News: West Easton talks trash with Waste Management, fining them 40K (2002)

As a freelance reporter for the Morning Call, I loved West Easton. Small town, good bunch of elected officials who always had something to say. They could balance a mean budget. This particular saga started in the summer of 2002, when their trash hauler missed a good portion of the borough. The trash saga between Waste Management went on for months, but if we’re talking off the record, you have to admire the little town for standing up to a huge corporation.

It’s my version of a municipal soap opera.

These articles are also available online at The Morning Call.

Little West Easton considers significant fine against Waste Management

Little West Easton considers significant fine against Waste Management

Part 2: West Easton levies $40K fine

Part 2: West Easton levies $40K fine

Part 3: Waste Management asks West Easton to lower fine

Part 3: Waste Management asks West Easton to lower fine

I vowed never to be a journalist but life disagreed

My first appearance in a daily, 1994

My first appearance in a daily, 1994

In 1994, I hadn’t even declared a major yet. After three years of high school journalism, I had taken a college-level journalism class and had some experience writing features for a local weekly. I accepted a job as a freelance “stringer” for the Newark Star-Ledger. I traveled across Warren County, New Jersey attending municipal and school board meetings. Then I called the editor on the desk and read him my notes.

This was before cell phones and filing by internet. (I’m a dinosaur!)

It was brutal. They always asked questions to which I never knew the answers. They paid well, but the editors often reduced me to tears. One nice editor offered me advice. Call before you leave the site. Make relationships with the people at the meeting and ask for a number where you can reach them. (I also was polite enough to ask how lateĀ  could call.)

I hated it. I vowed I never wanted to be a journalist.

Funny, how life changes…

The article in the photograph is the result of my reporting. While it’s not an official byline, it’s my first appearance in a daily newspaper.