Monday, August 14, 2000

Channel 12's Adler initiated safe baby program

By John Kiesewetter
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        And now for what Paul Harvey would call “the rest of the story.” When WKRC-TV (Channel 12) and other news agencies reported the new “Secret Safe Place For Newborns” program last week, they didn't credit the man who suggested the program here. That would be Paul Adler, Channel 12 reporter and Saturday morning co-anchor.

        He and his boss, News Director Steve Minium, met with Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen in February seeking support for a program in which parents can take a baby less than 3 days old to any Hamilton County hospital emergency room, hand the baby to a staffer wearing a hospital ID, and walk away without criminal charges.

        It is based on the “Safe Place” program started two years ago in Mobile, Ala., by WPMI-TV reporter Jodi Brooks.

        “When I heard about it, I thought it would be a good story idea,” Mr. Adler said.

        Then he thought about Deborah Mackey, the Franklin woman who placed her newborn infant in a trash can at work. Or he would look at his own daughter, Karlee, now 22 months. He decided to be an activist, not a journalist.

        He met with his boss, called Ms. Brooks and arranged a meeting with Mr. Allen. Then he called area hospitals and the Greater Cincinnati Health Council.

        “I followed Jodi's game plan. She said the first thing you have to do is get the prosecutors on board,” he said.

        When the program launched Aug. 8, brochures were distributed giving “special thanks” to Channel 12, but not Mr. Adler.

        “I didn't do this for credit,” says the St. Louis native, who was hired by Channel 12 four years ago. “I did it because I have a daughter, and I look at her every day and say, "I'm so lucky!' It's such a shame for someone to throw a life away.”

        Now you know the rest of the story.

        Kiese-watching: The best rerun I've seen this summer is Kroger's repeat of the Marty Brennaman-Joe Nuxhall spot where their wives call them during a Reds radio broadcast. Will Kroger soon repeat the one with Marty and Joe autographing each other's bananas?

        And speaking of commercials: How many of you — be honest now — have been swayed to shop at Meijer's because of the TV spot showing an empty amusement park, a closed diner and a girl walking on a beach? What's up with that? E-mail your comments to me at

        Around the dial: Biography profiles rocker David Crosby (8 p.m. and midnight today, A&E), who hosts a documentary about rock 'n' roll benefit concerts called Stand Up and Be Counted next week (9-11 p.m. Monday-Tuesday, The Learning Channel).

        Talk shows today: 'N Sync visits Rosie O'Donnell (10 a.m., Channel 9); Rick Rockwell guests on The View (11 a.m., Channel 9); and Karenna Gore Schiff and Kristin Gore appear on The Tonight Show (11:35 p.m., Channel 5).


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