Local Celebrity Cracks Under Stress Of Local Fame

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Neighborhood Starting To Get Too Safe For Family To Afford

CHICAGO—Explaining that the sense of unease she felt walking to and from her home had declined markedly over the years, Humboldt Park resident Kirsten Healy expressed her disappointment to reporters Thursday that her neighborhood was becoming too safe for her family to afford.

Area Dad Informs Busboy He’s Ready To Order

NASHUA, NH—Raising his arm into the air while leaning outward from the table in a bid to command attention from the other side of the restaurant, area father Walter Bierko called over a busboy at DiCapri’s Italian Eatery to inform him that he was ready to order, sources reported Wednesday.

Winning Argument With Aging Parents Less Satisfying Than It Once Was

CINCINNATI—After firmly telling them that she was okay paying city prices and that she would not move back to her hometown just because it was cheaper, local woman Ellen Wallace, 40, confirmed Thursday that winning an argument with her parents has become much less satisfying as they have gotten older.

Rescuers Heroically Help Beached Garbage Back Into Ocean

ATLANTIC BEACH, NC—In what many described as an inspiring display of selflessness and teamwork, a group of rescuers heroically saved a beached mound of garbage by helping the stranded trash back into the ocean, eyewitnesses reported Thursday.

Man Races Against Time To Take Out Trash Bag With Widening Puncture

RIO RANCHO, NM—His pace steadily quickening as he rounded the corner out of his kitchen and made a beeline for the front door, local man Henry Parnasse reportedly found himself locked in a race against time Wednesday morning to take out a trash bag with a widening hole in its side.

Man Pushed Off Plate Of Chicken Wings By Larger Male

WARMINSTER, PA—Looking on as the intense display of aggressive behavior played out over several minutes, sources at Flannigan’s Bar & Grill confirmed Thursday that local man Pete Samuelson was pushed off a plate of buffalo wings by a much larger alpha male.

Grandma Guts It Out Through Lunch On Sunny Patio

MALVERN, PA—Making the audacious decision to dine outdoors with her family despite a noticeable lack of umbrellas or awnings, grandmother Diane McGilvery, 83, reportedly gutted it out through lunch Friday on the sunny patio of a local restaurant.

Parents Formally Announce Transfer Of Expectations To Second Child

GRAND JUNCTION, CO—Explaining that the adjustment made the most practical sense for all parties involved, local parents Beth and Ryan Morgan held a press conference Friday morning to announce the official transfer of expectations from their oldest child, Jeremy, to his younger sibling, Angie.

Motorcyclist Salvaged For Parts

SIOUX FALLS, SD—Following a multiple-vehicle accident on Interstate 90 that temporarily halted traffic in both directions, sources reported Friday that a motorcyclist involved in the crash was hauled off and salvaged for parts.

Detective Not Sure He Was Close Enough To Partner To Endlessly Pursue Killer

DETROIT—After his partner of three years was gunned down last week while the pair were on duty, Detective David Killian of the Detroit Police Department’s Major Case Squad told reporters Wednesday he was unsure whether he had been close enough to his murdered colleague to single-mindedly pursue the killer for as long as it takes.

Man Pretty Cocky Since Beating Cancer

FT. LAUDERDALE, FL—Whether he’s bragging about his newfound appreciation for life or arrogantly refusing to take anything for granted, local man Daniel Oretsky, 38, has been acting insufferably cocky since winning his two-year battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, sources confirmed Tuesday.

Area Man Under Impression He Got Dressed Up

PROVIDENCE, RI—Explaining that the dinner he would soon be having at an upscale restaurant required him to wear something a bit special, local man Kyle Finnegan was under the impression that he had just gotten dressed up, sources said Thursday.

Man Honestly Thought Breakdown Would Be More Obvious To People

MAPLEWOOD, MN—Explaining that he had assumed the deterioration of his physical and psychological state would be readily apparent, 3M sales associate Mark Uhler told reporters Wednesday he honestly thought his ongoing breakdown would be more obvious to everyone around him.

Report: Dad Wants To Show You Where Fuse Box Is

YOUR LOCATION—Noting that it’s important to be prepared in case of emergencies but it’s also a good thing to know in general, your dad announced today that he wants to show you where the fuse box is.

Neighborhood Busybody Reports Sound Of Gunshots

INDIANAPOLIS—Once again sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong, neighborhood busybody Sally Christensen, 54, reportedly took it upon herself to report the sound of gunshots to law enforcement early Tuesday morning, sources confirmed.

Being Older Than Daughter Babysitter’s Only Qualification

UTICA, NY—Possessing no particular proficiencies or training whatsoever, local 12-year-old Jessica Radloff was reportedly hired to babysit Hayley Carden, 7, this week based solely on her qualification of being older than the child she was asked to watch.

Total Weirdo Spends Mother’s Day At Cemetery

ST. MARYS, OH—Apparently content to hang around dead people rather than celebrate like a normal person, area weirdo John Mills spent most of Mother’s Day at a local cemetery, creeped-out sources confirmed.

Child Visiting Ellis Island Sees Where Grandparents Once Toured

ELLIS ISLAND, NY—Pausing to imagine the throngs of people who must have arrived with them that day back in 1994, 12-year-old Max Bertrand reportedly spent his visit to Ellis Island this afternoon walking around the same immigrant station his grandparents once toured.

Email From Mom Sent At 5:32 A.M.

DENVER—After waking up and finding the message waiting on his computer, local man Drew Swanson confirmed to reporters Thursday that his mother had sent him an email at 5:32 a.m.

Man Proud Of Food He Ordered

DEDHAM, MA—Noting how the man grinned with satisfaction after his Buffalo Chicken Ranch sandwich with a side of spiced panko onion rings arrived at his table, sources at Chili’s Grill & Bar confirmed Tuesday that local diner Matt Schoesse ...
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Local Celebrity Cracks Under Stress Of Local Fame

WAUWATONKA, WI–Unable to cope with the mounting pressures of local fame, local celebrity Randall "Herch" Herchwick, 51, shocked residents of this placid Midwestern community Monday with an uncharacteristically emotional outburst during an Elks Club Picnic at the Plefko County Fairgrounds.

Randall Herchwick

According to witnesses, the popular WTNK Action News anchorman "snapped" after being submerged in a charity dunk tank, at which he had volunteered as a "human target." Following the humiliating dunking, Herchwick allegedly raised his voice and swore at several picnic-goers, storming away angrily and frightening a group of small children, one of whom reportedly began crying.

Described by town doctor Glen Hardale as "almost a nervous breakdown, but more minor," Herchwick's disturbing display is believed to have been brought on by the strain of 11 years of intense, unrelenting local celebrityhood.

"Being in the public spotlight each weekday at six on the Channel 15 NBC Action News, as well as Saturdays as co-host of Wauwatonka Live At Five, well, it's a lot of pressure for a man to face, I'd imagine," Hardale said of Herchwick, beloved by hundreds of Wauwatonkans, as well as residents of nearby Plovis and viewers throughout the greater tri-county area. "Local fame is, as they say, a harsh mistress. An ordinary fellow like you or me, or Pastor Bob or Don over at Hefke's Seed & Feed, can't imagine what it's like."

"Everywhere he goes locally, people recognize him," Hardale continued. "If he wants to enjoy any privacy or anonymity at all, he's pretty much forced to leave this three-mile-radius area."

Following the outburst, Herchwick was rushed to Dr. Hardale's office, where he was asked to lie down and rest while the doctor administered a mild sedative. He was reportedly also offered a cookie.

Early Tuesday morning, WTNK Channel 15 released the following statement: "WTNK and the entire Action News family is deeply saddened by this unfortunate turn of events, but we are confident that Randall Herchwick, or 'Herch' as he is affectionately known, will make it through this crisis and be back to bringing you the same level of telejournalistic excellence and service to his community that has established WTNK as Plefko County's leader for 'News You Can Use.' In the meantime, we ask all of you to keep him in your thoughts and prayers."

Rumors that Herchwick's outburst was the result of a fame-induced drug problem were quashed when lab reports revealed that the news anchor's system contained only over-the-counter antacids and a mild prescription antihistamine. Still, locals said, the strain of Herchwick's local notoriety has taken its toll in recent months.

In this June 6 photo, Herchwick avoids local paparazzi at the Korner Kart convenience store.

According to Wauwatonka resident and regular Action News viewer Eileen Lund, the first sign of trouble came in February, when Herchwick seemed "stressed and even sort of irritable" during the taping of the ordinarily heartwarming "Thursday's Child" segment, during which he reaches out to a child in need. While taking a terminally ill boy on a tour of a cheese factory, the usually cheerful anchorman, Lund said, appeared bored and impatient with the child's questions about cheese and "seemed in a hurry to get the segment over with and go home."

"I watched it with my grandmother," Lund said. "Neither of us were heartwarmed at all, which I thought was unusual."

Over the past few months, Herchwick's behavior has become especially erratic. In April, he began covering his face when exiting his favorite eatery, the Portage Road Sizzler Steakhouse, shielding his identity from Plefko County paparazzi. Since early May, he has been spotted grocery shopping at Banjo's Food Ranch as late as 11 p.m., hoping to avoid the swarms of local fans which plague him whenever he shops in the afternoon. And on June 3, his 1995 Pontiac Bonneville was seen in the lot behind Larry's Tip-Top Inn, where Herchwick had gone, it is presumed, to drown his sorrows in drink.

"I asked him for an autograph for my daughter when Patti Danforth and I took a tour of the WTNK studios with our Daughters Of The Corn group last week," resident Carole Helmsley said. "He sighed heavily and looked a bit pained. Then he said he'd have to go get a picture to sign from the WTNK NewsTruck. But once he went in, he never came back out. It was as if he was deliberately avoiding us."

"If I'd only known the pressure the poor man was under, I wouldn't have asked," Helmsley continued. "All that constant hounding from autograph-seekers must have been too much for him."

Other Wauwatonkans, however, feel little sympathy for the regional luminary.

"Herch knew what he was getting into when he decided to seek local fame, and now that he's grabbed the brass ring, he's got to live with it," said Gus Brinkle, weatherman at rival station WPGN Channel 27. "He wouldn't be here today if it weren't for his fans, but now that he's got the spotlight, suddenly he turns on them and starts complaining about the pressures of celebrity. It's ridiculous. If he can't take the attention, he should never have gotten into this business. It's not all store grand openings and charity fun runs, you know. If you want the glamour and the glory, you've got to be willing to take the bad stuff, too."

"That's the way this crazy rollercoaster that we in the business call 'the fame game' works," Brinkle said.

Will Herchwick recover? At this point, it remains too early to tell. But one thing is certain: For this anchorman, local fame has brought local accolades and adoration, but not without a steep price.