Column: The newspaper gods are on my sideHere’s the thing about holiday weeks: there is usually far too much to do, in far too little time. Don’t get me wrong. I’m gearing up for a nice, long four-day weekend with family and a couple hundred of my closest Black Friday shopping friends, just like anybody else.
By: Michelle Leonard, The Farmington Independent
Here’s the thing about holiday weeks: there is usually far too much to do, in far too little time.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m gearing up for a nice, long four-day weekend with family and a couple hundred of my closest Black Friday shopping friends, just like anybody else. I’m going to eat far more than my stomach can handle, and then I’m going to lie around and groan for the next few hours. I’m going to decorate the Leonard Family Christmas Tree with my nieces and nephews, then teach my puppy how to leave the ornaments alone. All that is a given.
But all that relaxing comes with a price – we have to put our papers together in a shorter period of time. A shorter period of time, coupled with fewer planned events due to the holiday. That always makes things a little interesting.
But to tell you the truth, I’m really jazzed up about the things I got to write about in my oh-so short period of time this week. Sometimes, it seems like the newspaper gods are on your side.
Really. I have some fun stories this week.
I met Brandon and Jody Dion after the Patriotic Day celebration Nov. 3. A member of the FHS Men’s Choir, Brandon had a solo during the ceremony. He was hard to miss – he was the kid in full dress blue uniform. Of course, being nosey as I am, I caught up with him and his mom afterward. I asked him a little bit about his uniform. Turns out, he’s a member of the Civil Air Patrol. One thing led to another, and they came to our office for a visit last Tuesday. Neat interview, neat people, neat story. Love it.
On Tuesday, we got a call about Boeckman Middle School math teacher Kevin Waldbillig being named Teacher of the Year for School District 192. I’ve known Kevin for several years, though I was surprised, in sitting down with him, to find out just how many of his family members are also in the education profession. But listening to Kevin answer my questions, I understood all too well how he was selected as Teacher of the Year. The man has a passion about teaching, and if I had a kid in Farmington’s schools, I’d want them to have a guy like Kevin Waldbillig teaching him or her math.
On Wednesday, I had to figure out what I was doing for the rest of the week. I knew I had the Civil Air Patrol story, and Kevin Waldbillig’s story, but not much else – which is kind of a sinking feeling when you know you have less time than usual to pull together a paper.
But then, I got this wonderful email from ISD 192 communications director Jim Skelly. It was an invitation, to come “meet” a Presidential Turkey. Seriously. Who comes up with this stuff? Well, I did go up to North Trail on Thursday, and doggone, I did meet that Presidential Turkey.
A little later Wednesday, Jim also sent a press release about the school district’s food service receiving its Center for Excellence accolades. In a time when school lunches are coming under scrutiny, this CFE accreditation should go a long way to letting parents know their kids are getting a good school lunch, as well as knowing their kids are also learning a little something about nutrition and doing it in an earth-friendly way.
Last week was also the Give to the Max Day on GiveMN.org. Through my affiliation with the Minnesota Newspaper Museum at the state fair, I’ve got my own GiveMN.org site to collect donations for the museum. Once a year, GiveMN.org (for those unfamiliar, it’s an online donation site that has hundreds of nonprofits listed) has its big donation push, Give to the Max Day. Anyway, I checked the museum’s site a few times, then started to wonder what groups are out there from Farmington.
I wasn’t surprised to see Friends of the Dakota County Library, I wasn’t surprised that Dakota City Heritage Village was listed. But the listing for the National Milk Glass Collectors Association was something I hadn’t expected.
One phone call later, and I was chatting with Rhonda Rademacher of Castle Rock, who is the treasurer for this unusual group. And I was blown away by the number of pieces in her home, too.
All told, I think I’ve got a pretty good story list this week. It’s nice to be able to write some fun stuff, even a little unusual stuff, once in a while. I think it makes for good reading, and I hope it brings a smile to your faces. If you don’t get through all the good news at once, that’s okay. Take your time. We’ve got all weekend.
Happy Thanksgiving, Farmington!