Herald Journal Columns
June 26, 2006 Herald Journal

A very special kind of person


By now, staff writer Liz Hellmann is heading to Colorado with her new husband to make a permanent home there.

She told us several months ago that her husband was looking for a job as a physical education teacher, and we knew that she might end up relocating.

So she gave us her official notice two weeks ago, and an unofficial notice about two months ago.

But it was hard to hear the news nevertheless, even with so much notice.

“Why would you want to move to Colorado?” I asked. “You might get skin cancer from all that sun. And besides, they only have one season. One. Summer.”

She was unfazed and remains intent on marrying this gentleman; moving to the mountains.

However, I did congratulate her on a bright future and how exciting it must be for her.

But then I ruined it by saying “I hope you hate it and move right back here, so we can keep you at the newspaper.”

I thought that I was sad about Liz’s departure, but my co-worker Linda Scherer was worse off than myself.

We were both almost into clinical depression! Cheese and crackers. You haven’t seen long faces like that in a long time.

Liz is so valuable, kind and honest. I used to say she was the pin that the editorial department hung upon because of her ability to follow the process and follow instructions.

If you want to see the classified for her position, it’s in this week’s paper. The ad should read “must be kind of a little crazy, naturally curious, and willing to work odd hours, weekends or nights. Sense of humor a must.”

It’s true that reporters are a different breed of cat. We are naturally curious and information-driven.

We spend time taking pictures of other people and their kids, not our own (to the disgust of my husband, sometimes).

We go to council meetings and school boards. We take pictures at any number of events – graduations, expos, county fairs, community events, award ceremonies, Memorial Day, Christmas events and any number of programs.

Basically, if you can dream it up, we take pictures of it and write about it.

However, that being said, the hours are flexible and the variety is fun. It’s exciting.

You get to meet people and hear news first. And we usually win awards doing it, too.

Like a hole in the head

I must comment on the personal veterans’ information that was carelessly left at home by a Veterans Affair employee, uncoded and unscrambled, and then stolen.

The information lost was social security numbers — which means that my husband and I will worry FOREVER about identity theft. Yes, the rest of our lives will be spent . . . wondering.

Any common crook can tell you that social security numbers are always good, anytime. There’s no expiration date on them. They are lifetime deals.

Social security numbers are just as good to ruin someone today as they would be five years, 10 years, or 20 years from now.

It’s a matter of time before a meth ring gets their hands on it, and all those veterans will stagger under the weight of cleaning up their lives from the very people who were supposed to “support” them — or at least not be a hindrance to them.

What a dumb joke. It would be better to abolish the whole department than to get that kind of “help.”

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