Category Archives: Breaking News

Newspaper Staff Formed After Dream Assignment

            Organize a newsroom and be prepared to begin producing a daily on-line newspaper in Eugene, Ore., by March 1, was the assignment that I received during a dream this morning.

            Staff members will be expected to work a four-day week, will be paid top guild wages, will receive two months of paid vacation and sick leave annually and will be covered for medical and dental expenses.

            No retirement benefits, however, because when you sign up you sign on for life.

            I immediately began shuffling through names of former Register-Guard staff members I worked with on the Eugene daily newspaper and who may still be alive:

            First, I chose Jacqui Banasynski as my editor. Although Jacqui has only worked for newspapers like The Seattle Times, picked up a Pulitzer Prize and taught journalism at the University of Missouri, she is obviously qualified to handle the editor’s job despite a bum knee and a penchant for communicating with journalists worldwide.

            I was going to invite her sidekick Don Nelson to handle county correspondence for our new paper in Eugene but realized that he’s holed up editing and publishing a weekly newspaper in Methow, Washington.

            The editorial staff selection was a no-brainer: Hire the best in the business: Jackman Wilson, Paul Neville and Don Robinson.

            If  Barrie Hartman declines our offer to return from Colorado to serve as our managing editor, then I’ll check with Dave Baker, who may prefer to serve as our public relations officer.

            Lloyd Paseman, who was city editor of  The Register-Guard for a zillion years, certainly knows how to handle a staff of reporters but may prefer to be the movie reviewer.

            Ron Bellamy tops my list of picks for sports editor. I am concerned, however, because he may spend most of his time golfing. I would hope that he could persuade Mike Stahlberg to return to Eugene from Hawaii and to serve as our fish and game columnist.

            Chris Frisella will serve as copy chief. Jeff Wright, Dave Emery and Ross Carletta may be available although Emery tends to throw too many commas in the hell box and Carletta tends to spend too much time fly-fishing.

            Tom Penix gets the nod for the designer’s position.

            Lisa Strycker, who is the fastest typist in the world, will serve as our research and development director.

            Bob Keefer, who creates magic with words and pictures, may be willing to leave his Creswell farm long enough to serve as our environmental editor.

            Cathy Henkle, who spent some time with The Seattle Times, may be willing to serve as the photo editor if she doesn’t spend all her time photographing sunsets.

            Carolyn Kortge, one of our all-time most outstanding lifestyle writers, will serve as editor of that department.

            Fred Crafts gets the nod as our arts and entertainment editor. He tends, however, to live in the past by producing a radio show.

            Steve Smith, an itinerant journalist, may be willing to leave his university teaching job long enough to serve as our ombudsman.

            We’re going to hire two of the best columnists in the business and turn them loose to roam the world in search of stories: Karen McCowan and Bob Welch.

            We’ll cover the region, as The Register-Guard once did, with bureaus headed by seasoned journalists: Larry Bacon, Oregon Coast; Doug Bates, Oakridge; Mike Thoele, Junction City: and John Thompson, Cottage Grove.

            Our reporting staff will include:

            Diane Dietz, investigative reporter

            Ann Baker Mack, higher education

            Don Bishoff, local government

            Randi Bjornstad, general assignment

            I probably have overlooked potential candidates for staff positions. Keep in mind, however, that I’m pushing 90, and I still live in the land of typewriters, carbon paper and paste pots.

            Keep in mind, too, that I dream a lot.


The story was too good to pass up.

Granted, I no longer am a newspaper reporter, but a story is a story.

So, I volunteered to interview and to write a story about the impending birthday Man at computerof a woman who resides at the retirement home where my wife and I recently moved.

It was of no consequence that the audience would only be a hundred or so residents of Terpening Terrace in north Eugene rather than thousands of subscribers to newspapers where I once worked as a journalist.

After all, a story is worth telling, especially one about a woman who will celebrate her 102nd birthday shortly after I finish writing this blog.

It required patiently interviewing a person who couldn’t recall many details about her early life in a rural western Oregon community. I also talked to members of her family and friends. Dates and places needed checking, and I shouted with glee when I located her name on a 1938 commencement document thanks to the Internet. Continue reading YOU CAN’T PASS UP A STORY EVEN DURING RETIREMENT



We’re moving.

Moving up, that is.

To the third floor of a retirement home.

For the elderly.

Lou and I hardly qualify.

Because we’ll only be 89 this spring.

Someone said that’s moving up.

Wouldn’t be surprised if I could remember…

Meanwhile,  we’ve been cleaning up.

A house we’ve occupied for 40 years.

Now is the time to downsize.

Take half of what you plan, they say.

They are people who moved up

And no longer cook meals

But meet three times daily

In the dining room.

So much to change

Address, telephone number…*

The list goes on and on,

But it’s time to halt this solemn chant

As Lou and I move up.

Two stories nearer

Our final resting place.


* 50 Ruby Ave., No. 327, Eugene, OR 97404

Phone: 541-607-2409


dishwasher photo

A doctor sewed me up this morning.

I wish I could brag that I was injured while driving a race car that smashed into a wall or while rescuing someone who was drowning in the McKenzie River.

Unfortunately, I ran into the dishwasher door that was open in our kitchen Friday morning, and I began bleeding “like a stuck hog,” as we used to say down on the farm in the Ozark Hills during butchering season.

I had been dodging that dishwasher door for more than three decades, but it got me as I began preparing a gourmet breakfast. After impact, I kicked off my left shoe before it filled with blood. Yanked up my pant leg and stopped the flow of blood with the help of a dozen paper towels.

Blood leaked out of a dozen or more bandages during the next 24 hours. This morning I decided it was time to visit the doctor.

I was quite pleased with the repair of the three-inch-long wound on my shin. The doctor deadened the area before taking out his sewing kit and crafting five beautiful stitches.

“Return in seven to 10 days and have the stitches removed,” he instructed. Ah, I thought, now I have an excuse and can skip my daily physical workouts. I made the mistake of asking.

“No problem,” he replied. “You should be able to walk, run, whatever.”

Meanwhile, no one wanted to see the bandaged leg when I told the story as dramatically as possible. No one offered to buy me lunch or a cup of coffee to advise me how I should deal with the inconvenience of an injured shin. No one mentioned the mental distress that I might experience as a result of this misfortune. No one seemed to care that I would be unavailable to suit up for the Duck football game with Stanford.

All of which proves that scars don’t get a person “much sympathy” when you bump into a dishwasher in today’s world.


I woke up still not dead again today

The internet said I had passed away

If I died I wasn’t dead to stay

And I woke up still not dead again today

Willie Nelson decided to cash in on several erroneous reports of late that he has 220px-Willie_Nelson_at_Farm_Aid_2009_-_Croppedshuffled off this mortal coil. He wrote a song that turns out to be a hit, one that refutes the “fake news” reports of his death.

Frankly, I don’t know what concerns Willie about the topic. After all he’s four years younger than I am, and I plan to stick around for at least another decade.

I do, however, check the obituaries daily in the local newspaper just in case I have missed my passing.

I am always surprised at how young so many of the featured people are who have walked into the sunset, gone to meet their maker, or as we say in the news biz, died.

In some respects, I’m envious of Willie who has taken risks that might be classified as “death defying.” However, he always sings and plays his way out of tight places, reinvents himself, writes another song and plays another concert. Continue reading THE RUMOR IS FAKE NEWS: WILLIE’S ‘STILL NOT DEAD’


The nation faces one of its greatest challenges in selecting a president after the Electoral College vote ended in a tie on Tuesday, November 8.

The chore of selecting a president fell to the House of Representatives, which failed to endorse Donald Trump, the Republican presidential

And the Senate toyed with selecting Hillary Clinton as the nation’s vice-president before offering the job to Barack Obama, who declined, saying he plans to concentrate on refining his golf game.

Meanwhile, the NRA equipped members of the Supreme Court with automatic rifles in preparation for what many experts say will be one of the court’s most challenging sessions defending the Second Amendment.

A prominent New York newspaper published a front-page investigative story about the rumor that Trump had planned to remain in Trump Tower during his presidency because the White House was too small to accommodate his portraits and his tax statements.

“You can’t make America great again by living in that dump,” a Trump supporter wrote on Twitter. Continue reading ELECTION ENDS IN TIE; PRESIDENCY IN LIMBO