Cat Scan

News… and then some.

WCAX Monarch Butterfly Concerns PKG 3/21/13

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By Cat Viglienzoni — March 25, 2013

It has been a while since I’ve been able to go out and do a science piece, but when I saw a survey come out with some alarming statistics about the monarch butterfly population in Mexico, I thought that would be a good way to localize that to Vermont (where the monarch is the state butterfly).

So I went and talked to a conservation biologist who works with insects in the state — and he had both good news and bad news. The good news is that given the right conditions, the butterflies can reproduce rapidly. The bad news is that there has been a downward trend for a decade that may not get better soon.

It aired on WCAX at 6 p.m. on March 21, 2013 and again the next morning on my show.

The citizen science aspect of it was particularly interesting to me, since it was not the first time I’d encountered it doing a science piece. It seems to be a growing trend within the science community, to get people involved. And new technology has in many ways, I think, made that possible. It accomplishes two goals: educating the public and getting data (when, like he said, there just aren’t enough researchers or funding to do it).

I’m curious to see where this trend goes in the future — I think it will be interesting.

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Written by Cat Viglienzoni

March 25, 2013 at 2:47 PM

WCAX Everything Animals: Owls 101 2/25/13

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By Cat Viglienzoni — March 11, 2013

Almost done with February’s work… last one! This one was an Everything Animals piece that I got to shoot about which owls were active this time of year in Vermont and what people could look (and listen) for to identify them.

I got to meet a barred owl, a great horned owl, an eastern screech owl, and a northern saw-whet owl. It was a rather impressive array of birds (though some were drastically different sizes, as you can tell!)

It aired on February 25 during our 6 a.m. hour for Everything Animals, and then the 6 p.m. news aired a version with the intro cut off.

It was a really fun piece to do, since I am rather partial to owls. I have a soft spot for them. Shooting datas (promos) with the owls too was fun — especially Elfric, the screech owl. Turns out that if you ask him nicely, he WILL look at the camera for you:

Yes, he is missing an eye — most of the birds had something wrong with their vision that prevented them from being returned to the wild and surviving there. So instead they get to be educational ambassadors for those curious about owls.

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WCAX Blind Sled Dog PKG 3/4/13

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By Cat Viglienzoni — March 11, 2013

This is quite possibly my favorite piece I have done so far, and certainly the one that has gotten the most attention.

The story is about a sled dog, Gonzo, who went blind suddenly a few years ago, and nothing could fix it. His owners at the Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel were debating his future when the veterinarian suggested they try to run him with the team, since Gonzo wanted to go out. Over time, Gonzo’s brother, Poncho, realized his brother needed help and became his guide on the course.

Photographer Andy Goodrich and I went over to New Hampshire the week before it aired to shoot the piece (a 2.5-hour drive each way, but it was worth it), and I worked late finishing the script that day.

It debuted on the morning show on March 4 and ran in some form in every broadcast that day (cutdowns at noon and 5 p.m., full pieces in the morning, 6 p.m., and 11 p.m.).

The next morning, CNN called the station and I answered — they asked me to send the piece to them for their affiliates to use, and then they also linked to the story on the northeast section of their home page. So it got quite a bit of attention — as those dogs deserved.

It was just a good piece to do — an uplifting story, which is good to balance out some of the other news we tend to report that isn’t necessarily pleasant stuff.

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Written by Cat Viglienzoni

March 11, 2013 at 10:52 AM

WCAX Winter Bugs PKG 2/19/13

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By Cat Viglienzoni — March 10, 2013

At some point, I will get out of February with this backlog of pieces. This one was me dabbling back into the science-y realm that I love to talk to an entomologist about what the winter this year (which was VERY different than the winter last year) means for the state’s bug population. It’s a question we’d been getting from gardeners, since there are many in Vermont.

The real response is that it’s too early to know for sure, but they are “cautiously optimistic” that many of the pests that were rampant last year with the warm winter we had would not be as bad this year.

The piece was supposed to debut on my show, but the evening news needed to fill time during the week and they used it instead, so it aired on February 19 at 6 p.m., and again on my show the next morning.

It was an interesting piece for me to do, since it was a good follow-up to the bugs piece I did last summer. If you look, you can see bits of the footage from that in this piece…

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March 10, 2013 at 8:25 AM

WCAX Farm Bill Concerns PKG 2/16/13

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By Cat Viglienzoni — March 9, 2013

Continuing my backlog of work that I didn’t post for months… I filled in on the reporter side again on a Saturday back in February, covering an annual meeting of the St. Albans Dairy Cooperative and talking to dairy farmers about their frustrations with the Farm Bill saga playing out on Capitol Hill still.

It was a pretty well-attended meeting, certainly from the political front (the Governor and most of our congressional delegation showed up, and Sanders had been planning to) — I felt most of it was what we had already heard from them though, but it was important to check back in on the issue, since there are a number of dairy farms in the state.

It aired at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. February 16, and again on February 18 for Monday’s morning show.

Considering that and my VO/SOT for the day were both on agriculture meetings (the other was the NOFA winter conference), both attended by the same politicians, it felt like a broken record!

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Written by Cat Viglienzoni

March 9, 2013 at 9:12 AM

WCAX Day of Service PKG 1/19/13

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By Cat Viglienzoni — February 11, 2013

Continuing with my backlog of work that I haven’t uploaded yet from when my computer was on the fritz, this was a Saturday reporter shift that I filled in on the weekend before President Obama’s inauguration on Martin Luther Jr. Day.

It was a pretty slow day, so I did the feature piece on the National Day of Service, finding a volunteer group in Burlington. It aired at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. on January 19 on WCAX.

I thought it was a good feature — I remember not having an awesome standup day that day either, but I made it work in the end. I hadn’t really done standup closes too much before.

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Written by Cat Viglienzoni

February 11, 2013 at 9:30 AM

WCAX Pets in Vermont PKG 1/17/13

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By Cat Viglienzoni — February 10, 2013

It has been a long time since I posted, thanks to my home laptop dying, being resurrected, and the dying again and needing to be replaced, etc. So a month later, I’m back in action.

So… back in January I reported a few times, the first one on a release we got about Vermont being #1 in the nation for pet ownership — and apparently this state likes cats a lot. So I went out to get reaction from people about their pets, and then talk to a veterinarian about the other part of the study that said people weren’t taking them to the vets enough.

It aired at 6 p.m. on January 17 and then again on the morning show the next day.

I’d have used less of the veterinarian’s office shots, but otherwise it was a good piece. I remember having a heck of a time getting the standup right — one of those days when I couldn’t speak it seemed.

Also, I remembered how much awkwardness can be involved with man-on-the-street interviews. But people were nice once we told them what we were doing.

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Written by Cat Viglienzoni

February 10, 2013 at 4:29 PM