July 28, 2004

Front page news

Tuesday is a busy day at the paper. It is the day that we finish writing and actually layout our pages. Yesterday I felt a little behind on sports articles when the tones sounded for a structure fire.

When the first fire units arrived on the scene (in the next town), they reported fire completely throughout a poultry house. At that point, I checked with my editor and he said to go. As I hit the road, the chief called for water tankers from our town and another town.

I got to the scene before two or three of the six fire rigs. The firefighters all know me, so I had unhindered access for photos. I got more than 100 frames before everything died down.

Since the fire was so current, my editor had me write up a short article to go with one of the strong images I came back with. It made the front page--the first fire to make our front page in months. It wouldn't have made the front page if it weren't for the strong visual.

Poultry barns do burn rather often. They are long, built with wood frames and nothing keeps fire from racing through them. It's a big blow to the farmer, too. This did upwards of $200,000 of damage. 22,000 two-week-old chickens perished, but they belong to the poultry company, not the farmer.

I would post a link to the story and the photo, but they're not up on our website yet.

FWIW, the firefighter in the photo on the far right up above is from BJ. He was on Public Safety while he was there. His name is Michael Moore (no relation to Darla, though). He married a girl whose name escapes me. She was on lawn crew and she worked at BJUP in editorial, I think. He's a firefighter for the town of Shenandoah now. We ran into them when we were first visiting churches, but this was the first emergency scene we've "worked" together.

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July 23, 2004

If only...

... I could write a feature like these two. Both of these articles are about the same ballpark/team, which is just over the mountain from me. It's in the town in which my grandmother lives. I'm over there often enough--everyone makes up reasons to see a game there because the park is so nice.

More than rooting for the home team
Valley's diamond is a real gem

I'd love to be able to write features like these two. It's a skill I don't quite have...but the topic and treatment is for a different market than mine.

When you read the pieces, you'll get a feel for the love of the baseball and the history of the park. But you won't find anything about my Dad and my uncle and their scorekeeping at the park when they were growing up.

(Sorry, I don't have any pictures of the park to post.)

NOTE: When I test the links in the post, now I'm being told I have to register with the sites. So, if you want to try a different way, go to news.google.com and search "Mo Weber" (3rd result) and "valley diamond, gem" (1st result). That's at least what they were when I tried it.

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July 22, 2004


My first blogiversary came and went yesterday with nary a mention from me. Two weeks ago, I fully intended to note the occasion with a special post, but time got away from me. Oh well, a day late. Time flies.

I've enjoyed blogging and seeing an increase over the past year in blogging by people to whom I have at least some connection.

May the posts keep coming!

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July 21, 2004

Total loss


I rolled out of bed at 4:30 this morning for a fully-involved house fire in a town down the road. I had actually slept through the initial tones for the FD, but I woke up when our FD was called to assist several minutes later.

Our FD had already sent an engine to cover the other department's fire station, but I was on the road before the tanker responded to the scene from our station. I let them pass me on the way in.

The fire, which was up a narrow gravel road in a mountain hollow, destroyed a home. Thankfully all the occupants were safe. I parked at the head of the road on the shoulder so that I wouldn't cause congestion on the road. Made me glad to have a flashlight for the long, dark hike in.

In an interesting side note, a man from our church who works for the power company was there too, making sure there were not any live wires down at the fire scene. It was nice to chat with him. If I hadn't felt a little under the weather, we might have gone to breakfast afterward.

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July 17, 2004

Mirror image?


A deer wandered through our neighbor's campsite this morning during breakfast (his, ours, & theirs). I snapped a coupla shots for fun, and I thought this one was funny.

Kind of a mirror image--headless man and headless deer.

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The life


We were able to enjoy a one-night camping trip Friday. We went to Shenandoah National Park, which we can see from our apartment. (We did, however, drive more than an hour to get to the campground.)

The air up on the mountain was so cool and quiet. Made for a refreshing getaway.

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July 12, 2004

Water & fire


Here's an image made with my new work lens--gets me up close and personal. This firefighter is on the porch roof, having just caught a bottle of water that was thrown to him. The fire caused $20K in damage and took 20 minutes to control. Bottles of water being thrown around was about as much action as I saw.

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July 11, 2004

Ahh, America

Ingenuity, humor, entrepreneurism, and freedom are four important characteristics of Americans. I've chuckled over this story all weekend, and it has all four characteristics.

It's widely known that John Kerry is married to Teresa Heinz-Kerry, heiress to the Heinz ketchup empire. So now, there's "W ketchup" for those who can't bring themselves to support the Heinz fortune.

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Quarter century

I joined my wife in the quarter-century club with my 25th birthday on Thursday. We had a nice day, with a celebratory dinner with my 95-year-old grandmother. The point was made that she has known me for more than a quarter of her life. But I had her beat; I've known her 100 percent of my life!

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I finally got my new lens at work this past Wednesday. I'm still learning it, but it's an impressive piece of glass. The magnification factor of digital SLR cameras means the lens is equivalent to a 600mm lens on a camera shooting 35mm film.

The lens's first news event was a minor house fire. There wasn't much action by the time I arrived after driving about 10 miles to the scene, but I was able to get some nice photos of the overhauling. Maybe I'll post a shot or two. I've also shot a few softball/baseball games, but I have yet to download those images.

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July 05, 2004

Knee high

Farmers have a saying that corn should be "knee high by the fourth of July." Well, this summer, the corn in our area is going like gangbusters. Most of it's over six feet tall already, and some stalks already have their silky tassels showing. Needless to say, we've had rain this year.

And to think, we were living in Brooklyn a year ago...

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July 04, 2004

Aunt and Uncle


We became an aunt and uncle this morning at 9:34. The Lord gave Michael and Deanna a healthy daughter, Charlotte Esther, after a few hours of labor. Charlotte was 6 pounds, 14 ounces at 19.5 inches long.

We had been in Greenville for a quick weekend trip and we were able to go to Columbia this morning to see everyone before heading home. (We had Friday off, not Monday.) I have a photo of Aunt Darla holding Charlotte that I might post at some later date.

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