Archive for Thursday, July 1, 2004

Just a rough stretch for Baldwin

July 1, 2004

It's true, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood were in Baldwin City Friday. It's been quite the buzz for Baldwin.

Yes, the Signal was made aware of the appearance -- after the fact, I'm afraid. The country and western duo's stop in Baldwin has been the subject for constant talk.

But, no, we didn't do a story. Brooks and Yearwood were here to attend the funeral of Annabelle Fundis Friday at Ives Chapel. In talking with Fundis' daughters, Gail Guenther and Gretchen Brumm, they preferred that there not be a story as to not take anything away from their mother's funeral.

We certainly understand and respect their wishes.

In talking with the sisters, I understood their concerns. When Brumm and I talked Wednesday morning, it was more of the same. She thought a mention in the column would be fine. So, here we go.

There's a whole new "generation" of Baldwin residents that don't know about their brother, Garth Fundis. They realize that, so thought it would be all right to explain why Brooks and Yearwood were here.

Garth Fundis graduated from the University of Kansas many, many years ago and headed to Nashville. After playing in bands, he moved into record producing, which is what he's best known for. He also "discovered" Yearwood and, as they say, the rest is history.

That includes the brief stay in Baldwin that's caused a big stir.

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  • Of course, the stop by the country and western greats has spurred many a comment. What's fact and what's fiction is not for me to decide.

At last count, I had three different reports about who sat next to Brooks. I don't know which is true and it doesn't really matter.

But, it's a good indication of what's lovingly called "the Baldwin rumor mill." It has a life of its own. As one of its countless victims, I can attest to its abilities to distort the truth, as well as just flat make up things.

I've seen too many people injured by it over the years, but, really, there's nothing that can be done about it. The rumor mill will live on. It has been around forever and won't be going anywhere soon.

But, be careful of what you believe from it.

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  • Another part of this whole thing is Baldwin's long string of bad news. It started back in September when 18-year-old Cliff Sudja was killed in a car wreck.

From there, it's been one after another tragedy, including the most recent involving 13-year-old Krystal Bateson dying from still unknown causes. Today's Signal is another example. We have 60 inches of obituaries. That's two to three times more than usual.

All of us have had this heaviness on our minds as a result. I know it's gotten to me and I've had too many comments about the stories I've written, especially recently. They've been tear-jerkers, I know. I would apologize for that, but it's -- unfortunately -- been the story that has to be told.

It's certainly not something I enjoy, but it has to be done. I always respect and try to comfort those who are grieving. This is just another good example.

Once again, here's to better times ahead. We're overdue.

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