In the Lehigh Valley News Group, every editor had to write a weekly column for their paper. Mine covered everyday life. Sometimes this meant deep topics and sometimes this meant home life.
My daughter had a Superman phase when she was two. We even bought her Superman underoos (the boy kind) that she wore as an outfit. She watched the old black and white TV show. She loved “Toupa-Man.”
One day my husband and I sought out his old plastic comic book action heroes and what happened after that… Well, this column brought tears to my eyes.
This story ran on the front page of The Bethlehem News in 2006 after Wegmans had made the Forbes list of the 100 best places to work. Again. They always end up on this list. As a fan of Wegmans, I thought I’d do a feature. In ran in all of the Lehigh Valley News Group papers. I wrote the story, took the photos and did the artistic lay out. (Really how artistic can you get with so many columns and rules. I tried.)
In recent days, I’ve noticed lists circulating the internet of why Wegmans is basically a Play Place for grown-ups. I’ve noticed that most of my friends do the bulk of their shopping at Wegmans. People meet at Wegmans. They get coffee at Wegmans. They drool at the cheese at Wegmans. So, why?
For me, it’s a combination of customer service and the goods they carry. When my daughter was two, I tripped and fell in the parking lot of the Wegmans pictured in this story. I’m a clutz. It happens. I got my kid and my groceries into the car. Turned on the car. My arm was killing me. I had fallen on my elbow. The air conditioner whooshed on. I started to black out. At that exact moment, my phone rang.
I couldn’t see. I rummaged through my purse with my hand. Found it. Somehow answered it. It was my friend, Gayle. I told her what had happened and that I thought I was passing out. She called Wegmans. I managed to get out of the car. That’s when a Wegmans “Helping Hands” cart attendant found me, and a manager right behind him. They brought me and my daughter and my groceries back into the store. My in-laws came to get us. They asked if I needed anything. I said no.
My daughter asked for ice cream, but no one heard her. If they had, the staff probably would have given some to her.
When we launched the Lehigh Valley News Group, the Lehigh Valley branch of Berks-Mont newspapers (a Journal Register entity), I served as managing editor for the five new newspapers and the one previous-existing, The Saucon News. In addition to managing editor duties, I served as editor of the largest of the new papers, The Bethlehem News. We headed into a territory that had been abandoned by my previous employer (Chronicle Newspapers, a division of The Morning Call, a Tribune Company newspaper). In addition to those Chronicle weeklies that had just closed, most of our proposed territories were also served by The Press weeklies, an entity that still continues today.
I attended the school board meetings of the Bethlehem Area School District. After more than five years of covering the Phillipsburg School District, the differences between the two boards fascinated me. Bethlehem was a larger school district, had more schools and more students. But let’s just say the people who sat on the two boards were also different. I’m sure everyone had their good intentions, but the interactions on the Bethlehem board were often tense.
I wrote this editorial after one board meeting where the disagreements between board members, and their unwillingness to move forward after a vote, scared not only me but also drained the color from the superintendent.
I have often played with the idea of writing a food/opinion column. I pitched the idea when the Saucon News was still a small local weekly, one that was later bought out and grouped with a series of five other new weeklies by Berks-Mont Newspapers/Journal Register company. That became the Lehigh Valley News Group and at its creation in 2006, I served as managing editor.
But this little opinion column predates all of that, and honestly I had forgotten about it until I recently dug through the crate of news clippings I have in my home office.
I tackle the question: should servers receive a real paycheck? This was at the time that the IRS was considering using a restaurant’s credit card receipts to determine an average amount that each server earned in tips and then use that as a basis for income tax liability.
Professional samples available on the web
(In progress. I will add to this post until complete)
My LinkedIn Profile:
Article from The Morning Call, archived through the Library of Congress and visible on the Open World Leadership Center web site (2003)
Visiting Russians Learn about American Libraries
More about libraries:
Meuser Library in Wilson sets out to prove it’s friendly (2007)
Phillipsburg to get first look at library addition this month (2003)
Morning Call sports feature:
Slate Belt basking in glory of two football teams (2001)
Morning Call municipal news articles about Phillipsburg, N.J.:
Phillipsburg group fails to get answers about reassessment (2003)
In Phillipsburg, a neighborhood awaits tax ruling (2003)
Phillipsburg PAL serves up invitation to fundraiser (2003)
Some Morning Call municipal news articles about West Easton, Pa.:
$40,000 fine considered for missed trash pick-up (2002)
West Easton, trash hauler argue over fine (2002)
West Easton to pay trash hauler again (2003)
West Easton delays choice on $52 tax (2007)
West Easton, housing developer try to settle dispute (2007)
Ashley pulls back from two projects (2007)
Some Morning Call municipal news articles about Glendon, Pa.:
Glendon neighborhood sings the stray cat blues, The Morning Call (2007)
Glendon residents worry about possible work-release program (2007)
Williams eyes taking over nearly a mile of road in Glendon, The Morning Call (2008)
Business article from The Bethlehem News
Crystal Signatures shares the art of glass and pride in Bethlehem (2006)
My Battle of Algiers: A memoir by Ted Morgan (2012)
Becoming Jimi Hendrix by Steven Roby and Brad Schrieber (2012)
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (2012)
House of Stone by Anthony Shadid (2013)
PUBLIC RELATIONS PLACEMENTS
“YWCA seeks volunteers to help” in the daily newspaper, the Express-Times, contributed photo by me (2008)
“Sciota shopkeeper honors those who serve,” front page of the daily newspaper, the Pocono Record (2013)
Some snapshots I took during my time at The Lehigh Valley News Group:
Bethlehem Area School District teachers head down the River (2006)
Freemansburg 150th/Carnival (2006)
Blueberry Festival at Burnside Plantation (2006)
Durkee employee reunion (2006)