Archive for Wednesday, November 17, 1999

From the valley beneath Hubbel Hill

November 17, 1999

Youngest son, checking the dates on pennies the other night, called out and asked me what year I was born in. I told him. His response, "Wow I found something that is even older than Mom."

Now that I'm officially a "relic," at least in the eyes of my 12-year-old son, I gather that I must be in a good position, at least age-wise, to be a "sage old news editor" of this small but respected journal.

Speaking of respected journals, many of us remember Walt Neibarger, who served as publisher and editor of the Tonganoxie Mirror during the early years of this century.

Printing was different in those days with the hot type and heavy work. We look at our computers that help us put newspapers together today and we call that "technology." My word-bible, the American Heritage dictionary, defines technology as "the application of science, especially to industrial or commercial objectives."

If we looked at the overall picture, where individuals actually applied principles of science to print a newspaper, I would guess that Walt and his crew were much more technologically advanced than most of us who are journalists today ever will be.

But today's technology allows us at The Mirror to occupy a compact office building, to write our stories here or from computers in our homes and e-mail them to our office computers, to print color pictures that wouldn't have been possible even a decade ago, to send our pages to Lawrence on a computer zip disc, and to put an entire newspaper together without us (at least those of us in our office) getting a drop of ink on our hands.

It puts new meaning to Mark Twain's advice to "never argue with someone who buys ink by the barrel or paper by the ton."

Several readers have commented favorably about my remark last week that we should look into establishing a Neighborhood Watch program for Tonganoxie.

I'll be checking into that, and will see if we can set up an informational meeting for those who are interested.

Remember always, that this newspaper is here to represent ideas that are important to our community. The Mirror is not just a reflection of what has happened, it's also a place where we can study and work together on the things that need to be changed.

With all the growth coming down the track, we will most likely find many areas in which we need to work together. The "Have a Heart" group established to take care of stray animals is just one example of how citizens can work together in an organized and consistent fashion to get things done.

Check out our website, www.tonganoxiemirror.com, to see what readers are saying about different issues I find it fascinating to read their comments in the "Readers' forum" section. You may be interested, too.

In this column last week, I mentioned the murder of 14-year-old Camille Arfmann, the Oskaloosa teen whose body was found Monday, Nov. 8, hidden under debris in a ditch near Oskaloosa.

At first, her brother-in-law's brother, Thomas Bledsoe, 25, was held in connection with the death. On Nov. 15, charges of first-degree murder against Thomas Bledsoe were dismissed. On the same day, authorities charged Floyd Scott Bledsoe, 23, Afrmann's brother-in-law, with first-degree murder.

An interesting but no-less-tragic turn of events in our neighboring town. Chances are, people over there are asking themselves what they could have done to have prevented this death.

From our vantage point, we can only ask ourselves: What can we learn from this incident? How can we work together to help our community be and continue to be an even safer place to live?

And now, as this "almost-older-than-the-oldest-penny-in-the-stack" news editor and the rest of us at The Mirror continue with the work of getting this week's paper put together, may the thought of the betterment of our community's future be with us all.

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