Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Round and round we go

“Everything an Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the power of the world always works in circles, and everything tries to be round.”
__ Black Elk (Hehaka Sapa)

Certainly newspapering and telling stories is a circular process. Back in 2007, when I wrote (what I thought at the time) was probably my last column for a certain newspaper, I mentioned the basic truth that, in communities like these, a person never runs out of good stories to tell.
Having spent so many years with the same newspaper company, many of them in the Teller County and Monument areas, I have even acquired a few stories of my own.
I recall spending more than $700 one week to clear snow from the parking lot in Monument (when we were in the building that now houses Expectations Salon) after the October 97 blizzard.
Jeremy Bangs and I logged a lot of hours in those days addressing Tribunes by hand and prepping bags for the mail.
One of the funniest newspaper tales I have ever heard involved having to face the crazed meanness in the eyes of a publisher who had just figured out he only has flats for 34 pages of a 36-page paper when he arrived at the offsite printing facility. I guess that is what happens when rushed and, in haste, you throw completed flats in the back of the pickup where they can be sucked out a crack between the endgate and the topper latch on the way to the printer.
Not everyone knew of the secret escape hatch through the closet in the editor’s office (and out to the back door) in the stucco house on the corner. I never had an opportunity use it, but still found it comforting in case of an irate advertiser or an enraged reader.
I also recall watching out the front window of the Ute Pass Courier newspaper office in Woodland Park, as the police, including local city and county officers, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, FBI and federal marshals, arrested members of the Texas Seven in the Coachlight mobile home park directly to the east of us.
“No information at this time,” from emergency personnel, was the only explanation offered for the six or seven ambulances and various police cars lined up in our parking lot for a full twenty minutes before they could tell us what was going on.
It was another media circus, but perhaps more dangerous one to staff and the community, when the Hayman Fire burned out of control for three intense weeks in June of 2002. For members of our staff at the newspaper, the weeks of stress related to intense long-term sustained coverage of a big story was compounded by whether or not their house, or place of employment, or both might burn. And all their friends and neighbors were in a similar predicament.
But among the “big stories,” was always that small but important thread that needed to be pulled for goodness sake.
It is my intention this time, to give those threads the attention they require with an intense local focus that we all know they deserve.
Thank you for the opportunity to circle around. I hope to earn the title of you calling us “my newspaper” and look forward to telling many of your NEW, good stories, all over again.
After three years as advertising manager of the Colorado Press Service, the business arm of the statewide press association, I have decided to move closer to the local "Front," if you will. 
I am rejoining the battle in a familiar position, in Woodland Park and Monument, as the Editor and Publisher of the Pikes Peak Courier View and Tri-Lakes Tribune.