Hartford Courant from Hartford, Connecticut on September 9, 2001 · 140
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Hartford Courant from Hartford, Connecticut · 140

Hartford, Connecticut
Issue Date:
Sunday, September 9, 2001
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H8 SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2001 . THE HARTFORD COURANT 3 Baughns-Wallace Prefers A Position Out Of The Spotlight 'Metric Martyrs' Have Become Folk Heroes In Britain CONTINUED FROM PAGE HI longer suitable for us. The next move would have been to a larger market, and that wasn't my motivation." The truth is, she never really loved anchoring the news. And she certainly didn't like the celebrity status that came with it-.What she did love was helping others. And since leaving television, that's exactly what she's been doing. In her new job, as director of financial education for the state treasurer's office, Baughns-Wallace helps find ways to educate Connecticut residents in all economic brackets about the importance of financial planning. She's At 57, her hair is short, and her skin is flawless. Her makeup is sparse but perfect. She apologizes for forgetting things and laughs often, both when she gets embarrassed and when she is amused. She is humble and shy about the attention she still receives but is enthusiastic to talk about a cause she deeply believes in. part facilitator, part advocate and part cheerleader. She spreads the word about the importance of financial literacy and then makes sure the right people working in the trenches get Connecticut residents access to resources and tools to plan for their futures. Now a bit older and wiser, Baughns-Wallace speaks passionately about her new job, mostly because she knows what it's like to struggle financially. At 57, her hair is short, and her skin is flawless. Her makeup is sparse but perfect. She apologizes for forgetting things and laughs often, both when she gets embarrassed and when she is amused. She is humble and shy about the attention she still receives but is enthusiastic to talk about a cause she deeply believes in. She has arrived at a place in her life where she's not only helping people but helping herself: Understanding finances is something she desperately needed as a single mother planning her and her son's futures. Only back then, she was afraid to ask questions and didn't know where to turn. But getting to this comfortable place professionally wasn't always easy, and it certainly wasn't a direct path. Started Career In Albany Baughns-Wallace began working in television at WAST, the small ABC affiliate in Albany. She supported her husband while he earned a graduate degree, and when he finished, she began her undergraduate degree in speech communications and audiology at SUNY-Albany. It was a complicated time in her life; she was raising their young son while going to school and Friendly, Knowledgeable staff. Big selection of all your favorite brands. l Only minutes from Somers & Enfield r--. ... r .ipgl,,, 1 i3Jf $5.00 Gift Cert if icatetgy? I Towards your next purchase of $20 or morefcV . I Regularly priced merchandise only. One coupon per customer. k Coupon cannot be combined with any other offer or discount. Expires 91601 . HC j continuing to work various jobs, such as a customer-service agent for an airline and for a telephone company. A friend urged her to apply for the TV job at WAST in order to conquer her fear of public speaking. It worked, and so did she, harder than ever. At that time the early '70s and in that small TV market, on-air personalities did everything. Baughns-Wallace was not only an anchorwo-man but also wrote and produced the news. Professionally, she was soaring. But her marriage was breaking up, and her husband moved to Connecticut when they divorced. She considered a job offer from WBAL in Baltimore. But on the way to Maryland, she stopped by Channel 3 in Hartford for an informational interview. She left with an offer to anchor the noon news. Becoming New England's first female African American anchor carried with it much responsibility. The minority community looked to her as someone who had broken barriers and who could explain their concerns . But it wasn't an easy task. "Frankly, there were those struggles as an African American or as a minority in a majority organization," Baughns-Wallace says. "There were certainly some organizational and cultural things that created barriers for folks, and sometimes you have to knock that down. But confronting it was not always pleasant. I never enjoyed confrontation." Soon she was promoted to the 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts. Channel 3 was by far the top news operation in the state, and she brought viewers the news on its most-watched newscasts. But after eight years at the station, Baughns-Wallace was ready for a change. She wanted to spend more time with her son. Plus, the job was weighing on her. "This celebrity role has never been my thing," she says. "What comes along with that job is an enormous amount of responsibility to the community that you serve. You gain many benefits from it as well. But there was always that personal struggle in terms of identifying what is my role. Each and every one of us has some talent, some gift. . . .We may not be clear always how we're supposed to use that. When I look at my career, my direction has changed so many times. But you bring a certain core part of yourself with it. And you have to define for yourself not only what your professional goals are but what your goals are for service. "Broadcasting was not something that I dreamed about as a kid. I never really saw myself in it. I'm not one who grew up with a TV. We didn't always have a TV. Making sure the position I functioned in served community was paramount. Otherwise I'm not going to be a happy person. I wish I could tell you I did miss it, but I didn't. When I was ready to leave, I was ready to leave." So she left Channel 3. There were other TV jobs, but nothing really stuck. She commuted to New York City for a while working for WPIX and had her own syndicated show. She tried to start her own production company. But when the companies A.W. Brown takes your pet's needs seriously! Easy to Get Tol Dir. Just 3 miles north of the CT Institute of Corrections, Follow fit. : i N I ADRIANNE BAUGHNS-WALLACE at she worked with did poorly, so did she. In the end, she declared bankruptcy. In 1986, she got out of media completely and began working at Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance, only to be laid off three years later when the company downsized. She found a job doing public relations for the Corporation for Independent Living but soon was again laid off when the company lost an important contract. Then a job at Operation Fuel opened up in 1991, and she became the fuel bank's executive director. She headed a small staff that worked with community organizations to bring fuel to residents who couldn't afford it. It was an extraordinarily fulfilling time in her life, she said. She also began pursuing a master's degree in management. "She has a really good understanding that nobody does anything by themselves, and everybody needs help at some point," says her son, Jules, now 31. Newly married in the past month, Jules is now a law student at the University of Connecticut School ofLaw. After several years at Operation Fuel, Baughan-Wallace faced another tough choice. Her husband, Lenzy R. Wallace, had a professional opportunity at South Carolina State University, which was looking for an associate dean of the business school to help in its accreditation process. It would require them to move south for three years. "I decided I'll play the trailing spouse," Baughns-Wallace says. "He's always been there for me in the 17 years that we've been married." Make no mistake, when she returned from South Carolina in September 2000, Baughns-Wallace was glad to be back in their Bloomfieldhome. While considering her next professional step, she got a call from Denise L. Nappier, the state treasurer, who was looking for someone to support her goals of promoting financial literacy. After meeting Baughns-Wallace COURANT FILE PHOTO WFSB-TV in 1981. and hearing about her personal struggles with finances, Nappier hired her. "She has a story to tell," Nappier says. "It's going to help to drive the point home by talking about her own personal experiences. She's a top-flight professional skilled in communications; she's bright and vibrant." Baughns-Wallace openly discusses the dismay she felt over not knowing the opportunities available that might have helped her. "I was too embarrassed to ask questions," she says. "If I knew then what I know now. . . " Perhaps that's why she talks so enthusiastically about her new job and her obvious respect for Nappier, a person she can't compliment enough. It's why she went from a job in the public spotlight to one behind the scenes that requires her to write financial reports and analyze numbers. And for now, she doesn't even get a glamorous office. She's temporarily working in a makeshift office, in what is actually a space for an administrative assistant to the business manager. "It is like learning a whole other language," she says with a laugh. "I'm Jane Average." Thinking Of LASIK? 4 Reasons To Choose Dr. John Frangie. I. Price - $2500 for both eyes, the most affordable price for Ladarvision in New England. Includes all retreatments and . follow up visits. NO HIDDEN COSTS. II. Experience - Dr. Frangie is a Fellowship Trained Board Certified Cornea specialist who has performed hundreds of successful LASIK procedures. The only surgeon in Western Massachusetts with a decade of experience in laser vision correction. III Technology -Dr. Frangie uses the LADARVISION laser, LADARVISION actively tracks and adjusts to your involuntary eye movements using 4000 radar pulses per second, so the laser treats precisely where it should, not where it shouldn't. mm m I 1 f I 1 ' " 'K'-wPMMSPWBPIMIS'lQiRl'"n By ANDREA GERLIN KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS Colin Hunt, a fruit merchant at a bustling outdoor London market, is England's newest "metric martyr." His offense? Selling plantains for 39 pence a pound. The price was fine. But the measure was illegal. In Britain, the birthplace of the pound and the pint, old-style "imperial" weights and measures are being outlawed to bring the country's system in line with the European Union's metric system. Pounds are out, kilograms are in. The recent prosecution of five merchants for violating the law has renewed debate about British sovereignty being usurped by the EU, and it has underscored the country's ambivalence about ever-closer ties to the Continent The "metric martyrs" have become folk heroes among the sizable portion of the citizenry reluctant to part with its imperial ways. The British Weights and Measures Association, an anti-metric group linked to the UK Independence Party, said it has already collected $250,000 to pay the merchants' defense costs. The group said its appeal would challenge whether EU directives take precedence over existing British law, including a 1985 act of Parliament that provided for the use of either imperial or metric units. This month, the "metric martyr" cases will be consolidated into one appeal, which Britain's High Court is expected to consider in the fall. In the meantime, Colin Hunt says he, like most of his competitors in the market stalls along Ridley Road, will continue to sell in pounds, because that's what customers want. "I think it's ridiculous," Hunt said over loud Caribbean music at his market stall in the north London borough of Hackney. "Why confuse people? In 30 years, no one's ever asked me for anything in kilograms." If his conviction is upheld, Hunt will face a criminal record and $7,000 in court costs for the initial prosecution, and thousands more or the costs of the appeal. (Undei British law, losers in court cases are responsible for both sides' legal costs.) His troubles are rooted in a 1994 regulation issued by the Europe IV. Convenience - Dr. Frangie new state of the art facility in the only one of its kind, specializing in LASIK surgery only - evening appointments available. Call 413-781-6352 to schedule a complimentary consultation. an Commission in Brussels and approved that year by Britain's Parliament, requiring retailers who sell loose goods to weigh and sell them in metric units as of Jan. 1, 2000. Enforcement is left to local authorities. "I don't understand a kilogram," a Jamaican-born customer named Patricia said as she sorted through the mangoes and passion fruit at Hunt's stall last week. The pound is easier. They should leave these people alone." In practice, the metric system has been widely used in Britain since the 1970s, when science, sports and industry began wider adoption of the international system. Schoolchildren in Britain have been taught to use the metric system for 30 years. All packaged foods are now sold in metric units. Beer and milk, though, are still sold in pints. And road distances are measured in miles, not kilometers. According to a survey by the British grocery chain Tesco last year, 90 percent of its customers still "think" in pounds and ounces, even as they shop in metric. Under the EU directive, prices may be posted in both metric and imperial measures until 2009, when only metric signs will be allowed. "If this appeal succeeds, then there is a constitutional crisis between the United Kingdom and the EU," said Vivian Linacre, director of the British Weights and Measures Association. "And all this because of a pound of bananas." The metric martyrs and their supporters had been hoping to gain backing from Britain's most imperial merchant, Queen Elizabeth n. Last month, days after two merchants in Cornwall were convicted, a London tabloid newspaper reported that a sawmill owned by the Queen on her private estate at Sandringham, 100 miles north of London, was selling oak and teak lumber in feet and inches rather than meters. The Department of Trade and Industry said it has been illegal to sell products by length in imperial units since 1995. The newspaper reproduced copies of receipts from i .e sawmill and published a picture of how the queen might look in the dock, if prosecuted, and set off legal debates over whether she would be able to assert "crown immunity" from metric laws. FOR BOTH EYES has set up his West Springfield, 10 t l N MkMOT 3 1 t ,M 1 1 iii r in 220-Shaker Rd.-north Into East Longmeadow. A.W. Brown Is on the right. just past Shaker Bowl.

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