Friday, January 27, 2017

We know what it’s like too: the passing of editors

In my last blog I wrote about how the death of firefighter or police officer changes the atmosphere of the station. This same sentiment occurs in a newsroom with the death of a colleague. I didn’t expect to again know how it felt so soon.

Daily Local News reporter Ginger Rae Dunbar and editor Jim Callahan pose together in the newsroom in 2014.  Staff photo by Vinny Tennis. 
I first experienced it when my mentoring editor Jim Callahan died on April 28, 2015 of cancer. Most recently, the Daily Local News team experienced it on Monday when we learned that Editor-in-Chief Tom Murray died of a heart attack on Jan. 21, 2017.

In a newsroom where most of the constant chatter is from the fire and police scanner, these two editors were known as the talkers. Despite how busy they were, they stopped by your desk or waited for you to go to theirs to say hello and hold a conversation. Most of the time it was work-related, specifically about your story assignments and how you are doing with them. Other times it was about your weekend and how you spent the holidays.

I felt honored that Tom described me as a reliable reporter, and he knew Callahan taught me well. The passion we all shared for journalism is what we bonded over. Somehow the newsroom managed to carry on and still put together a newspaper in the days that followed the loss of these “go-to” editors nearly two years apart.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Law Enforcement Appreciation Day

The Patriots Club at a Downingtown school typically honors veterans, and most recently, the students hosted a Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. Pennsylvania State Police and police from the Downingtown area told the students about their passion for their jobs and keeping people safe.

Lionville Middle School students wrote thank-you notes to the Downingtown area police officers who visited their school during Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. 

During the nationally recognized event held on Monday, Principal Jonathan Ross told his middle school students the Chester County staff was impacted on a personal level by a line of duty death in Montgomery County. 

Ross said that Lynsay Fox worked as a substitute teacher at Lionville Middle School, of the Downingtown Area School District, when her husband Plymouth Township Officer Bradley Fox was fatality shot in the line of duty in 2012. A law was established in Fox’s name for the minimum sentences for “straw purchasers” who buy a gun for someone who cannot legally buy a gun because of their criminal record.

“It’s a terrible thing,” Ross said about the line of duty deaths. “Unfortunately it occurs all too frequently in our country.”

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Focus on your fitness in the New Year

I avoided the gym in college when people showed up  in January in an effort to achieve their New Year resolutions. Instead I would run on campus or do workouts at home. While the overcrowding in the gym became a reason to change the location of where I worked out, it also helped me to change up my routine. Instead I would run on campus or do various arm, abs and leg workouts at home.

I always enjoyed working out, but I didn’t always stick to a workout routine. You don’t have to wait for the New Year to begin to start focusing on your health and fitness.

Exercising in college for me was a healthy stress-reliever and it helped me to stay fit. When I joined the fire service, I became motivated to improve my fitness because of the physical demands. The heavy equipment and gear helped me with that motivation and desire. I agree with firefighters who say fitness should be a priority.

My company is blessed to have a gym in our station with 24.7 access. Providing that opportunity to members encourages fitness. I created a workout schedule to align with the times I would be at the station or after fire school. Following lecture nights during fire school I exercised at the firehouse gym. There were days that I counted the physical training skills at the Delaware County Training Emergency Services Center as my exercise for the day. My fitness goals came from personal drive and from advice.