Everywhere you go

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 24, 2003

You can’t hardly go anywhere around Suffolk these days it seems without hearing people talk about the Constant’s Wharf hotel project.

Cancellation of the ground breaking has become as regular as trash pickup. I was at the YMCA Friday morning hard at work in my never-ending quest to never have to buy size 40 pants, when I overheard this conversation on the treadmills to my right:

&uot;Yea, one of the backers is wanting out.&uot;

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&uot;No wonder, at $135 a night, nobody will be staying there.&uot;

It’s the same everywhere you go.

The city, for the most part, has remained close-mouthed about the goings on. Economic Development Director Tom O’Grady was quoted recently in this newspaper as saying that the parties were just making sure the I’s were being dotted and the T’s were being crossed.

That’s likely the case. Nonetheless, the fact remains that the groundbreaking was originally supposed to happen in January. It’s almost July and time to address this issue head on, if for no other reason than to allow me to have total concentration during my workouts.

Got more than a couple calls over our coverage last week of graduation ceremonies at Lakeland and Nansemond River High Schools.

Criticism focused on photo coverage. The three front-page photos featured white people only. The racial balance of the photos was about equal throughout the paper, but that mattered not to the callers, one of whom said, &uot;You do that every time.&uot;

The front page featured a wide, five-column photo, which I selected because I thought it showed the most emotion of any of the photos we had. Managing Editor Stephen Cowles did the honors on the rest of the page, which had spaces for one Lakeland photo and one Nansemond River. Cowles selected what he thought were the best of the remaining photos for those.

To be honest, the racial balance of the photos never occurred to either of us. On our front page, we try to use the best photos available to us. They are our showcase pieces. It matters not to me whether they are white, black, red, or yellow. Obviously, however, it does matter to many of our readers and in the interest of presenting a balanced picture, as it were, of our community, it’s something we will be sure to bear in mind in the future.

Hopefully, inside of today’s paper you’ll find our annual Sketchbook edition. Sketchbook is really geared toward newcomers to our community, but this year’s has something for everybody.

At 96 pages, including the cover, it’s the largest single section of this type that we have ever done. Our retail advertising sales team – Becka Hill, Earl Jones, Sue Barnes, Susan Gaffney, and Lu Mitchell – really blew this one out of the water. They did such a great job, in fact, that as of this writing (Friday afternoon), it was still questionable whether we would be able to get it through production in time for today’s paper.

The volume of ads put stress on our composition and news departments to finish the job. Hope Rose and Freda Robertson in composing, however, managed to get every ad built and we all appreciate their efforts.

News staffers who contributed to the project are recognized inside the edition, and they did a marvelous job – Jason Norman, Allison Williams, Barbara Allen, Evelyn Wall, Harvey White, and Eric Brooks. Unfortunately, inside the edition we failed to recognize the contribution of the aforementioned Cowles who, while he did not write any of the copy, literally wrapped the clock on three consecutive nights editing and paginating the section, assuring you and our advertisers of a quality, interesting piece and giving me time to go the Y. Thanks, Stephen.

Andy Prutsok is editor and publisher of the News-Herald.