Fake Doctor Arrest

This is one of those days when I have so much more to report than the minute-30 I’m given within our local newscast.

My report:
http://www.katu.com/news/local/124465354.html

I watched today as Lucas Ebert, just 21 years old, faced a judge on charges of theft and criminal mistreatment. He’s accused of tricking a Beaverton woman into thinking he was plastic surgeon at OHSU who could do the gastric bypass surgery she’s desperately been wanting for years.

I watched as he tried to control the situation from the Inverness Jail. Sometimes defendants appear on video from the jail, as was the case today. He seemed keenly aware of the media presence in the room, and made it a priority to ask the judge, former U.S. Attorney Karin Immergut, to remove the pool camera there to record the proceeding.

That’s a moment in which, as a video journalist, your stomach turns. You kinda need that video to make a television news story happen. Luckily, in this case, Judge Immergut told him the unique circumstances that call for the removal of a camera didn’t seem to apply.

I noted with interest that the attorney Ebert retained was Russell Barnett, not present. See, Barnett was busy across the street in the Multnomah County Courthouse, defending Brian Cole against murder in the death of his wife, Mallory. A conversation he had with our reporter covering the Cole case confirmed his representation of Ebert, but Barnett refused to discuss finances. He also said, “There are some charges against clients like Mr. Ebert that you don’t accept a check for.”

It’s fascinating to go digging into someone’s recent past and discover their missteps.

As I talked with employees of the Carr Chevrolet in Beaverton, I learned the details of their encounter with this Luke Ebert. The sales manager, Scott Chauvet, tells me Ebert’s mother got hurt in the front of their store last year, an accident that broke her ankle. She wound up buying a car from them.

Chauvet says Ebert showed up a month ago, telling them his mom was back in the hospital after a bad car accident that broke the same ankle and she needed a new car. He says Ebert picked out a used car, a Cadillac SUV, and left saying he wanted to discuss it with his mom. Chauvet claims Ebert wanted to write one his own checks to the dealership and transfer money from her account to his.

The dealership’s efforts to verify this information Ebert’s mother fell through. They eventually learned from the bank the account didn’t exist. The original check was for $39,000. Chauvet says Ebert showed up with another check, this time from his mother’s bank account bearing her signature. He wrote that check for $42,000 — this time including as part of the deal an extended warranty for the SUV.

Chauvet says they sent a sales person to the address, who had Lucas Ebert on the phone as he drove to the house, with Ebert telling him was at his job as a surgical tech assisting with operations.

As the sales associate pulled up to the house, Chauvet says Lucas pulled past him and didn’t see him.

When they finally got ahold of his mother, at her job, she was shocked to learn what her son had pulled off. She was in good health, not in the hospital. When she’d kicked her son out of her house the week before, she told Carr Chevrolet, she’s given him a signed check to pay for a week’s worth of motel rent.

According to Chauvet, Ebert told the dealership’s sales associates he was in school to become a doctor, and was assisting with cosmetic surgeries. Also that he was frequenting strip bars. If that’s true, one has to wonder what sort of “services” he was offering strippers?

Appropriate, I suppose, that one of Ebert’s favorite TV shows according to his Facebook page is “Nip and Tuck.”

Casualties of War

As a journalist, I’ve had the rare opportunity to witness firsthand the sacrifices local soldiers and their families have made in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As a reporter for KATU the last twelve years, I have reported from mobilization ceremonies, demobilization ceremonies, happy homecomings and funerals.

It is a privilege to understand the military in this way – to tell the stories of those who serve – to document the spectrum of emotion that comes with their commitment to duty.

I’ve watched as a father in The Dalles scooped up his young daughter, wondering about the milestones he will miss in the year that his unit is deploying overseas.

I’ve stood with a woman as she anxiously scanned the sailors’ faces lining the edge of the USS Abraham Lincoln pulling into port in Everett, Washington, straining to catch sight of her sailor.

What we knew but she did not is that he was coming off that ship to get down on one knee and propose to her.

And what ensued was one of the funniest moments I have ever encountered in my career. It involved our story subject finding her beloved, taking off toward him in a dead sprint, and losing her footing as she got within two feet of him.

Whatever preconceived notion my photographer Chris Wilkinson and I may have had about capturing a romantic proposal evaporated.

She body tackled that poor sailor – who happened to be foot shorter than her -with the force of a defensive lineman, sending the red roses he was holding flying in every direction.

No need for him to drop to a knee.

He was already on the ground.

Wilkinson had to look away as he shot the scene because he was laughing so hard the camera was bouncing on his heaving shoulders.

Our astonishment and stifled chuckles then turned into joyful tears. She said “yes.”

Others tears have been shed in the course of my reporting. Sometimes I’m not on scene. Sometimes I’m just in the anchor chair, my weekend post in the evenings.

On this story http://KATU: Two Marines I had learned earlier in the week from a contact in Governor Kulongoski’s office that two Marines were to be buried on the same day. This would create a logistical challenge with the services taking place quite a distance apart. Still, I pitched the story. It felt important.

With the help of our sister station in Eugene and KATU Photographer Monty Orrick, I wrote and presented a piece that in the end, overwhelmed me on-air.

It’s a real moment.

May we honor the fallen, today, especially, and always.

Twitter: @AnnaCanzanoKATU

The Prez is coming to town

Bruce Ely / The Oregonian

Once when attending a career-building seminar aimed at broadcast journalists, the guest speaker, who’d had years of experience in this industry, issued a specific word of caution to us up-and-comers about our resume tapes.

Those are the tapes we desperately send out to news directors in markets higher than the one in which we currently work, hoping something in the first ten seconds doesn’t induce a gag reflex and prompt the tape to be yanked out. We call them tapes, but nowadays, it’s a dvd.

The lecturer said, “Don’t put the president’s-in-town story on your resume reel. Because EVERYBODY puts it on there. And it does not make you unique. It doesn’t mean you’re a great journalist. It simply means, you can adequately cover the story when the president comes to town.”

He was right.

Covering the president, while an extreme honor, merely means that you passed the security clearance at the federal level to get a press credential. You survived the world’s biggest hurry-up-and-wait drill. And you and your crew managed to not screw up your feed, or botch your audio, as you collected the key moments of the event (the entrance, the standing ovation, the exit) usually from a platform WAYYY in the back of the room.

Not to sound cynical, but that’s really what it amounts to be.

Still.

Tomorrow, President Obama comes to town. The last time he was here, he drew some 72-75,000 people to the bowl in Waterfront Park. It was, by all acccounts, an historic day. It caught the attention of the national media, it was the largest gathering of his 2008 campaign, and by golly, it kinda put Portland on the map.

The Oregonian newspaper has the A1 page proudly displayed in its newsroom.

Which is why I’m looking forward to his return. Not for any sort of political reason. You’d be hard pressed to figure out which political party I ascribe to. (hint: none)

Given the context of how much has happened since he took office, I enjoy the context of having the Big Man step on our turf. I appreciate the weight of the news event. And I love that he’s here because we have a hotly-contested gubernatorial campaign, which can only serve to energize the electorate.

I know. That sounds kind of wonky-wonk…but it’s true.

I dig it.

My only dilemma is that I will be filling in as an anchor tomorrow, which I just dumbly realized sitting here on my couch. Evon, the scheduler at work, asked me to co-anchor last week, and even though I spent the weekend telling people about Obama’s pending visit on Wednesday, I did not realize until roughly two minutes ago that I get to announce to our KATU viewers tomorrow evening: “The President’s in town.”

That’s pretty rad.

The reporter in me would rather be on scene, but hey, the anchor clip might look good on a resume tape, no?

(BTW, Mr. Boss-man, if you’re reading this, I will perform my professional duties to the best of my abilities, in whatever capacity I am asked. All aforementioned content is purely satirical and derivates from my alter-ego.)

Surrogate Mom’s New Business

Triplets, twins, she’s done it all. And only 3 of the babies are hers. See my story about this surrogate mom! http://bit.ly/bt3cwY

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