Odds and ends from an old reporter’s notebook

24 May

Here are some odds and ends from an old reporter’s notebook:

We’ve all heard it. Stay off your cell phone while driving. A Moline woman learned that lesson the hard way recently. Bettendorf police say Jennifer DeClerck, 24, admitted to texting on her cell phone just before her spectacular single-car crash on Interstate 74. DeClerck lost control of her vehicle. It then went into a ditch, hit the side of an on-ramp, went airborne, hit a tree and ended in a ditch on the other side of the on-ramp. DeClerck was extricated, then airlifted to a Davenport hospital.
Can peace and beauty be found in the big city? Yes, at Vander Veer Park in Davenport. From the beautiful flower gardens, the Conservatory, the greenhouses, the fountain, the playground and the lagoon, Vander Veer is a Quad-Cities treasure. You may enjoy just sitting on a tree-shaded bench some weekend and watching the people go by. You never know what you might see. When I was there on Mother’s Day, a man was walking around with his 3-foot pet python hanging from his neck.
My wife, Sherry, noted that you know you’ve lived a long time when a building you saw constructed years ago and acclaimed as being quite modern is now being torn down. That’s the case with the Professional Arts Building in Davenport.
I cringe when candidates say, “If you elect me, I will create jobs.” Elected people don’t create jobs. Entrepreneurs do and only when there is a favorable climate for doing so. Elected people do, of course, have a stake in creating an environment that’s good or bad for doing business.
The brown tourism-related signs on the interstates around Davenport used to say Putnam Museum IMAX. Now they just say Putnam Museum. Why? According to the Putnam’s Kim Findlay, in January the Putnam converted its Giant Screen Theater from the IMAX film projection system to a Dolby/Barco 4k Digital Projection System. “We are the fifth Giant Screen Theater in the world to make this upgrade,” Findlay says. “We reopened with a documentary called ‘The Last Reef’ that I believe beautifully demonstrates the crispness and color saturation of the 4k digital system.”
If I could remove one word from the vocabularies of the area’s young TV news reporters and anchors, it would be “actually.” It’s a word that seldom is needed in a sentence. An example: “Firefighters say a dropped cigarette actually started the fire.” Why not just say, “Firefighters say a dropped cigarette started the fire.”
As long as I am harping about my TV news friends, I get tired everyday hearing them talk about what someone posted on the station’s Facebook page. If I wanted to know what’s on their Facebook page, I’d read it myself. Please, please just give me the news.
“Over” is a word that is often misused by many of us, including the media. When we mean “more than.” I returned to St. Ambrose for a year in my 30s to earn a second major in mass communications. My newspaper journalism instructor there, Julie Jensen McDonald, drilled into her students the difference between “over” and “more than.” People will often write or say something like, “The benefit raised over $5,000.” That’s wrong. Over refers to a place, as in, “The tree towered over the house.” Over does not refer to a quantity. The sentence should read, “The benefit raised more than $5,000.” OK, the curmudgeon reporter is now getting off his high horse – at least for now.
My wife is retiring soon from 28 years of teaching. She would have logged 42 years had she not taken 14 years off to be a stay-at-home mom. As one who was “downsized” three years ago by Clear Channel, a communications company bleeding red ink, and now considers himself semi-retired, I think she’ll like retirement after a period of adjustment. I am looking forward to the daytime companionship — right now it’s just our cat Mistletoe and me, and she can’t carry a conversation. I also welcome the flexibility we’ll have for traveling.

Copyright 2012 by Phil Roberts, Creative Enterprises.

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Posted by on May 24, 2012 in Uncategorized


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