropping in “stories” which mirror their beliefs.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe my grandfather’s suspicious nature has warped my own.

Maybe you’re just doing this out of the goodness of your heart, and there’s no paycheck at the end when Whidbey Buzz, like Newsline America, quietly slips off the internet.

So, you want to meet and greet? Great. I’ll be naive for a moment, even though Elmer Svien would call me a moron for expecting any kind of reveal.

But he was a cantankerous old coot.

Based on the last three months, I’d say it’s a long shot Saturday provides any answers.

Doesn’t mean I won’t be there in that conference room.

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Makana Stone (left) and Kailey Kellner (Amy King photo)

  Makana Stone (left) and Kailey Kellner, on the road and livin’ the hoops star life in Vegas. (Amy King photo)

Lindsey Roberts motors up-court during her 8th grade season. (John Fisken photos)

   Lindsey Roberts motors up-court during her 8th grade season. (John Fisken photos)

Do not trifle with Sarah Wright (33) when she has her hands on a rebound. It will not end well for you.

   Do not trifle with Sarah Wright (33) when she has her hands on a rebound. It will not end well for you.

Wherever there is a hoop, there will be a Wolf.

It may be the off-season, but Coupeville High School’s basketball players are busy criss-crossing the state (and the country) in pursuit of sharpening their hoops skills.

Fresh off a team camp, four Wolf girls paired off and hit the hard court for more action.

Freshmen Lindsey Roberts and Sarah Wright went to a camp at Western Washington University, while senior Makana Stone and junior Kailey Kellner are busy with a select squad based out of Everett.

For the fab frosh, who hope to make an immediate splash with the defending 1A Olympic League champion CHS girls’ basketball squad, the camp was a big push in the right direction.

“They worked on individual skills, along with playing many games,” said CHS coach David King. “It’s always great to see players get the extra time at camps during the off-season.

“Having freshman dedicated and wanting to put in the work to get better is great,” he added. “Hopefully we can build on that and if it works out next summer have more players attend as well.”

It was Roberts second trip to the camp, while the ever-busy Wright carved out some time to make her camp debut.

Stone, last year’s Olympic League MVP, and Kellner, who revived memories of Larry Bird with her long-range sniping, have been bouncing all across the USA with their seven-player select team.

After hitting a tourney in Oregon, they went on to Chicago for another, and are currently in Las Vegas.

King and wife/assistant coach/photographer Amy are on vacation in Vegas, which gave them a chance to watch their star players in action as they pulled away in the second half for a win Friday.

“Getting that exposure with playing against teams and players that are just as talented and athletic is outstanding,” King said. “It would be great for more players to jump on the select teams in the future to get more basketball during the off-season.”

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Oscar Liquidano (right) with younger brother Uriel during last year's soccer season. (John Fisken photo)

Oscar Liquidano (right) with younger brother Uriel during last year’s soccer season. (John Fisken photos)

Liquidano holds down the paint.

Liquidano holds down the paint.

Big O is on his way back home.

Shortly after he was named a captain for this year’s Coupeville High School football team, Oscar Liquidano’s family left town in the spring and moved to Las Vegas.

That left the Wolves one captain down, as Liquidano, the team’s biggest lineman, was supposed to share honors this year with fellow seniors Carson Risner, Aaron Wright and Josh Bayne.

Now, things have taken a huge swing for the positive, as word hits that Liquidano is returning to Coupeville for his senior year.

Getting back a big, veteran two-way lineman who will work alongside Risner, Wright, Matt Shank and others, is a huge boost for the Wolf football team.

“I can’t like this enough!!!” wrote jubilant CHS quarterback Joel Walstad when the news hit Facebook.

Liquidano, who also plays basketball and soccer, is expected to reach town by Saturday. He’ll be a couple of practices behind, but has time to catch up before the start of the season.

While nothing is set in stone, the young man at the center of things was cautiously thrilled Thursday night.

“We’ll just have to wait and see,” Liquidano said. “I have faith in God that it will happen.”

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