Visits to News-2, Hickman Co., The Hill and Health Insurance Nightmare

Elon is an early riser. Pardon the work attire.

Random thoughts on a Friday morning while Lynley and I dog sit for Elon, who insists on sitting in my lap as I compose this…
(I did this on the Dwyerwire blog back in the day and thought it was a good way to wrap up the week).

It has been almost three years since I have visiting News-2.  Sure, I’ve dropped a few things off in the lobby but taking

During a commercial break of News-2 at 4. Aki, Sam and Bob. Good looking bunch!

an aspiring TV broadcaster for a tour was a different level.  News anchor Samantha Fisher was kind enough to give up part of her day to host Stratford STEM Magnet High School junior Aki Williams.  A gentle giant.  Polite.  Shy.  Smart as all get out.  He’s already deep into computer programs at school.  Aki was explaining it all to Sam and I and frankly, I got lost.  He was speaking in a different language.  When I was 16 I was just hoping to pass algebra.  (I did, barely, with the help of Ann Ardenart(sp?)  Thank Ann!)  During the tour, Aki seemed to be dialed in on the job of the technical director of a newscast.  Those duties involve working in front of a wall of monitors, coding news scripts and punching all the right buttons at the right time.  As I dropped him off at his home, his mother came outside and we talked about his experience at the station.  Aki pointed at his stomach and said, “seeing that energized me inside.”  Exposing high school students to local TV either encourages or discourages.  I’ll be interested to see how all this plays out for Aki.  My parting words to him were, “Make sure when you are a senior, you sign up for JTG class!”  By they way, being inside those walls didn’t feel like three years had passed.  Everyone was super cool and kind.

Hickman County HS JTG class. Good group but didn’t laugh at the joke I told. It couldn’t have been the delivery, do ya think?

Second semester seniors are a tough bunch.  When I visited the Hickman County High School JTG class earlier this week, my first question was, “How many more days of school?”  Before I finished I heard shouts of “33 days!”  You and I probably had our fair share of “senior-itis” back in the day.  JTG specialist Mike Brown took over the program mid-year after Rob Mitchell was hired away by the state to be a college advisor.  Two of the best people, let alone JTG specialists I’ve ever met.  East Hickman High School and Hickman County High School are in good hands.  Mike and a couple of students will be part of “JTG Day on the Hill” Tuesday.  You’ll be seeing plenty of posts on social media about that next week.  By the way, Mike mentioned, “Teachers have senior-itis too.”  Touche’.

No good deed goes unpunished.
I’ve never missed a health insurance payment in my 32-years of full-time employment.
During an 18-year stint at News-2, I accrued 6-months of sick days, essentially working a half-a-year more than contractually obligated.
Ran marathons.
Still workout.  Don’t smoke.
So what does my health insurance get me when I’m trying to recover from serious effects of pneumonia?
A $450 dollar inhaler.  No generic inhaler equivalent available.  Pay $450 or forget it.  Other choice?  Suffer and hope to heck your body heals itself on its own.
Thanks for nuthin’.
My fathers says it best that insurance companies are,  “in the business of collecting premiums and denying claims.”  Yes, I have a high deductible but who doesn’t?
For decades I have been a bargain to insurance agencies.  Rarely in a doctor’s office until recently.  Until, that is, I needed the insurance industry to stick by me and reward me for all those premiums I paid without cashing in as much as a nickel.
No dice.
Kicked to the curb.
Just another sucker.  Welcome to the new normal.
My doctor’s nurse, who is the messenger but probably shot more times than John Wick’s adversary’s, recommended I “google” the brand name of the inhaler and find a coupon.  I did and hope it works tomorrow when I go pick up my prescription.  Alternative?  Cheering on this 53-year old vessel of my organs and hoping to heal on my own.
I did a good deed and paid my premiums like a responsible citizen is expected to do in a civilized society.
Cue up punishment.

Rep. Kane is a fine lawmaker but could work on his framing skills! Michelle was a good sport to send it anyway.

Finally, I had a cool run in with a fellow East Nashvillian during my visit with state lawmaker Representative Roger Kane.  He works with Michelle Hale, who recognized me from my TV days but also from plodding around Shelby Park.  She specifically  recalled how I was almost hit by a car at a cross walk.  (I think she was in a car behind that car.)  Apparently she’s good at reading lips.  I wasn’t happy and I’ll just leave it at that.  Funny what people remember about other people.

My apologies for not answering to this blog in the last few days.  Life has gotten in the way.
Have a great and safe weekend.

By |2017-03-24T14:32:56+00:00March 24th, 2017|Random Thoughts|0 Comments

About the Author:

Call it John Dwyer 2.0 After 29 years as a TV Broadcaster, Dwyer is President & CEO of Jobs for Tennessee Graduates (JTG). JTG, an affiliate of Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG), is a non-profit organization dedicated to stewarding at-risk high school students toward graduation with follow through toward post-secondary education and/or job opportunities. Associated with JAG since 1981, JTG consistently obtains a graduation rate above 90-percent with a full-time job rate at nearly 70-percent. The most vulnerable, socioeconomically challenged young men and women, graduate with self-esteem with the realization and skill set to achieve success after high school. Does it get much better than that? Dwyer, is a resident of the Nashville area since 1996. He was sports director and/or a news anchor at TV stations in Nashville, Jacksonville, Florida; Ft. Myers, FL and his hometown of South Bend, Indiana. He is a 10-time Mid-South Region Emmy Award winner, along with winning numerous other awards. He is also a former Heisman Trophy voter. John is a 1985 graduate of Butler University, where he majored in Radio/TV while minoring in journalism. An avid running (or “plodder” as he likes to call himself), Dwyer runs in Nashville’s annual marathon. (Current tally: 7 Full, 10 Half). He accomplished a goal, once thought out of reach, be qualifying and running in the Boston Marathon in 2009. Married to Lynley, Dwyer resides in East Nashville with his wife and dog Lola. Dwyer served on the Make-A-Wish Middle Tennessee board from 2006-2012, and was board chairman for three years.

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COVID-19 Update

JAG and JTG Statement in Response to COVID-19

 As we are all feeling, COVID-19 has shifted how the world operates in a way that is unprecedented for our generation, and Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) and Jobs for Tennessee Graduates (JTG), one of 39 JAG state affiliates, are no exception. The impact of the coronavirus and the immediate danger it presents has closed our education system, directly affecting students and their families. This is especially detrimental to JTG students, who often look to their JTG Specialists and classmates for steadiness and security in their lives.

We also recognize that our students and their families are disproportionately affected by the closure of restaurants, stores, bars, and other service-industry places of work. These jobs often provide the entry-level opportunities our students need to enter the workforce. A difficult environment is likely to continue for some time, so we are in the process to reposition our training and support to make the best case for our JTG students to be considered for employment.

At a time when we must social distance ourselves to protect each other, the thousands of JTG students we serve need us more than ever.  We are responding to and encouraged by the requests from many JTG Specialists to access online learning modules and platforms provided by JAG educational partners like the Skills to Succeed Academy, EverFi, and Tallo. We are excited to see the interest in the JAG Genius and the use of virtual connectivity and the online sense of community – something we all need in these times.

Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) and Jobs for Tennessee Graduates (JTG) recognize we need to modify the way we provide support and deliver competencies to our students during this time of uncertainty. In response to the way business and education are adapting (in real time) to COVID-19,  JAG National is establishing new protocols and processes to ensure full, virtual engagement with our young people to ensure they have the competencies they need to meet the very competitive job market ahead. That is why JAG is providing the immediate recommendations below that are of highest priority, which impact the day-to-day lives of our students and Specialists. Like our world right now, please know that these are in real-time and subject to change.


Moving forward, we will have ongoing recommendations that will be built into new practices that will serve as both short- and long-term solutions to continue JAG’s data-driven model. This will help us remain accountable to our students, our partners, funders, and each other.