I’m not sure - to be honest - if I’m getting better at this job or if there’s more going on. To make a long story short (which is kinda’ my job) it’s getting harder and harder to fit everything into the paper in a given week.
Case in point: This week’s story on the SWAT team funding vote in the Quorum Court is a long-ish news story. Oh, it’s not War and Peace or anything like that. But there’s issues, and issues which surround the issues, and people which adhere to issues, have opinions on issues, reactions to issues, and here we are: A long-ish story on funding for a SWAT team.
The point being it’s not the length of the story as much as it’s (kind of a) big story. It has a lot of points within it which deserve to be reported upon. And the real point, the ultimate point, being it would not have had all those points a year ago. It’s just that in digging in here, in getting the feel for the county beat, you find more ways in which things lead to other things.
(It’s kind of my secret weapon that I’m not from around here. People have to explain things to me, explain why things are the way they are.)
So a single Quorum Court vote becomes a stand-alone story. And let’s be clear (which, again, is kinda’ my job): Other stuff happened, other things were voted upon, other decisions were made at that one meeting. But in telling the story of the vote, well, this isn’t a magazine: Got to wrap it up, get on to other things.
Thinking, and it depends, of course, on what happens in the meantime, of a re-cap of other issues going into next week. You still haven’t heard about the day-to-day in city council meetings this month, for example.
But then it’s a busy time. The High School Graduation circuit ended for the year with the Clinton graduation. I won’t bother to wax melancholic about that event, I did that last week (plus if you wax your melancholic too much the paint starts to fade). But it, in its own way, marks the start of summer, which is good, what with Memorial Day showing up about the same time the heat starts punching hard on 90s door.
And in busy, we got tip in about the body found just off Highway 16 as a last minute thing. We got what info we could and reported to you.
And let’s be clear: We have friends in other towns, and for that matter we have reported in other towns, but here in Van Buren County you can call whoever you think has the answer and they’ll not only answer the phone, but tell you what they can tell you. Same here: Call the sheriff, find out what’s going on and what they can tell you, type it up and put it in the paper.
You would be amazed how hard it is to do that in other places. Van Buren County? No problem. Heck y’all, I’ve shown up in other departments outside of this county, me with a ponytail and beard and all, looking for information and you’d of thought I was carrying a disease. Not here. You ask, they answer, they tell you what they’re able to tell you, all nice and clean.
I consider it a quality of the area, a reflection of this being a forthright kind of county full of forthright kind of people.
Anyway, y’all have a good Memorial Day. I’m going to take a minute, or two, or more, and recall those in my own life who’ve been lost in service, and then some more time to think about all those whose names I’ll never know, but who’ve given, given all they could. It’s a good day to recall the people which surround the events.