To the point week of 03-27-08


AS YOU HAVE READ BY NOW on the other side of this page, this marks the final “A Stone’s Throw” column for Mike Cooney of Patriot. He has been writing the column on a weekly basis for three years, and is now looking to expand his writing for a broader audience of readers.

Writing a weekly column is not an easy thing to do. Many people will say “I wish I had a column, because I’d sure tell people just how it is….” But it’s much harder than people think.

First of all, a week goes by pretty quickly in the newspaper business. Just about the time you’ve got one column finished, it’s time to write another.

And then the one after that.

Over my years here I’ve had many people come to me and ask about submitting something on a weekly basis, and I always tell them that having something ready every week is one tough assignment.

Most of the time, once a month becomes a burden too big to bear.

But when Mike came to me and pitched me the idea of a weekly column, there was something about him that made me feel like he knew enough about this industry to handle the challenge in front of him.

In three years he’s never let me down, and I have appreciated his timeliness and attention to deadlines.

It’s also not easy to write a weekly column because week after week you have to be willing to put yourself “out there” in front of the community and our readers and say “Here’s what I think – how about you?”

As Mike said in his final column, many times people agree with you, and many times people don’t agree with you at all.

I guess that’s what makes a good column, some agree, some don’t – but it makes everyone think about their position on different issues.

Sometimes in a small community it’s difficult to write a column that you know will make people uncomfortable – or down right mad.

In a bigger city, columnists are many times anonymous faces. They go to the market or to a school event or a sporting event, and most of the people around them are unaware of their identity.

That doesn’t happen in Switzerland County, where – like the “Cheers” theme song, “Everybody knows your name.”

I’ve been confronted in the grocery store, walking downtown, at a game, and many other places. In nearly every instance, people have been very nice, but they just wanted me to know that they didn’t agree with my position.

I always tell them that it’s okay for them to disagree, because that’s what my column is all about, asking people to look at a topic from a position that they may not have thought about before, and then consider that in the context of how they view an issue.

One of the great things about this county is that people can have different points of view, and we hope that here in the pages of Vevay Newspapers, you feel comfortable and safe in presenting your view without fear of personal attacks.

If there aren’t two sides, then it isn’t an issue.

Mike Cooney has done a masterful job over the past three years presenting different sides of all types of issues. He’s talked sports. He’s talked politics. He’s talked issues of social importance.

He’s also talked through the voice of his German Shepherd on occasion, but that’s all right, too. I’ve always been told that most often the third voice in the room is the one of reason, so maybe “Shadow” has served as our voice of reason over the years.

Mike has made all of us laugh at times, cry at times, and stew at times.

But each and every time, Mike has made us think. He’s done the job that he sat out to do. He’s presented information for us to take in, consider, and judge.

Vevay Newspapers wishes Mike Cooney well in his endeavors to move his column beyond the boundaries of Switzerland County; and we thank him for his commentary and contributions to our community.


Ever want to be a weather forecaster? If so, the past month would have been a wonderful time for you.

For the rest of us, it’s been a freak show. We’ve been under the worst snow storm of the year; underwater for a few days; then it gets warm, only to turn cold.

I’ve always heard that “If you don’t like the weather in Indiana, wait 15 minutes, and it will change.

Easter Sunday night was a perfect example of just that.

It was cool but sunny all during the day, and as we returned to the county from visiting my parents for Easter dinner, I came into East Enterprise about 6:30 p.m. to a light drizzle of rain.

My daughter, Hilary, was texting a friend of hers while others napped in the van. Suddenly, she looked over and said, “Emma says it’s snowing!” Hilary reported.

“No,” I said. “It’s just spitting a little rain.”

Just south of East Enterprise, that drizzle turned to big, fat snowflakes. By Center Square, it was snowing hard and beginning to cover the ground.

South of there, the ground was covered and snow was falling at a steady pace.

I told my wife she might want to wake up and see this.

By Mount Sterling things were tapering off; and by the time I came down Vevay Hill and rolled into Vevay, we were back to rainy drizzle.

No snow in sight.

Just another strange day in Switzerland County weather.