Tuesday, September 23, 2014

My stories

It took 25 years to accumulate and one day to destroy the contents of a box of newspaper clippings and photo copies of stories I wrote during my tenure with the local newspaper.

I was fired in May.

Two days ago I removed the lid and looked inside the box holding the contents of my desk that sat in the foyer of our home for FOUR months.

The Old Man prodded me to do SOMETHING with the box. He said I should throw away the contents - a celebratory end to a job that became tumultuous the last two years I worked from home. A job he said I should have left long ago because of management problems.

But I knew what was in the box.

My stories.

The story of Capt. James William "Bill" Reed, whose remains were found in 1994 - 24 years after his plane crashed in Laos during the Vietnam War.

The story of a long-abandoned one-room schoolhouse at Glady Valley in Noble County that got new life with Amish students.

My work at the newspaper began a week after my graduation from college, in June 1989, and lasted until earlier this year.

That's a significant period of time and included three different bylines - Lisa McDonald (my maiden name), Lisa L. Short (a former marriage), and Lisa Loos (my current name). One person; three names.

Writing was my forte, and in the years when I was solely a reporter, I wrote a LOT.

I see that the other work I did - which was every job in the newsroom except sports - only added to my resume. But writing was what I did very well. And something I can be proud of.

But keeping the box in my foyer - a foot from my front door - was hindering my move forward. I need to move on and put this time behind me.

Most of the stories in the box are now in the trash or the recycle bin ready to go to City Park. I have, however, kept original clippings of a few that appeal to me. A few that I would be proud to share with our great-grandchildren who might cry disbelief learning I worked at a newspaper. Just because there may not be too many newspapers left when they learn to read.

I will show them the story of the steel vault containing a casket that was exposed on shore of Salt Fork State Park in 1993 and later re interred in Pleasant Hill Cemetery.

They might read about Andy Rocker's slaying of his wife. He was city law director at the time and I covered city police department and City Hall.

I covered the State of Ohio's announcement of a prison in Noble County, its opposition by locals, its construction and opening.

I wrote about the discovery of an animal resembling a half-deer, half-cow near a Sencaville farm, a trick roper Trevor Dreher of Coshocton, and an ostrich farm new Newcomerstown.

I wrote about Cambridge City Council's approval of an ordinance banning exotic animals here in 1992.

When the Capitol Bowling Lanes burned to the ground on Jan. 16, 1994, I was there. Frozen pen and all. From that day on I always had a pencil handy when I worked outdoors in the winter. Sub-zero temperatures that morning hindered firefighters' efforts to battle the blaze.

I covered the development of the site of the first oil well in Noble County - the Thorla-McKee well, a project lead by my personal childhood physician, Dr. Sherman B. Smith.

I helped cover the case of serial killer and arsonist Thomas Lee Dillon.

I met and became friend with and wrote about two unique characters - cowboy Chester Grey who at age 71 handcrafted a prairie schooner, and his sister Pauli Cornish, matriarch of the Kennedy Stone House Museum.

I met and wrote about a chainsaw sculptor Conrad Sandoval, fiddle maker and player Flavil Miller, and quilters Stella George and Martha Reed, and nurse Twila Thacker.

I wrote a story in 1993, announcing the opening of a homeless shelter in Cambridge, the brainchild of 14-year-old Michael Curtis and his mother, Anita.

The Cumberland-Spencer Homemakers shared with me their home remedies which I wrote about and shared with readers.

I've talked to fair veterinarians, written about buffaloes roaming on Pigeon Gap Road, bobcats in Noble County, and a 1990 visit by media mogul Ted Turner to Marietta College.

I met and wrote about a self-proclaimed clairvoyant, Eugene Lewis, of Sharon in Noble County.

I toured and wrote about the restoration of the Ball-Caldwell House in Caldwell, and the dedication of a new library there in 1989.

Later I wrote about the deadly Flood of 1998, and still later, President George W. Bush's visit to Cambridge on July 31, 2004. The latter was a journalistic opportunity for the newspaper and myself.

The excitement of working on the front page and then covering Bush's rally was a once-in-a-lifetime event for me.

I don't regret my time writing with the newspaper.


  1. I was there for only a teensy bit of your tenure, but working for a newspaper did bring a lot of opportunities and challenges. Lots of memories, that's for sure!

  2. You've had a great career. Thanks for sharing these highlights.