Archive for Thursday, December 16, 2004

Catching up on a few loose ends

December 16, 2004

Truth be told, there just hasn't been enough time for a column here recently. As most of you know by now, Kristen Dymacek is now referred to as "former staff writer" and is the newest member of Baldwin City's finest, the police department.

What does that mean for me? Well, I like to call it flying solo. When your editorial staff of two is cut in half, all duties pretty much fall into one lap. Yes, that would be mine. All stories, photos, layout, etc., etc. have been in my hands the last two weeks. Scary, isn't it?

I've done it before for numerous vacations for reporters over the years and I did a three-month stint of it several years ago when Valerie Wolf left and I waited patiently for Kristen to graduate from K-State.

But, I've found I'm too old for that. These two weeks have just about killed me. If it weren't for Karen Wooge, Signal office manager, it couldn't happen. While I say I've been flying solo, she makes sure the plane stays in the air and jumps full force into anything she can help with. That's plenty.

Karen has become adept at PhotoShop in addition to her many contributions with writing Baldwin briefs, obituaries and other such items. She is also a tenacious copy editor. I thank my lucky stars for that -- and, mostly, her in general -- every day. It couldn't be done without her.

She's like me, though, and knows this pace can't last for long. She went through the three-month solo period with me last time. She's also looking as forward to Kristen's replacement as I am.

That's Jimmie Gillispie, a Baldwin High School graduate who will graduate from Baker University Sunday. Jimmie did an internship for us last winter and showed he has the writing ability to make a go of this business. He spent most of his days with the Baker Orange writing sports and he'll be taking over those duties from me when he starts Monday. He'll also be covering the Baldwin schools -- including school board -- and Baker University, among other duties.

We're anxious for him to start and look forward to teaching him a thing or two about newspapers learned over years -- nope, make that decades, I'm afraid -- in the business.

I'll be turning my attention to city council and police, as well as the host of other news items that occur. I'm looking forward to the change and, mostly, to not flying solo anymore.

As for the police, that's another loose end. Police Chief Mike McKenna and I have tried on numerous occasions lately to sit long enough to do an update on his association with the famed Wichita BTK case. Problem is, we're both busy and the case changes every day.

Wednesday was a good example. We were set to talk again, only to have a new lead surface. When we talked he said he had as many questions as answers regarding it, so we'll try again next week.

This time it's a promise. We won't be just looking at the case itself, but the amazing media frenzy around it. McKenna has been interviewed by countless news organizations and there was a film crew from England here this weekend.

No more soloing for me. It's time for BTK.

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