A vote for the Peanut Fest

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 3, 2004

It’s four days before the Suffolk Ruritans’ Shrimp Feast, the official start of Peanut Fest 2004, and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecast has nothing but sunny skies and mild temperatures in the forecast through Friday.

That’s difficult to believe after the past few years. Periodic downpours and sloppy, muddy midways are becoming as much a part of the festival as the demolition derby and Skoal tent.

I for one enjoy Peanut Fest, though typically I’ve about had my fill of it by the time it gets here.

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That’s because of our special section inside today’s paper. A 44-page edition in addition to producing our daily product, is a big chore for our small staff, and I often wonder whether we’ll be able to get it out on time and it’s always touch and go until the last moment. As of Saturday morning, it looked like we were going to make it once again.

Our advertising staff does a tremendous job selling the section and composition and news work hard, as well. But it doesn’t stop here. After we finish, the battle is only half over.

Then, our colleagues at our production facility in Ahoskie take over, generating page negatives, burning plates, printing and inserting. They always manage to pull it off somehow.

Hampton Roads author Patrick Evans-Hylton, a former News-Herald reporter, is responsible for producing the bulk of the news copy in today’s edition. We wouldn’t be able to produce this product – and this year’s is our best ever – without his help.

Patrick’s newest book – &uot;Images of America: The Suffolk Peanut Festival&uot; – will be available for purchase Thursday through Sunday at the News-Herald’s booth. We’ll be located at booth number 48, nestled between the Suffolk Museum and the Suffolk Democratic Committee (I hope the president performs better in next week’s debate than he did this week, or else I’m sure the Democrats will be gloating the entire festival.

Patrick will be at our booth briefly each day to sign copies of his book. Watch the News-Herald for times.

News-Herald staff members will be on site daily. I’m also hopeful that some of our columnists like Robert Pocklington, Roger Leonard and Joe DiRenzo will be able to join us. Watch the paper Thursday through Sunday for a daily Festival schedule on the front page along with who will be at our booth. We’ll also have goodies for the kids and special subscription offers available.

We look forward to seeing you there.


The &uot;Our Opinion&uot; piece over at the left today talks about Monday being the deadline for registering to vote in the Nov. 2 election. &uot;Our Opinion&uot; is the opinion of the newspaper as a 131-year-old institution in our community. As such, we make every effort to present rational, fair and balanced commentary. Over on this side of the page, however, this space belongs to me and I’m under no such obligation to be dignified.

With that said, tomorrow is the deadline to register vote. If you fail to register and exercise your right to vote in this year’s election, you’re unworthy of calling yourself an American citizen.

I don’t care how patriotic you claim to be and how many American flag bumper stickers you have on your pickup truck.

It’s difficult to imagine two more different visions of where to take this country than those being presented by President Bush and Sen. Kerry. It’s our duty to vote and if you don’t care enough to take the little bit of time required to do that duty, you’re not a patriot; you’re barely a notch above Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden on the food chain. You’re going to get the government you deserve, and rightfully so.

Andy Prutsok is editor and publisher of the News-Herald. He can be reached at 934-9611, or via email at andy.prutsok@suffolknewsherald.com.