Wednesday, May 31, 2006
The anonymous caller said her friend was the one who phoned 911 after the girl escaped her box-cutter-wielding abductor and ran to the friend's house.
Some of the chronology described to me did not quite ring true. For example, how could a pre-teen girl, "kicked" into a motor vehicle, escape abductor(s) holding box cutter(s)?
The caller was polite, but she wondered why we weren't on the ball about this major incident. Some e-mails along those lines -- some less polite -- reached our newsroom.
Long story short: There was no incident (except for the excitement of a bunch of police cars rushing to the scene and officers interviewing neighbors). The alleged victim had made it all up.
Unfortunately, 24 hours later, the rumor mill was still in full gear. Had the police issued a statement that the abduction report was "unfounded," many concerned people could have had rested easier.
We'll have a story about the situation in Thursday morning's edition. But for many worried citizens, it will be too little too late.
Monday, May 29, 2006
We drove by our old house and did a brief walking tour of the neighborhood. Surprisingly, a next-door neighbor is still next door -- a reality that makes us glad we did not stay any longer than we did. (We're not fans of loud motorcycles. Sorry.)
Winona, in southeastern Minnesota, is squeezed between the Mississippi River (top area of photo) and Lake Winona (foreground), which was formed when the Mississipi changed course who knows how many centuries or millennia ago.
The city is runner- and biker-friendly. It has asphalt trails around each of the bodies of water that make up Lake Winona. and we enjoyed a run around the larger lake -- good for 3.5 miles. (If only we were running when we lived there!)
We especially wanted to stop in Winona to catch up with a former newspaper colleague, Jim Galewski (pictured). We hadn't seen each other in years -- I think it was 1988 -- but had kept in touch through our respective Christmas letters. It was a pleasure to stop by the house to see Jim and his wife, Anne. Jim is one of the most remarkable people I know. He always has been a positive, "heart of gold" guy -- and he remains so despite being dealt some tough breaks in life. He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the early 1990s, but continued to work at the Winona Daily News until he took disability retirement in 2003. Still, Jim works a part-time public relations job from his home, does wordworking and remains a volunteer for the Boy Scouts. He also writes a column for the Daily News. In visiting with Jim, I immediately found that he remains more concerned for other people; I dare say that most of us in his situation would have it the other way around.
Winona is embarking on a Martime Museum project. We told Jim about the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque, and suggested that he make the trip. It could be good column fodder, and perhaps enlightening to the people of Winona. We hope he takes us up on it.
Friday, May 26, 2006
jump to some of the situations I encounter, in my job as a
newspaper editor, where it is applicable. Humorist Dave Barry
(yes, that's him pictured) is credited with this gem:
"No matter what happens, someone will take it too seriously."
How true! I interact with many people who apparently have too much time to get riled up about this thing or another. Sure, everyone has his/her peeve or hot button, but some people seem to make it their full-time occupation.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
It was a "golden goal" situation: After 90 minutes of scoreless play, Hempstead ended the game with a goal 52 seconds into the final overtime period.
It an even, hard-played match on a gorgeous afternoon in Dubuque. It sounds cliche, I know, but it was "picture perfect" -- not only the weather but the spirit and intensity of the game.
Thus concludes my 10th season of officiating high school soccer in Iowa. (It would have been 11, but I took last season off so that I could watch my son play his final year of prep soccer.)
In discussing conditioning and the physical requirements of refereeing soccer, a sage official once observed, "I get a year older each season, but the players stay the same age."
My renewal forms to remain a certified official for the 2007 season are due in little more than a week. And I'll be a year older ...
Saturday, May 20, 2006
Though I was not on duty at 7 a.m., volunteers who were there said at least three dozen people were lined up outside the book sale site -- the former Hartig Drug store near the Town Clock -- waiting for the doors to open. Thousands of books flew out of the place. And it was steady during my 9 a.m. shift.
The sale continues Sunday afternoon -- if there are any books left.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Here's a quote, courtesy of the Freedom Forum calendar:
"When men differ in opinion, both sides ought equally to have the advantage of being heard by the publick; when truth and error have fair play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
What will be our topic? The First Amendment? National Security? Local politics? No, Tom invited me after seeing my column announcing that Lio would replace Garfield on the Telegraph Herald comics page. So, we'll talk about comics.
If you are close to your radio between 12:35 and 1 p.m. Thursday, tune in to KDTH -- 1370 AM.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
The Telegraph Herald turned 170 years old last week. We trace our lineage to the inaugural issue of the weekly DuBuque Visitor, first published May 11, 1836. Multiple mergers and acquisitions later, the Telegraph Herald remains in operation publishing seven mornings a week, operating a Web site and producing several ancillary publications. The Telegraph Herald was created by the merger of the Dubuque Telegraph and (you guessed it) the Dubuque Herald in 1901.
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Route 66 does not officially exist anymore. The route number was retired. It gave way to the interstate system, with its entrance and exit ramps and bypasses. Much safer. Much faster. But less personality.
Friday found me driving to St. Louis to retrieve our youngest (and his ample belongings) after his first year of college. Southbound on I-55, my "low fuel" gauge told me to exit. I did so at Divernon, where I saw a "Historic Route 66" directional sign. After filling up (more than $40!), I decided to drive a stretch of the same pavement I used to ride as a kid. (The road has been declassified to a county road.) I drove parallel to I-55 a distance of eight miles to Farmersville.
I must have picked the least interesting stretch of the old highway. Just farms and a few crossroads. No kicks on Route 66 this trip.
Sometime, when I have to make another St. Louis trip, I'll carve out extra time and explore other stretches of the old Route 66. They have to be more intriguing!
Monday, May 08, 2006
A member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Faber grew up in his native Cascade and Dubuque. He pitched 20 years for the Chicago White Sox. When the Sox won the 1917 World Series, Faber was the winning pitcher in three of Chicago's four victories.
The guild meeting will 6:30-9 p.m. Wednesday, May 10, at Isabella's, 1375 Locust St. (downstairs in the Ryan House). The public is welcome.
Sunday, May 07, 2006
Recently, while doing research for another project, I looked through back issues of the Telegraph Herald from July 1954. I noted the comics lineup, then researched the longevity of the comic itself. My source was Don Markstein's Toonopedia.
There are some "classics" on this list, certainly, but there are others that, as the dates indicate, enjoyed a limited lifespan.
Here are the TH comics from a half-century ago. The dates in parentheses indicate when the comic was in syndication, not necessarily the period that the TH carried the particular strip.
Twin Earths (1952-63)
Bringing Up Father (1913-2000)
Red Ryder (1938-64)
Nancy (pictured) (1933-present)
Vic Flint (1946-56 daily; Sundays until 1965)
Boots and Her Buddies (1924-1960; Sundays until 1969)
Wash Tubbs (officially known as Captain Easy) (1924-1988)
Steve Canyon (1947-88)
Freckles and His Friends (1915-71)
Out Our Way (1922-77)
Our Boarding House (1921-81)
Li'l Abner (1934-77)
Thursday, May 04, 2006
This is not one of them.
My wife, who loves morels, has hunted mushrooms for years -- almost exclusively on her parents' farm in western Illinois. She was thrilled when we received an invitation to hunt in this area.Yours truly, a suburbanite who has hunted approximately twice, accompanied her late Wednesday afternoon.
In deference to the landowner, I will not divulge the site. However, it is a beautiful location with has a history of being prime territory for morels.
That was not the case for us. During our abbreviated hunt -- we had to get back to town for other commitments -- we found about seven morels. They were all in one general area.
I'm sure that were roughly several million morels out there, just hiding from us -- and probably laughing at us. Perhaps if we stayed longer, we would have found them all.
Still, we harvested enough for a delicious morels-and-eggs breakfast. And that made the hunt worthwhile.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
I greeted him in the lobby and started to escort him to the conference room. "I have a quiz for you," the governor said as we hiked the stairs. "What do the Iowa Cubs ballpark and your building have in common?"
Let's think quickly here, Brian.
Both are sites where lots of errors are committed? That can't be it. Hits? No.
I knew that both have newspaper affiliations. Michael Gartner, the primary owner of the Iowa Cubs, is a former journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner. But what does that have to do with the ballpark in Des Moines, Principal Park?
Before we reached the first landing, I had the answer, thanks to my attendance at an Iowa Cubs game a couple of seasons ago.
"The ballpark and our lobby both display The First Amendment," I replied. The governor did not say how absolutely impressed he was that I had the answer, but I'm certain that he was thinking that.
While it is not that unusual for a newspaper to display The First Amendment in its lobby, the same cannot be said for a ballpark. I wonder what the umpires think about that.
And I wonder if I can go back and write off my expenses for the ball game.