Monthly Archives: May 2016

Of Wyoming, more classes and news photography …

When this letter to Ellen and Reid was written last week I was just plain exhausted. It shows in writing that is more uninventive than usual.

Push is coming to shove on newspapering. I love it dearly – I am completely, utterly and totally all in on it – but it can’t keep on like this. There are so many other competing interests and things to do. I just need to suck it up to deliver another brand of news.

May 10, 2016

Ellen/Reid: That was such good news about Kristin and Delsin. He strikes me as such a really good guy. Thanks for the suggestion to contact her, Ellen. She got right back to me. Another nice wedding at Plymouth, no doubt. That will be a good bash, that’s for sure.

Reid, we need to talk about Wyoming, stat. It looks right now that with the newspaper still in the picture, there won’t be time for a leisurely drive. I’ll fly out to Jackson, probably on that Thursday, July 21. I’ll get the tickets for you and Liz so make your plans right away. We should probably plan to arrive early in the day and we can drive down together to Pinedale to the Baymont Inn. Not entirely sure where Tom and Vince and Katie will fly in to. Salt Lake City most likely, then they can take the northern route up through Rock Springs. We’d fly out on Saturday, July 30. The Osprey I used last year would fit Liz just fine and I can take the Gregory. Both fly rods would make the trip, too. But let’s talk sooner than later about the plans.

I babysit this Saturday night for little Evelyn. My next door neighbor Mary Beth has some camera programmed into her iPad so I can sit on my couch and monitor the sleeping baby from the comfort of my couch. It’ll be fun. She’s a sweet little girl.

Signed on to teach several more classes at Central Piedmont Community College. Two on news writing and the other on writing letters. They twisted my arm about a blogging class which is okay but I did recommend another guy, Brett Bumeter, who is a real techie to teach a more advance blogging class while I’ll stick to teaching the introductory class. That will work out much better for the students since they would’ve of learned next to nothing from me on the advanced portion of blogs.

The newspaper thing is settling down into more of a routine but I’m still spending two or three times the number of hours that were originally intended. I end up writing about half the 24 pages since my writers are just coming up to speed. Lots of road miles from here to there just to provide basic news coverage and take photos for my writers who can’t get there.


Welcome to the wonderful world of newspaper photography. I spend a lot of time in Mint Hill on ‘spot’ news and shots like this to support the stories of my writers who can’t make it to town.

Tonight’s another long night of page layout. I’ll have to get up about 5 a.m. to proof the issue before it heads to the press. Mercifully, this edition Continue reading


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If it’s not one thing it’s another …

Ellen and Reid have been subjected to a lot of whining these days. It’s either about my ‘part time’ work or more laments about yet another keeper-less down and back fishing jaunt to the South Carolina coast. The mostly faux-complaints aside, both things have their pluses. I’ll just have to navigate through the process and keep the bitching to a minimum.

May 2, 2016

Ellen/Reid: I am sitting on the couch in an utter fog at 8:35 p.m.. I piecemealed together one of the two papers I edit and it took nearly the entire day. The technical process is coming together bit by bit  but there’s a nagging little bugger in the back of my mind that keeps yammering at me to put a stop to the editor job and just be a writer. The coup de gras was this past Saturday when I cruised through town to photograph a couple of things, then stopped three times more for ‘spot’ news and interviews. It was three hours of news-news-news. I love it, but my brain is not turning off. It just will not turn off nor slow down when it comes to news. There is a constant mental assessment of what is the next story, what are the questions, how should it be written. It’s hard to let go of it. It’s one of the few things, other than my golf group, where literally I am all in. But there’s a toll to be paid and that critical mass is being reached. It’s not the writing that is bothersome – the creative process is just so delightfully enervating – but it is the process of tracking stories and who-does-what that is wearing me to the nubs. I’m trying to work up the nerve to give up editing but the people who run the paper are so fun and so committed. Makes me feel like a slacker. I so don’t want to disappoint them. I don’t know why in the hell I opened up my fat mouth about the editing position. Eight to 12 hours a week to write would be glorious.

Reid, I hired Cap’n Tripp this Thursday to see if the tide, no pun intended, can be overcome in terms of the lack of fish. We talked today and he said they slaughtered them (although he’s like Tim; release as many as you can).


Miss Emma and I boated some black drum, but not enough in size or quantty. Still, a day on the water beats a day at the office.

So I’ll slowly get pumped up for the down-and-back trek. Like the news, it is just so terribly enervating. He asked what we should concentrate on and my response was fishing the grass and the flats although truth be told, I will go anywhere the fish are biting. It seems something of a waste to hire him for four hours, but since no one goes down with me it will be good to have someone to chat with, and learn from, even if it will be an expensive lesson.

I’ve procured copies of the will and will send those to you shortly. Nothing about the document has changed. It’s the same as before.

Had people over for redfish and sheepshead last Friday night, and it wasn’t as good as it could be. The best part was the Continue reading

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Aphids, Andrew Zimmern and news – a natural connection …

One would be hard pressed to figure out the connection between aphids and local news. There really isn’t any, but it makes for a good letter to the kids. I’m tardy in posting the April 18 letter but will hop on it later this week.

April 28, 2016

Ellen/Reid: As I polished off a dinner of arugula and romaine from the back yard container pot, I looked down to see crawly things at the bottom of the empty bowl. They were little green aphids – a lot of them, a few dozen – mired in the homemade vinaigrette. It meant that some number, I have no idea how many, were ingested. The lettuce got a watering about 20 minutes before it was picked and my assumption, which turned out to be faulty, was that this was enough cleansing. There was no gagging or anything like that. It was just a non-TV version of Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods. I thought if he could eat slugs or beetles from Asia, a few aphids wouldn’t hurt me. What the lettuce crop needs is a full-on attack by predatory Lady Bugs to decimate the aphid infestation.

Really having a lot of fun with the Mint Hill Times newspaper job. But it has evolved into nearly a full time proposition which is well beyond the 8 – 12 hours per week originally thought. It’s been 8 – 10 hours per day, with much of it in Mint Hill, about a 20 mile drive away, to drum up news and get to know the towns folk. I really enjoy it, but the hours are killing me. Tuesday started at 9 a.m. and didn’t end until


Even a scarecrow on sentry duty east of Mint Hill, North Carolina is fair game for ‘spot news.’ The problem is, my brain just doesn’t turn off when it comes to thinking about, pondering, or mulling over potential stories. I love the job, but …

1 a.m. Wednesday morning to help with page layout. Reid, I pitched in using InDesign even though I’d never laid hands on it before. I’ve been writing a lot, gladly so, and trying to assign a lot of stories. We are woefully short on local writers. I penned an editor’s column asking for writers to come out of the woodwork and since this week’s issue doesn’t hit the streets until this morning there’s no way of knowing who will answer Continue reading

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