Hundreds gather for CBS broadcast in Cape

Thursday, June 15, 2006
CBS weatherman Dave Price announced that Jackson resident Eva Baughn, center, was the recipient of a Great American Vacation to Hawaii with her two daughters, Kaitlin, center, and Courtney, far right. Baughn stood with her sister, Sheila Irvin, who nominated the Baughn family for the trip. (Fred Lynch)

Before sunrise Wednesday, downtown Cape Girardeau resembled a street party as hundreds of people flocked to the riverfront for a chance to appear on national television.

Weatherman Dave Price of CBS' "The Early Show" broadcast the nation's forecast live from Cape Girardeau. He was surrounded by people -- some had been at the riverfront since 2 a.m., and some had traveled for more than two hours -- holding up signs and banners.

Cape Girardeau was one of 16 stops on Price's tour throughout the country. The weatherman is traveling to selected cities to give away vacation packages as part of CBS' Great American Vacation promotion.

Jackson residents James and Eva Baughn were the local recipients of a Great American Vacation -- a five-day, six-night trip to Oahu, Hawaii. Sheila Irvin of Leopold, Mo., wrote the television network to explain why her sister's family deserved a vacation.

Irvin described Eva Baughn as a hardworking, good mother and the wife of a deployed soldier. James Baughn has been stationed in Iraq with the 414th Military Police Company since August.

"I'm just really shocked. It hasn't sunk in yet," said Eva Baughn, whose birthday also was Wednesday. "My sister asked me to take off work for my birthday and spend the day with her. I had no idea she did this."

Irvin was informed last week her sister's family had been selected to win the vacation. Price announced the winner during the live broadcast.

"My sister told me yesterday that we should go watch the live broadcast. My first response was 'no way, it's at 5:30 a.m.,' but she talked me into it," Eva Baughn said.

The family plans to depart for Hawaii shortly after James Baughn returns from Iraq at the end of the year.

Cape Girardeau was represented by Marines, Boy Scouts, the city's town crier, local cheerleaders, the municipal band and Rowdy the Redhawk, who were all present during the live broadcast. Residents arrived dressed in red, white and blue for Flag Day and held up signs supporting the troops and promoting various Cape Girardeau organizations like the Boys and Girls Club and United Way.

Before the actual filming began, Price proclaimed, "We're having a party down here in Cape Girardeau!"

City manager Doug Leslie arrived at 5:30 a.m. to watch the two hours of filming. The television station requested various public officials be at the shoot in case Price wanted to interview them live.

"We've got a great number of wonderful ambassadors representing the city here today," Leslie said. "They couldn't have picked a better place to tape -- right downtown on the riverfront where it all started."

Price signed autographs, took pictures and joked with residents in between his live broadcasts.

Oran fifth-grade teacher Janet Randolph brought her summer-school students to watch the live filming. The group arrived at the riverfront at 3:20 a.m.

"It's been cool. I'm learning how they make a TV show," said student Brandi Emerson.

The taping at the riverfront was done a couple of hours before "The Early Show" aired at 7 a.m. on KFVS12.

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