To the point week of 5/3/07

366

WHEN I WAS IN THE SIXTH grade, my teacher, Mrs. Anne Cook, used to look at me when I was stressing over an assignment or a project and simply say: “Patrick, there was only one perfect man, and they killed Him a long time ago.”

I think of Mrs. Cook and that comment a lot, mainly because I still hold myself to a high standard, especially when it comes to the information that we work to pass along to all of you each week in the pages of this newspaper.

We as a staff strive for perfection each week, knowing that we will never reach that level.

Personally, I take very seriously the notion that the information that you read each and every week is accurate and correct and fair.

But like Mrs. Cook used to tell me – I don’t always do it right.

Last week, I didn’t do my job, and I feel like I need to take some time here to tell you all that, and to apologize for making a mistake.

Last week a letter was printed with my approval that – as I look back – had no business being in this newspaper. I have always used the notion that our letters to the editor should be a place where people can freely and safely exchange information and offer their opinions. We have always required that people sign those letters, because we feel that each person shouldn’t have to be afraid of repercussions from stating their opinion.

But a letter that was in last week’s paper was none of those things. It was malicious and vague and didn’t seem to have any point other than to attack the subject of the letter.

It was the kind of letter that I should never allow in this paper, but last week one did, and I take responsibility for that.

There was no malice on my part, but as the editor of this newspaper, I am the one who has the final say, and I made a mistake.

Every community needs a “voice”, and in most communities, the hometown newspaper is that voice. With that in mind, the community voice of Switzerland County is made up of many different sounds and opinions; and it is my hope that people feel free to express those thoughts without being attacked.

We work each week to be a place where information is exchanged for the betterment of the community as a whole; but when some people attempt to use this newspaper as a vehicle to inflict emotional pain, then we stop that.

The truth is, I have no excuse for last week’s mistake. All I can do is to offer a sincere apology to Joe and Wanda Leatherbury – both wonderful people who I consider to be friends and great members of the fabric of the Switzerland County community.

I can also assure each and every one of you that I will work to be even more diligent in my efforts to bring you the kinds of information that works for the betterment of this community – not the spiteful destruction of it.

*

Bill Olds wandered into the Vevay Newspapers office last week with an interesting letter that he received. He wanted the people of the community to be aware of the scam that he was a target of – so that others won’t fall victim.

The letter was an official looking document from Madrid, Spain, and informed Bill that he had won a case prize of 785,510 Euros. According to current exchange rates, one Euro is currently worth $1.36 in U.S. dollars – so the letter was awarding Bill Olds more than $800,000.

But Bill Olds wasn’t born yesterday, and has heard the old adage: “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

The dangerous thing about this letter is that it contained a second page, called an “Estrella Security & Finance” payment processing form.

On that form, the “winners” are to give the company some information, such as name, address, date of birth, and occupation. The form then continues by asking the person to provide the name of their bank, account numbers, bank address, and also information about the person’s next of kin.

All of this information is supposedly so that the company can transfer the winners money directly; but everyone should be on the alert that this is a major scam and that your savings and other accounts could be in danger if the company gets your bank information.

Thanks to Bill Olds, hopefully people who read this and get a similar letter won’t fall for the trap; and if you do receive a letter like this, contact the Switzerland County Sheriff’s Department.

Never give anyone you personal and financial information for any reason, and be careful that cons like this one are circulating in our area.