Answering readers’ questions

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 2, 2002

I have always said that I was going to visit the new Obici Hospital when I had the chance, but I never wanted to do it the way I did a couple of weeks ago: the sudden illness of my father.

The staff that took care of my father when he was at Obici was excellent and I want to give thanks to those who well deserve it. These people and departments are: Dr. Arthur Chambers and the Emergency Room Staff; Dr. William DeLacey, cardiologist; the Cardiac Unit Staff; and the ICU Staff. These wonderful people helped to calm our fears and made my siblings and I comfortable with our father’s situation, and he is also very pleased.

During the time of his hospital stay I did a lot of waiting, so I tried to explore the facility when those times occurred and found it to be just as beautiful as many people had described.

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I also met many people who, once they saw me, knew me and had many questions about what went on here at the paper. That is when a little bright light went off inside my head and the idea came to me that said &uot;Why not try to answer them in my column?&uot;

The answer to the first question is yes, as you can see the &uot;Off the Wall Column&uot; is still ongoing. Because of my father’s illness, I took off on Sept. 23 and was unable to prepare a column to my satisfaction before the deadline date for Wednesday’s publication.

I was also asked what do we reporters do when we don’t have an article bearing our name in a day’s publication. Our duties extend beyond writing daily articles.

We have been in our new environment about a month now and are still getting used to some of the new responsibilities.

As many people now know, the newsroom is up front.

Management desires that we should be the ones to meet and greet the public as soon as they enter.

Some people still get confused about where to go for what. When you enter, if you read the signs on the front doors, the Circulation Department where you should go to pay for your newspaper subscription is directly to the right, the Advertising Department where you should go for classifieds is directly to your left, and to place thank-you notes and in memoriams you should go to the back.

The newsroom is straight ahead; and if you come in our direction, we will show you where to go if you are still confused.

A lot of you still have trouble about where to place church news. I am also responsible for putting that in the right place when Stephen Cowles isn’t here. My desk is the first one facing the wall. If I am not here, put it in my basket to right of the desk and I will file it properly.

There is one major situation that all of you can help us with to give you better service:

Many people come in to buy past editions for a special article. In many cases they do not know what day the article was published. It would help us much more if you knew the specific date because it wastes time searching through a whole bunch of papers. However, we will certainly still try to help you if you don’t mind the waiting.

Now back to the life of a reporter. I am responsible for typing letters to the editor, Applause, the Florence Arena Column, obituaries, service news, and town topics.

I also try to go to the courthouse to get information on marriages and land transfers and then I go to City Hall to gather information for building permits. Along with these duties, I still conduct interviews and go out to cover some events such as the volunteer banquet given recently and prepare them for publication as a staff writer.

While still performing all of these duties, I try to keep my &uot;Off the Wall Column&uot; going.

The other reporters, Barbara Allen, Allison Williams, Jason Norman, the sports editor, and Luefras Robinson also work on many tabs such as Peanut Fest, Heroes, Home Improvement, and Progress.

Like me, the other reporters have an equal amount of work to do, and it is required that we have extra stories saved to use in case of emergencies.

Speaking of space, at times a customer will submit a story and think that it should run at a specific time.

Be assured that your story will run at a time before your event takes place, but it cannot always run when you want it. I report the softer news and, at times a big story may break that might knock that story from the day’s publication. We are told that when we write a story not to tell when it is going to be published because we really don’t know.

We really can’t attend every event because we are short-staffed, and many people don’t understand that we want to enjoy a weekend too. Therefore, you are very welcome to take your own pictures and submit them to us with your information, and we will be very glad to include them in our paper.

We are not allowed to make over 40 hours a week, so we have to stick to that schedule. We are to perform all of the duties we are assigned, and if we work on a weekend, we are also required to take time off in the middle of the week so that we won’t exceed 40 hours.

At the end of the day, we are required to clean up our work areas and be ready to meet and greet you the very next day.

If we all work together to do what needs to be done, then all can get the desires of their hearts, be happy and go home satisfied.

Evelyn Wall is a staff writer and regular columnist for the News-Herald.