Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Overload and underload

I’m happy for the Tuscarawas County Port Authority for finally figuring out a way to pay off its massive debt – from previous projects – by selling non-potable water to drilling-related companies that need massive amounts of water in their fracking operations.

Port Authority Director Harry Eadon announced last week that the plan is to open a well near the entity’s operation at the old Reeves Mill on Oxford St. in Dover and sell water from it.
That means, folks, it’s time to read between the lines.

The local daily newspaper paraphrased Eadon as explaining that water weighs about 8.3 pounds per gallon, “so the 5,500-gallon tankers are about the maximum normal weight of 45,000 pounds allowed on roads.”
“About” is the key word. If each tanker is full when it leaves the site, it’ll be over the load limit by 650 pounds. Here’s hoping the infrastructure can handle that. And given the slow economy around here, which oversight entity would dare make an issue out of 650 pounds? Probably none.

Eadon also said, “We’ve been told that they keep hauling until the reservoir is full at the drilling well site, so they’ll probably be hauling 24 hours per day, seven days each week.”

In other words, it’s going to be very busy at Oxford St. and N. Wooster Ave. when the fracking operations really get fired up.

What’s the overall consequence? Well, I think we’re going to be in a different environment here in the Tuscarawas Valley fairly soon. There are rumors that other large ancillary operations in Tuscarawas County are about to be announced. This is good news for the economy and people who need a job and bad news if you really enjoyed the way things were. Change is never easy and Tuscarawas Countians have always resisted it.

Politicians would be wise to start storing patience now.

I found the recent announcement that the local daily newspaper was doing away with its editorial page on Mondays and Tuesdays to be pretty sad.

It also was pretty telling for a couple of reasons. For one, it’s apparent that the size of the paper on those two days is being squeezed because of continuing dismal advertising numbers.

Secondly, it’s apparent the paper is not necessarily concerned about losing its voice – a newspaper speaks from its editorial page – amid the further fragmentation of old and new media. It does not seem to be interested in framing the debate or offering its take on important issues, opting instead to focus on feel-good, pillow-soft news.

Send us your cutest baby pictures, clip our coupons or line your bird cage.

That’s cool, I guess, but not my cup of joe.

I think you need to mix it up a bit.

I agree with a lot of the folks who posted comments on the blog of John L. Robinson, former editor of News & Record in Greensboro, on the topic of how to make daily newspapers more relevant and responsive to their communities.

One had the gall to suggest putting a real person on the switchboard.

“Unleash editorial pages to kick a-- and take names,” said another. “The institutional newspaper editorial voice is often like reading a textbook. I want people to talk about the editorial in the morning paper. Let them hate it – that’s OK. The readers you care about will respect you for saying it.”

I’ve found that to be true. I’m reminded by my readers regularly that they don’t always agree with my commentaries, but they’re happy to read them nonetheless. Heck, I don’t agree with me sometimes, and there are a few I wish I could get back.

These truly are tough times for daily newspapers, and one doesn’t need any more evidence of that fact than the smartphone that came for Christmas. All of the features you once found in your daily newspaper are now at your fingertips – from real estate listings to television listings to classified ads to national and international news.

But there’s still no app for local editorials. I think if I had a daily newspaper, I’d keep those – even on Mondays and Tuesdays.

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Anonymous said...

a good old muckraker would be nice, I have put my TR on probation after this last move

Anonymous said...

How long until the TR cuts down from seven days to five?

Anonymous said...

glad to read your weekly commentaries, it beats paying $1.75 to read about a failed attempt at a diet and mobile application deployment. thanks again