S.W.A.T. Team for a Day

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swat 9Our local service group, the Exchange Club of Hillsdale County, had a guest speaker who was a member of the SWAT team. He came to talk about his experience as a member of the regional Special Weapons and Tactics unit. He spoke about hostage situations, robberies, suicides, and VIP protection.

swat 8They use a lot of high tech equipment for video surveilance in certain situations that include the use of  robots, snakes, and balls. He demonstrated a self righting ball that is tossed into a conflict area. It is weighted on one side and almost always comes to rest in an upright position. Then a remote controlled video camera can be operated from a distance to spy on the subject.

swat 2The officer also brought weapons and safety equipment. I got to be the guinea pig to suit up as a team member. It started with a bullet resistant vest to protect my upper torso and vital organs–it was HEAVY. An estimated 50-60 pounds of armor was draped over my shoulders and cinched up to fit snugly. A 5 pound helmet was added to protect my head.

swat 6Then I was given a 50-60 pound shield to carry. A neck harness was used to help support the weight. The shield has a small window and a user controlled spotlight. Missing from the outfit were the bullet resistant chaps to protect the legs, special boots, gloves, and face shield. With a total combined weight of around 150 pounds for all of the equipment, these officers must be in pretty good shape to be able to work while carrying this protection for up to 12 hours at a time.  After about 10 minutes, I was ready to lose the shield.

swat 1A new respect was given to these police officers who are trained to handle hostile situations. Every attempt is made to provide the SWAT team with protection and equipment to give them an advantage in any confrontation. The intense technology and training make me happy that these guys are on our side.

Life is good in Jonesville.


Mike Venturini

Published in: on September 30, 2009 at 8:22 am  Leave a Comment  
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Kevin Skinner Wins Las Vegas Contract on America’s Got Talent 2009 Finale

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Based solely on his last performance, I didn’t think Kevin Skinner had a chance to win the million dollar Las Vegas contract on America’s Got Talent. He picked the wrong song and sang it badly–and the judges agreed. However, he has a great story and had sung flawlessly in previous performances. Apparently, Americans are forgiving and awarded him the grand prize regardless of his last performance. Good for you Kevin, but stick with what you do best when you get to Vegas.

Published in: on September 17, 2009 at 9:25 am  Comments (4)  

America’s Got Talent Finale 9/14/09


The final show of America’s Got Talent tonight pitted 10 acts against each other with a million dollar Las Vegas contract at stake.

I don’t know who the judges were listening to, but the Voices of Glory were only in synch on their harmonies, yet the judges liked them a lot. The lead singer was flat on her solos–which was almost the entire song. To tell them they might win the million dollars was kind, but not honest. They were not very good.

Nobody moves like Hairo Torres.  An emotional performance tonight, instead of a fun routine, will probably keep him from the grand prize. My favorite contestant in the top 10 may not win, but out of all of the finalists, he’s the one with the most unique and original talent. We will see him in the future. He has charisma and movements likening him to Jackie Chan. Hairo is a young man with a huge future in dance and choreography.

Lawrence Beamen could not have chosen a better song to suit his voice. He needs to gain personality, he already has the talent.

Barbara Padilla has an outstanding operatic voice. I do not like opera, but I could listen to her sing all night. That is the mark that makes her special and could get her the Las Vegas contract.

The Fab Five were fabulous. The girls had a great circus themed routine and may be the best non-singing act. There is a definite chemistry between these five dancers who also happen to be sisters. They have great choreography and are extremely fun to watch.

The Texas Tenors are very handsome men who can sing very well. I was very entertained and appreciated the performance, but I’m not sure I could listen to an entire night of them.

Drew Stevyns is a handsome young man with a nice voice who plays guitar. He was good, not great.

Grandma Lee went spicey and racey and used her own material to make the crowd laugh. She’s unique and she’s funny, but not quite good enough to win it all.

Kevin Skinner didn’t hit any of the notes of the song he chose, and being backed by a rock band was not a good idea. The judges said it didn’t matter. I disagree, it mattered a lot. He has no chance.

Recycled Percussion was my least favorite group coming into tonight’s show, but they brought their best stuff to their final performance. They did the right thing by choosing “Wipeout” as their final performance. It was hot, but an entire evening of what they do would be more obnoxious than entertaining.

My favorites were Lawrence Beamen, The Fab Five, and Barbara Padilla. I think the women will dominate and place number 1 and 2.

Published in: on September 14, 2009 at 9:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

Girls Gone Wild Comes through Jonesville Michigan

My buddy Jeff called and told me to get my butt downtown right away and to bring my camera because he saw the Girls Gone Wild Bus heading for Jonesville. I raced downtown with camera in hand and got there in plenty of time to set up to witness the vehicle drive through town. When stuff happens in this small town, I like to be a part of it.  Life is good in Jonesville.

Published in: on September 13, 2009 at 9:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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