A few thoughts from this past week...

Amazing to watch

Monday I had the opportunity to watch several experts work as they delivered, set up and decorated the 30-foot community Christmas tree on the Jefferson County Courthouse lawn, near the veterans memorials.

John and Tracy Riddle of Silverardo Tree Service and their son Josh Riddle, of Silverado Mechanical Service, maneuvered the tree into position with an ease that spoke of a lot of practice over many years.

The scene was set early Monday morning with the parking meters bagged to alert motorists that the block of parking spots in front of the courthouse would be temporarily out of service. This was needed so that the Riddles could bring in several pieces of equipment and have the room to unload the large fir tree and position it next to the bucket truck, which would lift it up and move it into position above the tree stand.

I never gave it a thought before as to what keeps the community tree upright but the process that took place Monday reminded me of placing the pole on an artificial tree down into a larger cylinder-style pipe. Believe me, an artificial tree is way easier to move into position when compared to a live 30-foot tree. But with some trimming of the trunk and some manual manipulation the tree trunk was slid into the opening and situated firmly inside.

The other amazing thing is that it takes me hours, sometimes days, before I’m finished decorating the Christmas tree. The town tree was set up and decorated in a matter of hours. Kudos to the Riddles and to the two members of the borough crew that lent their expertise and manpower to the annual process – Jonathan Rhoades and Shawn Cieleski. Their work will shine come Black Friday, when the community Christmas tree’s lights are lit during Light Up Brookville.

Check out our website at www.thecourierexpress.com/jeffersonian_democrat/ or our Facebook page to view a couple of videos of the event.

Letters to the Editor

Not long ago we received a letter to the editor but sadly we have not been able to print the letter or reach out to the author. When a second letter arrived from a different author questioning why the first letter had not been printed, I thought it would be good to remind people of our Letters to the Editor policy. We require that letters be signed with both a first and last name and a phone number be included. The phone number is simply so we can randomly verify that the person listed as the author is in fact the author. Yes, at times over the years people have been known to list someone else’s name to a letter. And while you may think but if they are giving you the phone number they can just say they are that person. Well, true, but we can also check through other sources to make sure the phone number matches, the person’s address and their name all match.

Both of the letters in question were mailed to us but did not list a street address on the envelope, but simply a last name and Brookville, Pa. Both were signed with just last names and no phone number was included. Without the basics, we don’t even look at the content of a letter because we know it cannot be published without a full name and a way to verify it. We would have tried to verify the first letter if a phone number had been included or even if a street address had been included we might have been able to give it a shot at tracking the letter writer down. If we could have we would have reached out to the first letter writer and if they agreed to have their first and last name and town of residence listed, we could have looked at the content of the letter and, if it met our policy, printed it. There would not have been the need for the second letter then, I’m sure. However that scenario did not happen.

We encourage people to send letters to the editor, but we do ask that the policy be followed to make it fair to everyone. I’ve made sure to publish it on our opinion page this week and will publish it more often as space permits.

Something’s missing

You may notice that there is not a “Backward Glances” on the opinion page this week nor is there a “Looking Back” column in the sports section. We had a minor technical problem last week that we hope will soon be fixed. The bulb in our microfilm machine, which allows us to look at newspapers from decades past, burned out. A new bulb, actually three new bulbs since it’s best to be prepared in case this ever happens again, has been ordered and will hopefully arrive by week’s end. So hopefully this will be a very temporary situation.

Early holiday deadline

Finally, with Thanksgiving arriving next week, the Jeffersonian Democrat will be on an earlier schedule. Obituaries for next week’s newspaper will need to be to us by 4 p.m. Monday. The newspaper will be printed Monday night and on newstands Tuesday. Those getting their newspaper via mail delivery should expect to see it on Wednesday.

The Jeffersonian Democrat office will be closed on Thanksgiving Day but will reopen for business on Black Friday, November 29, just in time for Light Up Brookville.

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