Every Other Sunday: The Little Waldorf Saloon

The games selection is small, but there is still enough to keep you busy while you wait for your meal.

The games selection is small, but there is still enough to keep you busy while you wait for your meal.

My youngest son, Lucas, visits me every other weekend. It is a time to focus on having fun and enjoying our time together. All other obligations get put aside for a few days. At 13, he is tall, lanky and wears his hair long. Sunday is our day to go out for lunch and on most Sundays we go to the Little Waldorf Saloon in Reno, Nev. But the journey involves a few other stops.

Neither of us has Internet on our home computers, so we stop at the University of Nevada, and share time on the computers. For an hour, we watch the trailers to the latest movies and check YouTube for the latest video of a teenage skateboarder castrating himself on the rails of a park stairway.

Then we cross the street and go to the Little Waldorf Saloon. The restaurant, styled in rustic wood and a cannon sitting on its roof, has our favorite special on Sundays: buy one hamburger; get a second for a penny. The cannon came to Reno with the restaurants founder, Red Waldorf, when he left his uncle’s hotel, the Waldorf Astoria, and travel to Reno to start a restaurant in 1922. The Little Waldorf would fire the cannon when the UNR Wolf Pack won a game. However, the Reno police put an end to that due to noise.  We sit down at a booth and watch a bit of whatever game is on the television. Today it’s football. The inside is dark, with stained hardwood beams, seats and, well, just about everything in the restaurant is covered in wood or Old West antiques.

Lucas is still the reigning champion of Dragon Punch!

Lucas is still the reigning champion of Dragon Punch!

After Lucas orders the Great Bacon Burger and I go for the Sourdough Burger, we play video games. The Little Waldorf has a limited selection of games, but we enjoy ourselves. “Street Fighter II” and pinball are always on our agenda. But Lucas loves “Dragon Punch,” which isn’t even a video game. It is a larger-than-average boxing speed bag attached to a machine. Punch the bag, and the machine gives you a score.  Lucas got the highest score, 8648, a few months ago and he takes pride that no one has yet to beat his score.

To my chagrin, I have yet to beat him on this game. I know how to throw a punch and, at three times the boy’s weight, I should be able to beat him easily. Yet every other week I get served.

Bottlecaps ($5.49) are green and red jalapenos battered, fried and served with ranch dressing. The batter is light and almost reminds me of tempura. This is a great appetizer with a little heat and the addition of red peppers adds a little variety to the look of the dish. This got a thumbs up from Lucas.

Bottlecaps ($5.49) are green and red jalapenos battered, fried and served with ranch dressing. The batter is light and almost reminds me of tempura. This is a great appetizer with a little heat and the addition of red peppers adds a little variety to the look of the dish. This got a thumbs up from Lucas.

We take our time at the Little Waldorf. We enjoy our appetizer of Bottlecaps, red and green jalapenos deep fried in a very light batter, and drinks while waiting for our meal. I am always fascinated by the mind of a thirteen-year-old boy. He can switch from talking about why is there still racism to fart jokes to his desire to learn to play Paganini on his violin to why he thinks the Dodge Viper is the best car in the world to why he thinks mechanical webbing is a better idea than organic webbing in the “Spider-Man” films in the span of a few sentences. He talks about what he is learning in history class; the Second Industrial Revolution. I mention that I am studying the same subject in my economic history of the United States class, but with a focus on the economics of the era. Our Sunday lunch is an open forum.

After lunch, we usually go shopping. Sometimes he needs new clothes, which he is surprisingly good a choosing for a boy his age. But usually we travel to the Barnes & Noble and Best Buy on South Virginia Street. We take time looking at books. He looks at historical fiction. I look at comic books.

At five o’clock, it is time for the good times to end. We go back to my apartment. He picks up his things and I take him back to his mother’s. Our Sunday travel is not elaborate and hardly exciting, but it is our time together.

It is an opportunity for Lucas to act a little more like an adult and for me to act a little less like one. I know my time is short. Another year or two and he will be more interested in girls, sports and whatever the hell kids are into these days. The writing is on the wall. I will be irrelevant, at least for a while. And the Little Waldorf will just be a restaurant on Virginia Street that I used to go to with my teenage son.

Text and photos Copyright © Paul George 2012

The Sourdough Burger ($9.49) includes a spicy mustard and grilled onions. Another great choice at the Little Waldorf!

The Sourdough Burger ($9.49) includes a spicy mustard and grilled onions. Another great choice at the Little Waldorf!

The Great Bacon Burger ($9.79) featured, well, you guessed it, bacon. Lucas loved it.

The Great Bacon Burger ($9.79) featured, well, you guessed it, bacon. Lucas loved it.


Journalism’s Future Changing, But Positive

Watch this video to learn more about the $8 million renovation to the Reynolds School of Journalism

: From 1990 to 2009, newspaper circulation dropped 25 percent, with a sharp decrease beginning in 2004. Meanwhile, as the Internet has become available in many household, users have increased by 12,000 percent during the same two-decade period.Sources: Google Public Data (Internet use) and Newspaper Association of America (circulation figures).

As Internet use has increased greatly over the last 20 years, newspaper sales have dropped 25 percent, leading to fewer newspapers and reduced staff. However, the field of news writing recognizes the need to evolve with new technology while retaining its core principles.

The decline in sales has led to an estimated 30 percent reduction in news gathering and reporting staff at most newspapers, said Alan Stavitsky, Dean of Journalism at the University of Oregon.

“I think what’s happening with so fewer journalists on the street is that papers are much more selective about what they cover,” Stavitsky said.

Stavitsky has observed that his local paper, The Oregonian, has reduced the metro section from four or five pages daily to one or two pages. Sometimes a story that would have been a full article is now a paragraph or two.

Stavitsky describes journalism as an “ecology.” The newspaper is the single largest news source in a community and it generates ripples of information that move through a neighborhood.

However, the largest threat to print journalism, Stavitsky said, is the aggregators, online websites that gather news from main news sources and repost the information. This has led to fewer papers sold, which has led publishers to produce less news. Therefore, less ripples travel through a community.

But the Internet, along with its aggregators and bloggers, is not going away. With more than 230 million Americans using the Internet, people have become more knowledgeable about technology.

“The modern audience is very sophisticated when it comes to Internet tools and journalists need to keep up with the changes in technology,” said Reynolds School of Journalism professor Donica Mensing.

The difference, said Stavitsky, is that professional news writers create original and verifiable reporting, research their stories and are accountable for poor work. Journalists are trained professionals and go to the source of a story, something most bloggers do not do.

“When was the last time a blogger went to Iraq?” Stavitsky said.

“Much blogging is assertion based and closer to talk radio than news radio,” Stavitsky said. However, he added that the news field needs to take responsibility and “do a better job of promoting media literacy.”

The Internet is a new tool, but it does not change the “fundamental dynamic of the journalist communicating with the public,” Mensing said. She added that organizations like the Knight Foundation are promoting innovated changes in journalism.

These changes in technology have put more responsibility on the journalist, Mensing said. “A journalist was responsible for just the content and someone else took care of distributing it. Now the acts of production and distribution are intertwined.” With social media like Facebook and Twitter, a journalist has more contact with readers and feedback is immediate.

While the advances in technology have created new challenges and opportunities for news writers, new ethical problems have raised concerns for the industry.

“We used to have a clear distinction between what is personal and what is public. And now that line is erased. Can I look at their Facebook page and use that information? Can I use their pictures posted on a social media site? Is this person I am chatting with online in Egypt verifiable?” Mensing said regarding ethics.

Stavitsky added that other ethical concerns exist since the tools of creation and distribution are in everybody’s hands. One trend that concerns him is that television news organizations air citizen generated material without verifying the context, legitimacy or agenda of the material.

But newspapers, which need to be concerned with selling advertising and papers, have needed to change not only the way they distribute news, but also how they report.

“Before we were very focused on digital, we were pretty much out of the breaking news business,” said Beryl Love, editor of the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Instead, said Love, newspapers would focus on a follow-up story for the following day based on changing events after the original story ran. However, now reporters are expected to report breaking news through the use of newer technology such as video cameras, camera phones and other portable media tools so that the latest news will be posted on the Reno Gazette-Journal’s website within a short amount of time.

“On the print side, we are trying to be more specialized … providing analysis and context. But on the digital side we are completely back in the breaking news business,” Love said, adding that the paper was no longer on a 24-hour news cycle but a continuous news cycle.

While Love acknowledges that there are challenges on the business side of the industry, he said that journalism itself is stronger than ever.

“Journalism has never been more healthy because we reach more people we ever did with just print alone and we engage our audience more than we ever did before. And we not only have our own content that we provide but we’re a great portal to the community.”

The classic image of the reporter in a dark room saturated with the rat-a-tat-tat sound of metal keys striking the platen of a manual typewriter is gone. Now it has been replaced with the muted tapping of a computer keyboard and the beeps and chirps of cellphones. However, the job remains the same, to inform the public with accurate, verified and well-researched information and provide a forum for the issues that face a community.

Copyright 2011 Paul George

Should You Consider Journalism As A Major?

While some students enter college with a concrete plan to study a specific major, others enter higher education as undeclared, having yet to decide on a field of study. With Journalism, which has faced some challenges over the last decade due to changing technology (see main story), many in the education and business community believe it is an excellent choice for a major.

“I think that now, more than ever, with so much information, there is a need for trained professionals to make sense of the amount of information available,” said Alan Stavitsky, Dean of Journalism at the University of Oregon.

With the Internet and constant access to information through tables and cellphones, Stavitsky said, more people require good information.

Listen to Reno Gazette-Journal editor Beryl Love discuss why journalism is a worthwhile major and how students can be better prepared to enter the field.

Reynolds School of Journalism Academic Chair Rosemary McCarthy believe that everybody should consider journalism as a major.

“Journalism majors are learning about journalism at a really exciting and important time,” McCarthy said.

“People in a self-governing democratized society need information to function,” McCarthy said, adding that the media has the responsibility to inform the electorate.

Now students learn methods of gathering and sharing information that use modern technology and social media websites, McCarthy said.

The Reynolds School of Journalism offers journalism as either a major or minor for undergraduates who attend the University of Nevada, Reno. It also offers an Interactive Journalism Masters Program for graduates.

Copyright 2011 Paul George

Sexual Safety an Ongoing Campus Concern

The Campus Police regularly participate in student-organized safety awareness events. Officer Jon Martinez speaks to a crowd at the recent Slut Walk, a rape awareness march. Photograph: Paul Anthony George

With more than 18,000 students attending the University of Nevada, Reno, including more than 2,000 living on campus,  safety, including sexual assault, remains an issue of importance for students and staff at the university.

“We do not have any cases of sexual assault by strangers,” said UNR Campus Police Cmdr. Todd Renwick. “Of the four to six reports per year, pretty much all of them are date rape types of sexual assault.”

But Renwick adds that only a third of all sexual assaults are reported. “Most victims,” Renwick said, “do not report due to embarrassment or they do not want to go through court proceedings, having to testify in court.”

Listen to an interview with Commander Renwick:

Police Services and UNR have programs to protect, educate and assist students with campus safety. Along with regular patrols, Renwick said, the police participate in student safety and awareness activities such as the recent Slut Walk. The department also publishes brochures about campus safety and these are available in the lobby of the Police Services office in the Student Services Building.

UNR’s Campus Escort program began in 1984 as a service that walked students and staff to their cars or classes. Now the program is made up of eight vans, giving students and staff rides up to two miles from the campus perimeter.

“The purpose of the program is to increase safety and offer a safe transportation alternative for students and staff,” said Program Coordinator Chris Partridge.

Some students have complained, however, that the service sometimes takes up to 45 minutes to arrive. Partridge said that delays are on the rise and the department is addressing the issue. Last semester, according to Partridge, the Campus Escort gave 33,500 rides, the department’s largest demand ever.

“It can get overwhelming,” Partridge said, adding that the department’s goal is to reach passengers within 10 to 15 minutes from the time they call for a ride.

Another preventative measure taken by the university are the “blue light” emergency phones installed throughout the campus. With the touch of a button, the station places a call to a 911 dispatch.

“They have low activity, but serve as a deterrent,” Renwick said. “However, they have been helpful for medical emergencies.”

UNR’s Police Services also offers a self-defense course for women called Rape Aggression Defense. This national program features certified trainers and is available to women on campus.  According to UNR’s Web page for the program, it is a free 12-hour course. However, students can pay for a one-credit course that meets weekly.

Another program UNR offers is a counseling program called Personal Safety and Sexual Assault Prevention. According to its Web page, the program offers confidential counseling with mental health professionals, advocacy, and “workshops and classroom presentations on sexual violence prevention, personal safety awareness, healthy dating relationships, and the impact of alcohol and drugs on issues of sexual consent.”

The programs offered by UNR and the campus Police Services educate, protect and defend the student body from sexual assault and campus violence.

Police Services recently released its annual report about security and safety on campus. According to the report, the number of reported sexual assaults declined in 2010. There was one reported case that year, compared to six cases in 2008 and four cases in 2009.

But for any victim of sexual crimes, the statistics do not matter. The Crisis Call Center, a nonprofit organization, assists people with suicide hotlines, domestic violence counseling and many other personal safety issues, including sexual assault.

“We provide emotional support and a forensic examination. It is completely free. We have very high confidentiality. We are protected like a priest or a psychologist,” said the center’s Sexual Assault Support Services Program Assistant Tina Schweizer.

The victim, Schweizer said, can choose whether or not to report the incident to the authorities. However, cases where the victim is under 18 years old must be reported to law enforcement.

Statistics provided by Schweizer state that the rate of sexual assault in Nevada is higher than the national average. The statistics show that 20 to 25 percent of women attending college experience sexual assault during their college career. However, UNR continues to show a decline in cases of sexual crime.

Renwick expressed satisfaction with the programs that are in place.

“We have a pretty good educational safety component on campus.”

©  Paul Anthony George and The Reno Signal, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Paul Anthony George and The Reno Signal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 

Related Articles:

Slut Walk Brings Rape Awareness to Campus

Safety Contacts

Slut Walk Brings Rape Awareness to Campus

March coordinator Monika Mala leads protesters, yelling “a dress in not a yes.” Photograph by Paul Anthony George

Monika Mala, 25, a grad student working at the University of Nevada, Reno’s Center for Student Cultural Diversity, had never heard of a Slut Walk before another employee mentioned it to her. She researched the subject and discovered that these anti-rape marches were happening, not just in the United States, but also in other countries like Africa and India.

According to Mala, these marches began forming after a Toronto, Canada police officer made a comment that, in order to avoid sexual assault, women should not dress like sluts.

With a large freshman class entering UNR for the fall semester, Mala believed it would be a good time to raise the issue of sexual assault and campus safety by staging the march.

“This would be a cool event to have here,” Mala said.

Kasey Lafoon and Tina Schweizer, from the Crisis Call Center, participated in the Slut Walk. Afterward, both gave speeches to the crowd about the counseling the center provides for victims of rape. Photograph: Paul Anthony George

The protest took place Wednesday, Sept. 7, beginning behind the Jot Travis building on the UNR campus. Mala estimated the crowd to be 150 participants, including men and women. As the marchers moved through the campus, they yelled “a dress is not a yes” and “no means no” while carrying signs reading “victim blaming was never an option.”

The march ended in front of the Joe Crowley Student Union, where Mala introduced UNR Police Officer Jon Martinez, who talked to the crowd about the services the campus offers to improve campus safety.  Kasey Lafoon and Tina Schweizer from the Crisis Call Center then spoke about common misconceptions about sexual assault.

However, the event was not without critics. Nevada Sagebrush columnist Enjolie Esteve wrote an article a day before the event, commenting that it sends a mixed message and elevates a degrading term used toward women.

“I never meant for the event to have a derogatory message,” Mala said. She wanted to dispel the myth that “just because a woman dresses a certain way she’s inviting … sexual assault.”

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Additional Articles:

Sexual Safety an Ongoing Campus Concern

Safety Contacts

©  Paul Anthony George and The Reno Signal, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Paul Anthony George and The Reno Signal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 

Safety Contacts

  • Emergency police, fire, ambulance 911
  • 911 (from a campus phone) dial 9-911
  • Counseling Services (775) 784-4648
  • Campus Escort Service (775) 742-6808
  • Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) (775) 784-1225
  • Student Health Center (775) 784-6598
  • University Police (775) 744-4013
  • Non-Emergency Dispatch (775) 334-2677 (334-COPS)
  • Reno Police – Victim Services Unit (775) 334-2115
  • Sparks Police (775) 353-2279
  • Washoe County Sheriff (775) 328-3000
  • Crisis Call Center (24 hours) (800) 273-8255
  • Nevada Coalition against Sexual Violence (775) 355-2220

Additional Articles:

Sexual Safety an Ongoing Campus Concern

Slut Walk Brings Rape Awareness to Campus