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Dori Monson

Did TV news kill Seattle sledding?

It all started after dozens took to the icy streets Wednesday during the heavy snow in a decades old tradition of sliding down the steep grade on virtually anything that would slide.
Some angry sledders are blaming local TV reporters, especially KING 5's Meg Coyle, for a sledding clampdown on Seattle's Queen Anne Hill.

Listen to The sled debate: tuber vs. TV reporter in Queen Anne crackdown

It all started after dozens took to the icy streets Wednesday during the heavy snow in a decades-old tradition of sliding down the steep grade on virtually anything that would slide.

In the spirit of that tradition, local TV crews camped out at the bottom for their frequent live reports. A big topic of discussion was the city's law against sledding on streets. (Dori, of course, flagrantly flouted several times in protest sledding of his own, failing to draw a ticket despite repeated attempts.)

During a report by KING 5's Meg Coyle, an angry woman interrupted the broadcast, shouting "thank you so much for ruining the fun. Total complete kill joy, something that's gone on for a decade and you've ruined it."

That woman claims Coyle is personally to blame for Seattle Police ultimately shutting down the sledding. In an interview on 97.3 KIRO FM's Dori Monson Show, Nicole, the vocal tuber, singled out Coyle's reporting about the dangers of sledding and what she claimed was an overemphasis on the illegal activity.

"The crux of her reporting continuously was the dangers of sledding down Queen Anne Hill and that she was appalled that the police kept driving by and couldn't believe the police were doing nothing to ruin this horribly dangerous sledding situation," complained Nicole.

"I didn't realize I was the boss of Seattle Police but evidently I was promoted," Coyle responded sarcastically in a subsequent interview with Dori.

"I don't remember begging Seattle Police to do anything I remember citing the municipal code which prohibits playing in the streets," said Coyle.

"I also remember telling people and showing people during our live shots sledders coming down the hill going way too fast, going right into traffic, including buses and cars and aid vehicles that are still using that main arterial."

The KING 5 crew certainly wasn't alone. As Coyle pointed out, all of the local stations and even the Weather Channel had crews reporting live from the bottom of the hill,

"I was doing live shots next to KOMO and KIRO TV who were going every hour saying 'yeah by the way this is illegal'. All I said was that it's icy and be careful."

The warning is well founded despite the derision. Local hospital emergency rooms have been hopping during the storm treating numerous sledding related injuries from broken bones to concussions.

"I got an email from somebody who was a paramedic when Norm Maleng's daughter died in a sledding accident. It does happen and I can't not report that. I wouldn't be a reporter if I didn't report that," Coyle said.

By Josh Kerns, Editor

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