Archived Story

Stories are all around us

Published 8:34pm Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I enjoyed the weather Sunday with a nice walk around Dowagiac. From a distance I saw a woman playing with her pet. As I got closer I saw a well-groomed squirrel eating cantaloupe out of the woman’s hand.
It seemed a little bizarre and I sure wish I had a camera with me. She told me that yes, indeed, Chip was her pet squirrel. Last year, it fell from the tree and she saved it and nursed it back to health. She had a dog crate that Chip used for shelter in the winter. I thought to myself that Chip and this woman might make a good story. I also thought it may be illegal for her to keep the squirrel in a dog crate.
Stories are all around us and, unless we stumble upon them or you let us know, they often are untold. We do our best to try to cover the events of your life and the news of your community in most of Cass and Berrien counties and beyond. Fortunately many people like you give us a call and say, “Did you hear about…” In the summer of 1973, I did an internship at the Trenton Times. I was surprised to learn that better than half of the news stories came from a phone call. Since we are a newspaper, there is a tendency for our readers to believe that we know everything that is going on in our communities. Not so.
While I only barely have time to write this column weekly I am always looking for a story when I’m out and about. I’ll bounce my ideas off of editors Katie Rohman and John Eby. I’m always pleased when I hear, “we’ve got that one.”
On Tuesday, sitting at the monthly Four Flags Chamber board meeting, a bunch of stories bubbled up. A discussion about ground pollution in Niles in relation to property sales came up.
According to Niles City Administrator Ric Huff, years ago a company housed near a residential area dumped many gallons of cyanide that has seeped into the ground and still has an impact today. There are property owners who prefer to hold on to vacant buildings and pay property tax rather than sell them and face the high cost to clean up the pollution.
At the same meeting Debra Johnson, the administrator for Lakeland Community Hospital, spoke of all of the exciting things happening, many have already been in the Star. They are well on their way to making all patient files electronic. There will be a service to patients called “My Charts” that will allow online access. I learned that visits to the emergency room are up. Construction of the new ER will be underway soon followed by renovation of the old ER.
I could go on if they would allow me more space. I’m already over my 300-word limit!
Let me finish by asking you to think about what may make a good story and contact us by phone or online. We appreciate your help in building better community newspapers.
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