January 4, 2018
Walking into the Lakeview Area News offices, about mid-year, meeting Jake and offering my services, seems like an eon ago. At that time, the knowledge that Lakeview existed was there, because a trip to assist the start of the new radio station happened about 25-years ago. As the author of the 69¢ Dollar, the request was to come explain and show how it’s done. As a promotions author and marketing “guru,” as some called me, meeting Lakeview at the time was delightful. My fascination for small towns caused a this-is-nice response while seeing what potentials other communities had accomplished could enhance Lakeview.
Years between brought opportunity in broadcast news, such as being the Chancellor Media reporter for the Texas Motor Speedway, court reporting and being a News Director for another network, took me back to observing society and reporting on what we, as a nation, are doing. Returning to Lakeview and Montcalm County was certainly not in my anticipated things to be doing, yet fate, or Divine intervention caused it to happen.
While co-managing Aurora Pond, a Retirement Community in Wyoming, the need to write another book turned into somewhat of an obsession, while leading a writers’ group there. Over 30-years of study in ancient languages, plus remote study of archeology in Israel and religious studies and other related subjects, became a weekly radio program in Oklahoma and Texas that ran for 80+ weeks. The pressure of study and being correct was strong. Not continuing the program in Michigan left a desire to get “the” book written for, at least, my son. Then, he died September 4, shifting the purpose to general distribution.
How does that relate to writing for the Lakeview Area News? Involvement in and knowing my community is a part of a full life. Writing about what happens here is the best way to know you, your successes, celebrations, decisions and even catastrophes. Covering news has brought about great friendships, made me think about issues in new and fresh ways, and hopefully benefit “my” community. An acute awareness that good and bad exists, truth and lies, successes and failures, pitfalls or disaster everywhere, allows for observances of what is great, what works best for a community. Decisions for which way an event goes is yours, the citizens. And while any reporter has some level of prejudice on any subject, the desire to “write down the middle” is strong, meaning your opinion is deeply respected.
This half-year, or so, showing up at events, taking photos and observing actions in and around Lakeview and the County, have caused a bonding with people and communities to be cherished. Also, being here has afforded time to write the book, which could not have happened had I stayed with Aurora Pond.
About the book; the Tamarack Writers Group has been a wonderful bunch to be associated with. A manuscript must be critiqued before submission, and this Lakeview Group has been so patient to listen and offer advice. The next step is editing, and I’m happy to report that the editor lives in Lakeview.
Still, each week means reaching into the communities in the area, writing about what you are doing and offering insight (sometimes) for processing. Not every contact is reported, nor are some things discovered that might otherwise be exposed. Discretion must always be included in every writing assignment.
After 28-years in broadcasting, primarily radio, marketing and interest in many subjects, you have me, Lakeview Area. In-depth stories are welcomed and if you see something your community needs to know about, call the office, and tell them you’re looking for Joe.
Thanks to Jake, Kelly and staff for their patience, because this is my first newspaper job. Here are a few of my favorite photos taken in 2017.