I'm really getting tired of saying goodbye to people. Less than a month after Kris Pickel left us, I'm waving to Kaushal Patel, our weekend anchor and weekday reporter for the last two years.
Kaushal meant business from day one. The earliest encounter I remember with her was when I filled in for the weekend producer. She strode over to get a look at the rundown, something her predecessor never did. She would make suggestions and ask about stories. I didn't have to justify my existence, but it's nice having somebody who wants to be involved with the broadcast.
In the short time we have known Kaushal, she has left a mark here. If we want to talk about memorable moments, my favorite is from 2005.
Randy Garsee, an anchor known for hitting reporters with the occasional oddball question said this to Kaushal on the air after she completed a live report on the search for mountain lions in Sabino Canyon:
"Are mountain lions, like bulls, attracted to the color red?"
A few seconds of silence passed.
"I'm sorry?" she asked innocently.
"Are they attracted to red, like you're wearing?"
Actually Kaushal's top was more pink than red, but she got the joke.
"Um, you know, Arizona Game and Fish has not said anything like that." She wrapped up the report again with another advisory to people coming to the canyon.
Randy admitted he was putting her on -- again, live on the air: "When Kris is not here, I just kind of get out of control."
Kaushal is trading the desert for the big "D," working at Viacom-owned KTXA as they launch a prime-time news block similar to KCAL in Los Angeles. Welcome to the majors, Kaushal! Enjoy the barbecue...