Yea, it's me. Hello again. Daze Work 2.0.
Surprising friends, family and even myself, here I am, back in the saddle again after a six-year hiatus in the wonderful world of manufacturing.
Yes, living proof that the more things change, the more they stay the same (just to toss a quick cliche at you). I returned to the BannerGraphic fold last week to reclaim the position of editor, a role to which I had previously dedicated more than 25 years of my adult life the first time around.
With all due respect to author Thomas Wolfe, apparently you can go home again. (Yes, back home to things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time; back home to the escapes of time and memory).
Walking back into the newsroom that first day, I felt like the Tom Hanks character coming home from his years of Gilligan-like island exile in "Cast Away." The stairs (ugh), the furniture, the bad coffee and even the smells were all too familiar ... but who are these people? Only Randy, Daryl, Debbie, Denise, June and Rita remain from my last go-around. And ad man John York was a sports stringer last time I crossed paths with him at 100 N. Jackson St.
Jared, Josh, Michael and Caine are my staff now. Lots of talent, Loads of potential. I see nothing but good things from this group. Should be fun. Should be interesting. And we welcome you along for the ride.
Trite as it might seem, there is newspaper ink in my blood. I love the smell of newsprint in the morning. The only childhood scent more magically delicious than a sniff of that morning's Chicago Tribune might have been getting a new Wilson A2000 baseball glove and slathering neat's-foot oil along over the leather.
While those are distant yet distinct memories, we have already been busy making new ones this week. And what a news week it has been for my return. Talk about timing.
My first afternoon I walked into City Hall to reacquaint myself with the people and the surroundings and wandered right into the midst of word that Greencastle had just been named one of Indiana's first two "Stellar Communities" and will be sharing $31 million in grant funds with North Vernon over the next three years.
The next night at my first City Council meeting since 2004, came news that Crown Equipment Corp. will be expanding its Greencastle plant, almost doubling in size to accommodate a new product and hiring 143 more people. Chiyoda USA Corp., meanwhile, talked about its equipment expansion and the retention of 83 jobs in the process.
Months or even years can go by in a small town without news like that happening back to back.
We wrapped up our first week with the news that we are losing Greencastle School Supt. Bob Green to a community in Illinois. Bob certainly will be missed and we wish him well in his new endeavor.
But as fast and furious as the good news had come, the harsh reality of bad news descended as well.
First, we received word that longtime local businessman Bob York had passed away. My association with Bob goes back to his days as Jim Harris' sales sidekick in the mid-1970s.
Then, as we were still applauding our community's good economic fortune, came word of the terrible triple tragedies of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown that have wracked Japan.
My previous BG tenure twice took me to Japan to report on the contingent of state and local leaders making industrial visits there. We have made Japanese friends through the industries here and associations there. Visited them at their home plants in Ota City and Yokohama.
All this week we have tried to get some kind of official word on how our Japanese friends and their families have fared in the face of such tragedy. While our concern has been noted with appreciation, no information thus far has been shared. Of course, communication with the affected areas has been extremely difficult for major news organizations, let alone a small-town daily newspaper.
Regardless, I know you all join me in praying for those in peril whether they have connections to our local Japanese community or not. When we do get some concrete information, we will be sure to share it here.
Until then, trust me, this has already been quite an interesting return home.