Amy Mearkle says she will miss TV.
Mearkle, who has been with WTAJ-TV since 1999, has accepted a job as director of marketing and advertising for DelGrosso's Amusement Park.
Her last day on the air will be Nov. 23.
Amy Mearkle, who has been with WTAJ-TV?since 1999, will begin a new job with DelGrosso’s Amusement Park at the end of the month.
"I am sure part of me will miss TV,"?she said. "I will miss my co-workers, the people aspect and knowing the story first, the journalist instinct."
When I hear breaking news, I will miss that," said Mearkle, 35, of Hollidaysburg. "I won't miss the early alarm clock in the morning."
Television has been in the blood of Mearkle, who grew up on a dairy farm near Clearville, since 1990 when the Action News for Kids program came to her farm to do a story about her selection as Bedford County's Dairy Maid.
The Mearkle file
Name: Amy Mearkle
New position: Director of marketing and advertising at DelGrosso's Amusement Park
Education: 1994 graduate of Everett Area High School, 1998 graduate of Elizabethtown College with a degree in communications
Family: Boyfriend, Aaron Parr, and dog, Duke, a chocolate lab.
Quote: "Patrick [Schurr] calls me his TV wife, I call him the brother I never wanted. He is a good friend and co-worker."
"The producer, cameraman and reporter fell in love with my parents' farm. They asked if they could come back, and I said sure," Mearkle said.
The TV crew returned for a week to work on a 30-minute special on milk, the steps from the cow to the consumer.
"I carried equipment for them and followed them around. I thought it was so fascinating, that got me hooked," Mearkle said.
Mearkle then began her "TV career" as an Action News for Kids reporter in 1990.
After graduating from Everett Area High School in 1994 and Elizabethtown College with a degree in communications in 1998, Mearkle was hired by WDBJ-TV, a CBS affiliate in Roanoke, Va., where she served as a camera and teleprompter operator before becoming an assistant producer writing for newscasts.
"I tried to get on the air, but I didn't have the experience, so I didn't get on," Mearkle said.
She then learned of an opening for a Bedford County reporter position at WTAJ and was hired in 1999.
"The Bedford County bureau was me, a camera, a van and a scanner. I spent about two years doing that. I was also morning anchor for the Saturday morning newscast," Mearkle said. "In March 2001, I was promoted to the morning show."
She thanked former news directors Dennis Fischer and Jim Frank for giving her an opportunity to get on the air.
"Dennis said I didn't have the experience, but he said he was willing to give me a chance. I always admired him for giving me the shot without prior experience," Mearkle said. "He and Jim Frank gave me the shot to be an anchor."
Mearkle said covering the Quecreek mine accident in Somerset County in July 2002, where nine miners were trapped for more than 78 hours, was the most exciting story she ever covered.
"We were the first on scene for that. As it developed, it soon became national news. That first morning, I was on the scene and did live cut-ins for CNN," Mearkle said. [WTAJ] lived there for the next three or four days. It was neat. It was such a good story with a happy ending. You don't always get happy endings."
Mearkle said the DelGrosso's opportunity was too good to pass up.
"It was one the things that made me go 'hmm.'" I have been told change is good in order to grow; it sounded like a good next step," Mearkle said. "I love the area, and it is home. I wanted to stay in the area. I knew it was a great company and a great opportunity. I love news, but I felt it was time to take the next step."
Mearkle will be missed, WTAJ News Director Dave Kaplar said.
"Amy is one of those people you can't replace. Amy is the whole package," Kaplar said. "This is not where you just plug someone in to replace her; it is a tough loss for us."
Mearkle said, during the month of November, WTAJ will be airing look backs from her Action News for Kids days and her days as Bedford County reporter.
She said her last day on the job will be emotional.
"I am excited about my new challenge, but I love what I do. It will be a mixture of happiness and sadness," Mearkle said.
Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.