Behind The Scenes
28Feb/130

Budget for March 1, 2013 edition

Here's what the newsroom staff is working on for the March 1, 2013 edition of the Reformer. Please note: Just because it appears on this budget, doesn't mean it will run in tomorrow's newspaper — some stories will be held to get complete information; some stories may be dropped completely. Stories might be held for space, or other timing considerations. Also, breaking stories may not appear on this budget.

If you have any information that could be useful to any of these stories, we'd love to hear from you (call 802-254-2311 ext. 7 or e-mail news@reformer.com).

Filed under: Budgets Continue reading
27Feb/130

Remembering George [an editorial]

Note: In each community I've working in during my career, there's always been those certain individuals the newsroom knows by name -- because they call all the time with news tips, or are frequent contributors to the paper (through guest editorials or letters to the editor), or have created some other bond with the newsroom for whatever reason.

About a year after I started at the Reformer, one of the longtime columnists, who had been very ill for years, was given only a few more weeks to live. He submitted a handful of columns to me, asking that I continue to run them following his death (which happened just a few days later). Those last columns ran with an editor's note, recognizing the writer for his contributions to the paper.

In 2010, a frequent letter writer died unexpectedly. And so, in an effort (again) to recognize his contributions to the opinions page, I crafted an editorial which featured excerpts from his letters over the years.

This week, I was forced once again to craft one of these editorials. This time, an elderly resident and frequent letter writer died unexpectedly, albeit presumably from old age (he was 94).

I think it's important to recognize these folks in the community. As study after study says that people are putting down newspapers and getting their news online, these people continue to take the time to write a letter, sometimes still by hand, and send it to the newsroom to share a thought, or opinion, or viewpoint -- with the newsroom and, ultimately, with the rest of the community. In some ways, I'm humbled simply by the fact they still take the time to do so.

I've said time and again that one of the main things that attracted me to the Reformer newsroom was the lively debate and discussion that took place on a daily basis on the opinions page. What better way to show the community how important each and every one of them is by taking the time to recognize how important their contributions are?

27Feb/130

Budget for Feb. 28, 2013 edition

Here's what the newsroom staff is working on for the Feb. 28, 2013 edition of the Reformer. Please note: Just because it appears on this budget, doesn't mean it will run in tomorrow's newspaper — some stories will be held to get complete information; some stories may be dropped completely. Stories might be held for space, or other timing considerations. Also, breaking stories may not appear on this budget.

If you have any information that could be useful to any of these stories, we'd love to hear from you (call 802-254-2311 ext. 7 or e-mail news@reformer.com).

Filed under: Budgets Continue reading
26Feb/130

Budget for Feb. 27, 2013 edition

Here's what the newsroom staff is working on for the Feb. 27, 2013 edition of the Reformer. Please note: Just because it appears on this budget, doesn't mean it will run in tomorrow's newspaper — some stories will be held to get complete information; some stories may be dropped completely. Stories might be held for space, or other timing considerations. Also, breaking stories may not appear on this budget.

If you have any information that could be useful to any of these stories, we'd love to hear from you (call 802-254-2311 ext. 7 or e-mail news@reformer.com).

Filed under: Budgets Continue reading
26Feb/130

Celebrating the Reformer's 100th

The Brattleboro Reformer will this weekend celebrate 100 years as a daily newspaper.

The first issue of the daily Brattleboro Reformer was published on Monday evening, March 3, 1913. Prior to that, a version of the Reformer existed as a weekly publication which dates back to 1876.

Today, the Reformer publishes six days a week; there is no Sunday edition. As such, since March 3 is a Sunday this year, the Weekend Reformer of March 2-3 will feature stories, photos and other content dedicated to the anniversary.

In addition, the staff at the Reformer offices on Black Mountain Road have organized festivities for Friday, March 1.

WKVT will be doing a live broadcast from the Reformer offices, including having the host of Live and Local (on 1490AM), Steve West, present his show from the location.

The WKVT live remote will take place until noon, when a cake will be cut in the main lobby. Various members of the community have been invited to the event, and the public is welcome to come share some cake and coffee, too (as supplies last).

I wanted to make sure the community we serve felt like they were as much a part of the celebration as the staff is; People should stop by and say hello. Once the cake has been cut at noon, come and have a piece.

I also hope that we'll be able to do various giveaways throughout the morning -- pint glasses, comics umbrellas, water bottles, etc. -- as well as subscription specials.

Jordan Brechenser, advertising sales manager at the Reformer, said that he was excited to be a part of the celebration. "Being with the newspaper for nearly a decade I've seen a lot change. One thing that hasn't (changed) is our local customers who have been right along with us for some years. To have them involved in this, along with our community partners, is really what it's all about. We exist within the community because of our readers and advertisers; this is just as much about them as it is us covering the local news for 100 years."

The Reformer centennial celebration is not contained to this weekend. In addition to a special section published in October (and available online at Reformer.com) and this weekend's issue, the Reformer will continue to publish centennial-related material each weekend throughout the rest of the year.

"As we celebrate our centennial, we've had the opportunity to look back over the last 100 years of news in and around Brattleboro," said Publisher Ed Woods. "I've enjoyed learning the history of our community, and I hope our readers join us in this on-going celebration."

25Feb/130

Budget for Feb. 26, 2013 edition

Here's what the newsroom staff is working on for the Feb. 26, 2013 edition of the Reformer. Please note: Just because it appears on this budget, doesn't mean it will run in tomorrow's newspaper — some stories will be held to get complete information; some stories may be dropped completely. Stories might be held for space, or other timing considerations. Also, breaking stories may not appear on this budget.

If you have any information that could be useful to any of these stories, we'd love to hear from you (call 802-254-2311 ext. 7 or e-mail news@reformer.com).

Filed under: Budgets Continue reading
25Feb/130

Keeping a watchful eye on the sky [an editorial]

[A sneak peek at tomorrow's editorial...]

Earlier this month, a meteor exploded over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, injuring more than 1,000 people, shattering windows and raining meteorite fragments over the area.

On that same day -- Feb. 15 -- an asteroid about half the size of a football field passed our planet, closer than some satellites in orbit around the planet.

"Astronomers say the two incidents are unrelated," National Public Radio host Ira Flatow stated last week, during his Science Friday broadcast. "But should this cosmic coincidence be a wake-up call? Are we doing enough to protect our planet from wayward space rocks? What needs to be done to discover and track these near-Earth objects, and who's going to pay for it?"

Russia has already proposed a collective defense plan to protect Earth from asteroids following the Chelyabinsk meteor incident, according to the news service Voice of Russia. The idea was voiced by the Secretary of the Federal Security Service Nikolay Patrushev during a session in the Ural city of Yekaterinburg.

What's makes the Chelyabinsk meteor all the more troubling is that, unlike the other celestial flyby that Friday, the meteor over Russia wasn’t detected by any telescope, which means there's a potential threat of larger bodies going unnoticed.

"You're just sticking your head in the sand if you think the world will live out its entire natural life until the end of our sun and never be hit by another big rock," Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield told the Canadian Press in a 2010 interview. "That's just foolishness. That's just ignorance."

Consider this: Scientists estimate that there are more than 750,000 asteroids in the belt between Mars and Jupiter, with diameters larger than three-fifths of a mile, along with millions of smaller ones, according to a recent report by the International Business Times. While most experts are at a loss as to exactly how asteroids in this belt originated, the leading theory is that most are the remains of a smaller group of larger objects, left over from the period when the planets formed. In other areas throughout the solar system, these space remnants gathered together, forming other planets and moons.

Also, consider this: There are some scientists who believe it was a collision with a giant asteroid approximately 65 million years ago which lead to the extinction of the dinosaurs.

And consider this: A 150-foot-wide space boulder exploded over a wooded area in Siberia in 1908 in what became known as the Tunguska event. More than 1,200 square miles of trees were flattened in an uninhabited area.

"So far we have found fewer than 1 percent of that ‘cosmic hailstorm’ through which we sail in our yearly orbit around the Sun,” according to the Association of Space Explorers in a recent statement reported by The Space Review on Monday. "We are tracking fewer than 10,000 of them. Even our pathetically limited Space Situational Awareness of the threat shows that there were a total of 10 close approaches just this month and there are many more near approaches on the way, and currently 1,381 already identified potentially hazardous objects."

As we wrote in a 2010 editorial, there's nothing new here to become concerned over -- interstellar collisions have been Hollywood fodder for years (remember 1998's "Armageddon?") and the building blocks of legends for decades (the aforementioned dinosaur theory). But stopping an asteroid -- if one were to be found on a collision course with Earth -- won't be as easy as Hollywood makes it appear on the big screen.

"The basic technology to do this already exists," former U.S. astronaut Russell "Rusty" Schweickart told Canadian Press in a 2010 interview. "But the effort to steer an asteroid clear of the Earth would have to begin at least 10 years before the expected impact. One scenario involves smashing a spacecraft into the asteroid to knock it off its collision course."

As Adam Mann pointed out in a report filed last week by Wired, "There are plenty of programs already in place for monitoring relatively large near-Earth objects, and more will be coming online soon, both from government space agencies and the private sector. However, even the best efforts will not be able to catch objects the size of the Chelyabinsk meteor — rocks that are small enough to evade detection by current technology until they are streaking through Earth’s atmosphere, but large enough to be dangerous."

Bill Harvey, a senior project manager at the Canadian Space Agency, in a 2010 interview told the Canadian Press that astronomers are currently keeping an eye on an asteroid named Apophis which could have a close brush with the planet in 2036. And former U.S. astronaut Schweickart points out that nearly 300 asteroids have some possibility of impacting the Earth in the next 100 years. Scientists also recently warned that "1999-RQ36," an asteroid that is more than 1,600 feet wide, has a one-in-1,000 chance of striking the planet in 2182.

And while no new money is likely to be coming to asteroid-spotting activities, the Russian "event" may cause “a shift in priorities to looking at this more than we have at the past,” space policy expert Henry Hertzfeld of George Washington University told Wired.

We think it would behoove our planet and all its inhabitants if U.S. and Russian officials worked together, along with the UN and other world powers (China and Japan?) to begin to construct a global plan for dealing with such issues. While this may seem like a newer phenomenon, the truth is our technological advances are only now making us aware of the very real and very dangerous space debris that could devastate our world. Once aware, could we really do anything to prevent an extinction-level occurrence? Maybe, maybe not. But without true teamwork, our chances don't look too good.

And who knows ... Uniting together under one common goal could lead to stronger international bonds on a host of other issues, as well.

Filed under: editorials No Comments
24Feb/130

Budget for Feb. 25, 2013 edition

Here's what the newsroom staff is working on for the Feb. 25, 2013 edition of the Reformer. Please note: Just because it appears on this budget, doesn't mean it will run in tomorrow's newspaper — some stories will be held to get complete information; some stories may be dropped completely. Stories might be held for space, or other timing considerations. Also, breaking stories may not appear on this budget.

If you have any information that could be useful to any of these stories, we'd love to hear from you (call 802-254-2311 ext. 7 or e-mail news@reformer.com).

Filed under: Budgets Continue reading
22Feb/130

Budget for Feb. 23, 2013 weekend edition

Here's what the newsroom staff is working on for the Feb. 23, 2013 edition of the Reformer. Please note: Just because it appears on this budget, doesn't mean it will run in tomorrow's newspaper — some stories will be held to get complete information; some stories may be dropped completely. Stories might be held for space, or other timing considerations. Also, breaking stories may not appear on this budget.

If you have any information that could be useful to any of these stories, we'd love to hear from you (call 802-254-2311 ext. 7 or e-mail news@reformer.com).

Filed under: Budgets Continue reading
21Feb/130

Budget for Feb. 22, 2013 edition

Here's what the newsroom staff is working on for the Feb. 22, 2013 edition of the Reformer. Please note: Just because it appears on this budget, doesn't mean it will run in tomorrow's newspaper — some stories will be held to get complete information; some stories may be dropped completely. Stories might be held for space, or other timing considerations. Also, breaking stories may not appear on this budget.

If you have any information that could be useful to any of these stories, we'd love to hear from you (call 802-254-2311 ext. 7 or e-mail news@reformer.com).

Filed under: Budgets Continue reading