Newspapers connect us to our communities

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By Steve Key

The Sept. 8 edition of The Garrett Clipper reminds me of what makes newspapers special.

The variety of news concerning this DeKalb County community is amazing.

Like other HSPA-member newspapers, each Clipper is a snapshot of life in that spot of Indiana.

In a few minutes of reading, I found out that:

• The DeKalb County Community Foundation distributed 29 summer grants totaling $66,395, including $7,040 for GED classes for inmates of the county jail.

• Ten young adults were arrested at about 4 a.m. Sept. 4 when police checked out a loud party at a state-owned campground east of Mongo. I thought Mongo was just Alex Karras’ character in the Mel Brooks movie “Blazin’ Saddles.”

• The Garrett Common Council confirmed a

$3 million tax abatement for equipment for E-Collar Technology Inc. but only after questioning E-Collar sales manager Kim West­rick on the permanence of 175 jobs being moved to the Garrett facility from Korea.

• Reporter Nichole Hacha-Thomas wrote a feature story on the new 4-H youth educator, Margo Overholt, who grew up involved in 4-H programs in Glenmont, Ohio.

And that was just part of the front page. Elsewhere in the paper:

• I discovered from a public notice advertisement that the DeKalb County Council proposed budget calls for the collection of more than $10 million is taxes, $3 million more than the current levy.

I wonder if anyone attended the Sept. 13 and 14 public hearings with questions about the increase?

• Culligan took out a 2-column ad to tout a sale on water conditioner salt.

• The paper included a column submitted by state Rep. Phyllis Pond (R-New Haven) on state infrastructure issues.

The Clipper records the cycle of life as well.

In the obituaries section I learned that another World War II veteran has died. Robert “Bob” Vachon Jr. was a great-grandfather and a teacher up to his retirement in 1986 from Fort Wayne Community Schools.

Meanwhile, Alex John Wolfe was born. His parents are David Wolfe and Lynda Stoops-Wolfe of Auburn.

The Garrett High School girls volleyball team defeated Bluffton High School in an Allen County Athletic Conference match, led by Jordyn Knott’s 14 kills. I didn’t know Garrett’s knick-name was the Railroaders.

Also on the sports page in an eighth-page ad, Garrett State Bank named senior Todd Frickey the Athlete of the Week.

Frickey broke the Garrett High School record for rushing touchdowns with six in a game against the Barons of DeKalb High School.

He also set the career mark for touchdowns in that game.

Where else but The Gar­rett Clipper would I find the listing of area church events, the school lunch menu for the week, police and court news and marriage licenses granted?

Did I mention that the local American Legion post planned to have karaoke Friday night?

Newspapers aren’t going to die because the information they collect and present to their readers is too valuable.

In communities where newspapers have been closed, such as Jasonville, Bicknell and Montpelier, new publications sprang up to take their places.

After a few minutes of reading The Clipper, I feel a connection to Garrett.

I bet the Garrett Football Parents’ “Pigskin Patties” will be mighty tasty at the tailgate before the next home football game.

Steve Key is executive director and general counsel for HSPA.