Off the Press

August 9, 2011

By Kathleen R. Merrill

Kathleen R. Merrill Press managing editor

You can learn a lot from this newspaper

You can learn a lot from reading a newspaper, or editing one. I was thinking about this recently after reading numerous stories on a deadline day. As I write this, I can’t remember what it was that made me say, “Huh. I did not know that.” But I know it happens from time to time.

They teach you in journalism school that you basically have to become an expert, really quickly, about every topic you write about. That’s true to some extent. You also have to know enough to explain it to people who might know nothing about that topic.

So, in case you aren’t keeping a tally of what you learn from The Issaquah Press, or you’re just curious, I made a list of some interesting and sometimes funny things I have learned in just the past year.

-Kindness and compassion never go out of style.

-Good neighbors still exist.

-So does Santa Claus.

-No matter how much you teach ‘em, some people will still do really stupid things.

-Despite a lack of funding, children in our schools are learning about cool topics every single day they attend.

-Despite a lack of funding, there are teachers who are dedicated to not letting that lack show.

-We sometimes need government to tell us what to do. (I learned this while trying to cross Front Street after a truck hit and broke a light pole. Just standing there for a few minutes, watching drivers watching each other and trying to figure out what to do and whose turn it was, taught me that some people just don’t have a clue.)

-This state is never going to be prepared for snow.

-Some drivers are never going to drive well in the rain.

-That frozen stuff that isn’t quite snow and isn’t quite rain is called graupel.

-You shouldn’t leave your purse, full of cash and credit cards, and your $2,000 laptop computer on the front seat of your unlocked car when you leave your car at a trailhead to go hiking. But people do. Regularly.

-You should lock your car every time you leave it. Every. Time. It’s that kind of world now.

-Check all through a parking lot for your car before calling police to report it stolen. (And officers, look all around the same lot before filling out that pesky stolen car paperwork.)

-You should make sure the person you choose as a designated driver actually has a driver’s license. (Or maybe you should just choose a different crowd to run with.)

-When you’re at a grocery or other store, you shouldn’t leave your purse in the cart while you walk down an aisle to get something. (OK, I already knew this, but figured from the reports in our police blotter that other people don’t.)

-I might be too old to join the world of roller derby now.

-You shouldn’t steal anything. But if you’re going to steal copper or some other metal, you should make sure it isn’t packing thousands of volts.

-People can get really angry and will try to correct you about other people’s opinions. Even when you put those opinions on a page that has “Opinion” in big letters at the top.

-Bad things happen to good people.

-Bad things also happen to bad people.

-Issaquah is a really great place to live and work.

Kathleen R. Merrill: 392-6434, ext. 227, or Comment at

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