5 Questions with...NBC 5's Allison Rosati

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5 Questions with...NBC 5's Allison Rosati

CSN Chicago Senior Director of Communications
CSNChicago.com Contributor

Want to know more about your favorite Chicago media celebrities? CSNChicago.com has your fix as we put the citys most popular personalities on the spot with everyones favorite local celeb feature entitled 5 Questions with...

Exclusively on CSNChicago.com, its our turn to grill the local media and other local VIPs with five random sports and non-sports related questions that will definitely be of interest to old and new fans alike.

This weeks guest ... one of the most popular fixtures on the local news scene for over 20 years, whose passion for the city and people of Chicago is clearly evident by her 247 devotion to her job ... in addition to her multiple TV industry awards, she has also been a champion for some amazing causes throughout her stellar careeryou can catch her anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5, 6 and 10 p.m. ... here are 5 Questions withALLISON ROSATI!

BIO: Allison Rosati is anchor of the award-winning NBC 5 News at 5, 6 and 10 p.m.

Rosati joined the NBC 5 family as an anchor and reporter in August 1990. Viewers first got to know Allison on "First Thing in the Morning." Five years later she began anchoring the early evening news. And in May 1997 Rosati was promoted to co-anchor of NBC 5's 10 p.m. newscast.

Originally from Pine City, Minn., Rosati started her career in Rochester, Minn., at KTTC-TV in 1985. In July of 1987, Rosati was hired by WGRZ-TV in Buffalo, N.Y., to report and anchor the 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts.

In 1985, Rosati graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College with a double major in speech and communications and received cum laude honors. Gustavus has honored Rosati with its First Decade Award and its Distinguished Alumni award for her achievements in journalism.

Allison has been honored with numerous national and local awards for her work on stories, series and specials that impact our communities. The Emmy award winning Wednesdays Child resulted in many adoptions for children looking for forever families. The American Women in Radio and Television recognized her work on the Smart Choices, Safe Kids special with a national Gracie Award. The program educated kids and parents about child predators and how to recognize the lures they use. Additionally Rosati received the prestigious Dante Award from the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans -- an annual award to journalists who are not a timid friend to truth.

So whether Allison is being honored by the local war veterans organization for her support of the troops, or out in the neighborhoods to interview women for the political pulse of our times, she is known and applauded for her integrity, passion and commitment!

Committed to community service, Rosati volunteers her time to many Chicago-area organizations. She is passionate about giving back and has a special affection for charities that benefit children in need.

Allison and her husband have four children and one puppy.

1) CSNChicago.com: Allison, thanks for taking time to spend a few minutes with us. Lets start it up. Youre approaching your 14th anniversary as primary anchor on NBC 5 News. An impressive feat to say the least since the anchor chair is commonly a revolving door for many local newscasters throughout the country. What do you think has been the key to your connection with Chicago viewers over the years?

Rosati: First, I can't believe its been 21 years since I first started working at WMAQ! How is that possible? It seems like only yesterday that I arrived here at the NBC Tower with my heart pounding; so excited to be part of such an incredible newsroom and cover a city I had long dreamed of working in. Each day when I come to work, I am still excited to bring our viewers the important, interesting and sometimes heartbreaking stories that never end in the city that is our home. I truly love what I do and I feel a tremendous responsibility to deliver the very best newscast each and every day. I think my sincere passion for what I do and the fact that I am myself on TV connects with viewers. I believe in keeping it real. Just like our viewers, I'm a working parent trying to balance it all ... concerned about schools ... gas prices ... wars ... the only difference my job happens to put me on TV every night. It is an honor and a privilege to share the news of the day with the people of this incredible city that I love so much.

2) CSNChicago.com: Speaking of your solid work at NBC 5, your Emmy award-winning Wednesdays Child segments focusing on adoption in the Chicago area has not only tugged at the heartstrings of your viewers, but also directly resulted in many of these wonderful kids finally finding a home. How did this special segment initially come to fruition and how gratifying is it to you personally when one of these terrific kids joins their new family?

Rosati: "Wednesday's Child" will always have a special place in my heart. It all started in July 1999. Under the leadership of our general manager Larry Wert, NBC 5 decided to become part of the National Wednesday Child program. The idea was to feature area foster children who had waited the longest to be adopted, which we featured each Wednesday night on our six o'clock news. The hope was to help the children find forever families. When they asked me if I would be interested in the project, I immediately thought it was a great idea to use our powerful medium of television to do some real good. But I did have some concerns.

As a teenager, I had lived in a foster home and I felt a real responsibility to make sure we treated each Wednesday's Child with dignity and respect. In telling their stories, I wanted to make sure we also didn't focus on how or why they got into foster care, but rather let each child's spirit shine. In putting together our stories, we started by finding out what each Wednesday's Child loved to do or dreamed of doing. In the process of doing what they love ... we captured the real child.

Our Wednesday's Child adventures included everything from flying on a trapeze to flying an airplane; from playing baseball with the Cubs and the Sox to playing basketball with B.J. Armstrong and Scottie Pippen. The experiences were heartwarming and heartbreaking. Each time I met a Wednesday's Child, I was touched by their uniqueness, their joy, their hopes. They all shared the same dream ... to belong ... to belong to a family that will last forever. They showed great courage. Over the years, we featured 261 children and 213 were on their way or in permanent homes when the program ended. Of all the stories I have done, Wednesday Child was the most rewarding. It showed me how telling someone's story can change lives through the power of television. I will never forget our follow up stories. The pure emotion of a child proudly saying "This is my mom and dad ... and this is my room.

3) CSNChicago.com: Lets switch to Chicago politics for this one. In your opinion, what would you say should be mayor-elect Rahm Emanuels immediate, No. 1 priority once he officially takes office on May 16?

Rosati: I love covering politics in Chicago. There is never a dull moment. Mayor-elect Emanuel has a full plate of challenges ahead. I would think his top priority would be to get the city's financial house in order and, at the same time, find the right people to lead reform in our schools. He also has to make a key hire in who will lead the Chicago Police Deptartment and find ways to make our neighborhoods safe.

4) CSNChicago.com: As with many working parents, its probably safe to assume you wish you had a little extra time to spend with your family. What advice do you have for parents out there, in particular, first time parents, to better their worklife balance?

Rosati: When it comes to balancing work and family life, there are good days and not so good days. You just have to make the best choice you can at the time. My best advice to first time parents is to hold tight to your priorities. If you put your family first, it makes your decision clear. I also believe that life doesn't come down to one big choice ... your job or your family. It is all the little choices you make along the way that define your life. If you take the time to read to your children before heading off to work ... or find a way to get to the ball game and still make the evening news... those little things add up and keep you connected to your family. I also think it is a priority to get away with just your spouse each year. You will be reminded of all the reasons why you got married and had kids.

5) CSNChicago.com: With the start of spring comes the start of baseball season. Come clean Allison ... are you a Cubs or White Sox fan? Dont worry, youre too well-liked in this city no matter which team you choose!

Rosati: To be honest, my first love when it comes to Chicago baseball is the CUBS. They were in my neighborhood when I first moved here. I loved walking to Wrigley Field, having a beer and a mustard pretzel and enjoying the little slice of heaven. But I must admit having sat next to Warner Saunders for many years, I also grew to love the White Sox. Not to mention meeting Jim Thome and Paul Konerko who were huge supporters of adoption in Illinois. I have great respect for both organizations and love to watch baseball. The Sox were magical in their World Series run. I pray the Cubs will get their chance. Maybe? ... Oh, I will just keep praying!

BONUS QUESTIONCSNChicago.com: Anything you would like to promote Allison? Tell us, CSNChicago.com readers want to hear about it.

Rosati: Tune in every night to the NBC 5 News at 5, 6, and 10 pm. Love to have you with us! Please head to my fan page on Facebook for updates on stories we are working on and special events I will be attending.

Rosati LINKS:

NBC 5 News official website

On paper, have Cubs put together a better roster than last year's World Series team?

On paper, have Cubs put together a better roster than last year's World Series team?

MESA, Ariz. – One minute into the media scrum outside the West Wing, a Washington reporter asked Theo Epstein if this season would be considered a disappointment if the Cubs don't win the World Series.

"Oof, I hadn't thought too much about 2017 yet today," Epstein said after President Barack Obama's final official White House event. "But, yeah, I mean, that's our goal. I think the organization has come such a long way and we have this talented young core. We're clearly in a very competitive phase where I think if we do our jobs, we could be as good, if not better, than any team in baseball.

"So if you're going to compete, you set your sights for the world championship. It doesn't always work out that way. But we see it as our jobs to do everything we can to be back at the White House next year."

Whether or not Epstein would actually go through with a Donald Trump photo op is a different story. But with the Cubs signaling their Opening Night roster – keeping outfielder Matt Szczur and infielder Tommy La Stella while lefty reliever Brian Duensing begins the season on the disabled list – you could make the case that the team breaking camp on Wednesday looks better on paper than last year's World Series winner.

"This is a crazy talented group," All-Star closer Wade Davis said. "There's 10 or 12 players on this team that are some of the best players in baseball."

That doesn't mean the Cubs will develop the same chemistry or sense of purpose, but this team is completely used to the national spotlight, hanging out with celebrity fans and being followed around like rock stars on the road. 

Epstein compared this camp in Arizona with what the Boston Red Sox faced after ending the 86-year drought. 

"I will never forget in '05 spring training, we had 5,000 people the first day, 3,000 fans every day," Epstein said. "I was expecting it to be as nuts. But it's been refreshingly normal, reflecting the personality of our players, taking everything in stride."   

This doesn't mean the Cubs will stay as healthy as they did last year, when the projected rotation made 152 starts combined. But four-fifths of that group returns with Brett Anderson – given his natural ability, pitching IQ and extensive medical file – appearing to have a higher ceiling and lower floor than Jason Hammel.

As Anderson said: "It's not too often that you have a salty veteran with multiple rings (John Lackey) in front of you and a guy (Kyle Hendricks) that led the league in ERA behind you."

The 2016 Cubs won 103 games and scored 800-plus runs: without Kyle Schwarber contributing a single hit during the regular season; and with Jason Heyward finishing with a .631 OPS (or 103 points below the league average).

Manager Joe Maddon said Geek Department projections have this lineup generating even more offense with Schwarber as the new leadoff guy (even with a brace on his left leg), continued growth from young players like Addison Russell and Willson Contreras and Heyward not being one of the worst hitters in the majors.

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The Cubs are also counting on a full season from Davis, instead of a half-season rental like Aroldis Chapman. Where last year's Opening Night bullpen featured three guys who would get DFA'd or traded by midseason (Neil Ramirez, Clayton Richard, Adam Warren), this version features three guys who've already notched the final out in a World Series (Davis, Koji Uehara, Mike Montgomery).

"All the additions are wonderful complements to what this team was already," Schwarber said. "Upgrades. It's going to be really cool to see how it all plays out this season with more guys getting another year of experience under their belt."

Ian Happ raising his profile and hitting around .400 in the Cactus League should help his trade value if the Cubs need to deal for pitching at the trade deadline. The combination of Albert Almora Jr. and Jon Jay in center field should be an improvement over Dexter Fowler for a team that led the majors in defensive efficiency last year.

As someone with fresh eyes – and the perspective from being on Los Angeles Dodgers teams that won back-to-back National League West titles – Anderson hasn't see any signs of complacency.

"Not at all," Anderson said. "The young guys are still hungry. And the handful of guys that weren't here last year makes you that much more hungry and itchy to get back where they were last year.

"It's a really good mix – if not a perfect mix – of young guys, veteran guys and a couple fresh faces that are eager to get back to what these guys accomplished last year."

NBA Buzz: Nikola Mirotic making Bulls' offseason decision tougher

NBA Buzz: Nikola Mirotic making Bulls' offseason decision tougher

It's too bad Nikola Mirotic never played college basketball in the United States. He would have been fun to watch during March Madness.

For some reason, Mirotic has saved his best basketball for the month of March over his three NBA seasons. During his rookie season in 2014-15, Mirotic took advantage of injuries to a couple of the Bulls key players, and averaged 20.8 points a game with expanded playing time in March, leading all NBA players in fourth-quarter scoring.

Last season, after rehabbing from two surgeries following appendicitis, Niko averaged just over 13 points a game in March, shooting better than 53 percent from deep.

And this season, Mirotic is averaging 14.2 points on 47.9% shooting from the field during his favorite month. Since he re-entered the rotation back on March 13, Mirotic has been even better, averaging 17.1 points and 5.9 rebounds, shooting 51 percent from the field and 44 percent from 3-point land.

It appeared Mirotic's time with the Bulls was coming to an end when Fred Hoiberg held him out of three straight games earlier this month, including a spot on the inactive list in Boston on March 12. At that point, Mirotic talked openly of not knowing why he had been taken out of the rotation. Now, he might be the key to the Bulls' playoff hopes.

Mirotic has scored a season-high 28 points each in two of the last three games.

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Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said, "The big thing with Niko is he's playing with a lot of confidence right now. Anybody who's a shooter, they play with confidence, the game's a lot easier. He's not hesitating at all with his shots. He's taking good shots in the flow of the offense. When Jimmy and Rajon get in the paint, and Niko's spacing the floor, it's a great look and right now he's knocking them down."

So, right now all is good for the 26-year-old native of Montenegro. But it's hard to look past the inconsistency that's marked his NBA career. Mirotic is averaging 10.7 points and 5.2 rebounds per game in his three NBA seasons, shooting  41 percent from the field and 35 percent from deep. Not exactly the numbers Bulls' fans expected from the guy considered to be one of the best prospects in Europe when he was drafted in 2011. 

Now, as Mirotic gets ready to head into restricted free agency this summer, the Bulls are faced with a difficult decision. Are they willing to pay more than $10 million a year for a player who's been so inconsistent in the NBA? Or, do they let Mirotic walk and risk the possibility the light will suddenly come on for a 6-foot-10 stretch forward that every team in the league could utilize?

The Bulls have 2015 first-round pick Bobby Portis under contract for next season, and Paul Zipser and Joffrey Lauvergne also could be in the mix for playing time at the power forward spot. And, there's always the chance the Bulls could get in the bidding for big name free agents Blake Griffin and Paul Millsap.

But after trading Doug McDermott at the deadline, the Bulls are painfully short on 3-point shooting threats, and that might lead the front office to decide they'll need to overpay to keep Mirotic around.

It's just one of the tough decisions the Bulls front office faces in what promises to be a fascinating off-season.

AROUND THE ASSOCIATION

It's been another tough season in Phoenix. Despite adding a number of lottery picks in recent years, the Suns currently own the third-worst record in the league. Maybe that's why the players were celebrating with so much energy during a loss in Boston last Friday, watching second year guard Devin Booker explode for 70 points.

Booker becomes only the 6th NBA player to hit the 70-point plateau, joining Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant, David Thompson, David Robinson and Elgin Baylor. The baby-faced 20-year-old shooting guard connected on 21 of 40 shots from the field (only 4-11 from 3-point range), plus 24 of 26 from the free-throw line.

With the game hopelessly out of reach in the 4th quarter the Suns kept feeding the ball to Booker to see how high he could push his point total. It might not have pleased basketball purists, but it sure was fun for the Suns' players during their 51st loss of the year.

Phoenix added a pair of young big men in last year's draft, Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender, and they have a deep backcourt with Booker, Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight. So, is there a chance they could enter the bidding for Bulls' star Jimmy Butler this summer?

Would a top-3 pick and Bledsoe be enough for Butler? Or would the Bulls prefer a couple of the Suns' young frontcourt players, Bender, Alex Len or T.J. Warren to go along with the pick?

With seven or eight elite prospects at the top of this year's draft, the Bulls will have some options if they decide to go the total rebuild route.

If the Bulls do go shopping for a Butler deal, don't count on Boston still being interested this summer. In case you haven't noticed, the Celtics moved ahead of Cleveland for the No. 1 seed in the East earlier this week, and Danny Ainge might decide he can build a championship team without making a major trade.

The Celtics already have two All-Star caliber players on the roster in Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford, and if the pick they have coming from Brooklyn remains in the top 3, Ainge will be able to add an elite young player like Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball or Josh Jackson. After holding on to those Brooklyn picks for so long in the trade that sent Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Nets, it's hard to imagine Ainge changing direction now.

Plus, the Celtics also will have enough salary cap room to go after a top free agent, and they've long been linked to Jazz star Gordon Hayward, who played for Brad Stevens at Butler. It's possible the Celtics could come back next season with a lineup of Thomas and Fultz/Ball in the backcourt, with Horford, Hayward and Jae Crowder up front. Maybe not the star power to match Cleveland, but certainly a team that could contend in the East for a number of years to come.

Former Bulls' All-Star Joakim Noah met with the New York media to discuss his 20 game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance contained in an over the counter supplement he was taking. 

"I made a mistake. It was a tough year for me, for this team," Noah told reporters after returning to practice Tuesday. "... I let a lot of people down. It was a mistake. And I gotta learn from it and bounce back. This is a tough moment and I'm going to learn from it."

Noah said he used the supplement to try to help him bounce back from a hamstring injury he suffered in early February. The former NBA Defensive Player of the Year then had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on February 27 to remove loose fragments.

The Knicks are hoping he can get medical clearance to serve part of the 20-game suspension this season, with the remaining time served at the start of the 2017-18 season. Noah still has three more years left on the four-year, $72 million contract he signed with Phil Jackson's Knicks last summer.

Kevin Durant continues to work his way back from the sprained knee he suffered on February 28th in Washington. The Warriors released a statement on Wednesday saying Durant has made very good progress in his rehab and will be re-evaluated in 7-10 days. The hope is to have Durant play a few regular season games over the final week to get him ready for the playoffs.

Durant has been traveling with the team, going through pre-game workouts monitored by the medical and training staff. The plan is to increase his level of movement over the next few days to see how the knee responds.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Even though the Bulls haven't won back-to-back games since February 24 and 25, the players continue to remain confident about their playoff chances.

This from Mirotic following practice on Wednesday, "We have to depend on just ourselves and pray basically. Hopefully we can be there...... I think we deserve it. The attitude of the team is great right now. We're sticking together even after that tough loss against Philly, we bounce back against Milwaukee. So, right now, we've got another chance."

The Bulls probably need to go 5-3 over the final eight games to make the postseason. After a season of ups and downs, it's anyone's guess if they'll be able to put together a stretch of solid basketball during the final two weeks.