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**LJ Idol Season 4 Week 4 Entry: Current Events**

As a journalist, I like to stay savvy to the world around me.  Yes, I still refer to myself as a journalist, though I have not truly worked the field for some time now.  I like to keep the thought in my head that perhaps, one day, I’ll reenter the ranks and see my byline once more.  I just cannot give up that part of my past.  It is my only tie to feeling like a “real writer” that I have.

I guess I need to continue with my goal of “Being more brave with my work” I made in December.  Not truly a New Year’s Resolution, but in a way it was.

I read articles from a variety of recognizable news sources.  MSNBC, CNN, and Reuters.  I also follow news feeds from several of my passions like Sci-Fi Wire and Space.com.  Lucky for me, I live in 2007 where following the news is easier than it has ever before been.  I no longer have to slog my way through countless journals, newspapers, or magazines.  I receive up to the minute reports in one handy dandy location.

Any given week, a topic such as “Current Events” would thrill me to no end.  I can easily find something interesting to write about, especially in my locality.  You cannot live in a town heralding itself as “The Most Historic Town in the Nation” and not find interesting events at the drop of a hat.

Except this week.

For some reason, the news in my local town centers around serial killer, Richard Marc Evonitz, a man who terrorized our region in 1996 and was killed in 2005 after a five year manhunt that earned him a place on television show America’s Most Wanted.

While the families of Evonitz’s victims have had to deal with the suffering he caused for the last 11 years, I do not find this particular newsworthy today.  Definitely not in the realm of needing a 40+ page insert in the local daily paper and countless follow up articles.

Moving on from there, I decided to investigate the Letters to the Editor.  Surely, someone would have a worthwhile rant about the growing urban sprawl and the destruction of historical properties such as George Washington’s boyhood home. Ahhh, the days of Ferry Farm vs Walmart, where have they gone?

My favourite editorial came today, but falls in the lap of going perfectly with SirCaliban‘s theme, so I leave that to him.  So I make my way to the letters to the editor, hoping for some crackpot to rant about something.  Best I came up with was Judy McMoran’s complaint at a possible conector road. I have been hoping and praying for a way to connect those two areas for decades.  For once, it would actually do something good for the town, ease the traffic problem, and amazingly enough it does not interfere with a single bit of historical land.  (I have come to believe almost ever square centimeter of this town falls into “historic” thanks to our overzealous Historical Society.)  Her complaint is not even indicative of what most of us “long time” residents feel.  The only thing I can surmise is that she is one of the “move-ins” that we dread.  How she knows Harrison Road exists is beyond me, since most of that crowd do not even know Fredericksburg exist.  (Sad evidence of a poor educational system nationwide.)

Where are the excellent scandals?  Such as when local sherriff, Howard Smith, decided to

change tactics in busting prostitutes. I still get the heeby jeebies at his quote, “”As the sheriff, I understand the feelings and concerns that the citizens of this county have expressed,” Smith said last night in his office. “And I empathize with those feelings. Because of the public’s express response, I have suspended the practice.”  Was Smith truly surprised that we, the public, did not agree with his having police officers actually sleep with prostitutes?  What planet is he from?  Apparently I am the only one that remembers this one and a half year old story, because this creep just found his way to reelection.  The paper actually endorsed the man using the word “moral”.

Nothing interesting like that this week though.

I head to the region, hoping for better luck.  Living an hour from DC with so many government workers, alphabet organization members, and the like I am guaranteed to find something interesting.  Even if it is just Dick Cheney having yet another heart attack.

We have the ongoing case of the DC Madam.  This only annoys me because I am sick of it.  You know what, you voted for them and they are creeps.  Enough said.  If it isn’t a prostitute, it’s their intern.  And I, lucky resident of the greater DC area, get to hear about every last sordid detail of every single affair.  Honestly, it has made me truly question human decency and the capability of men to be in any way faithful and good.

The biggest news in this area though, is the death of Redskins player, Shawn Taylor.  I was happy to see that the Chicago Bears were willing to postpone their game, but questioned the NFL having no plans to do any such thing. However much face time they give this during the local news shows, it does not truly interest me.  I am not a huge sports fan to begin with, let alone a Redskins fan.

I emailed my reporter contacts for the latest buzz around the newsroom and went on my way, looking desperately for something to write about.  What could be truly interesting to me and of worthy note to those in LJ-Idol?

Finally, Lady Luck graced my RSS feeder at last!

With the advent of the internet, and the blogging fad of late, I have read numerous articles discussing the blogging vs traditional news. I must admit to reading several blogs, and it interests me when something from a blog gets picked up by the news hounds.  Especially if it is something good.

Local blogger and writer, Kate, reached her 2007 goal to read 100 books in one year. She, in fact, reached the goal ahead of schedule.  November 10, 2007 Kate finished her 100th book while on vacation in Atlanta, GA.  Has she stopped reading?  No, she’s now up to 107 books and plans to see how far she can ride this train.  Will she possibly reach 120?  Watch her blog to find out.

During the course of the year, she not only read all these books, but she wrote about her adventure.  Each month she gave a review of each book she read.  She kept track of not only how many books she read each month, year total, but also the pages she read each month and for the year.  For the record, she read nine books in November and 2206 pages.  Her year total of pages thus far? 33,355!  Amazing!

What is more remarkable is that she does this while being a wife and working a full time job in an area where commuting can take more than an hour one way.  Another interesting caveat is that Kate’s husband is blind.  She reads to him at night a lot.  Often she reads to him something neither have read before, but sometimes it is something she read previously and wanted to share with him.  While the majority of the books read with him helped her count, they still hindered her in a small way because it takes far longer to read a book aloud.  That book would take longer to get through, though generally she kept four to five books going at once. She would not trade that quality time with her husband for anything, though, not even a higher book count.  Reading together is something the two have done for seven years.

The local paper sent a reporter and photographer out to cover Kate’s completion of her goal.  The story however will not run until Friday, December 7th.  This is me, scooping the paper.

There are two things that touch me about this story I have spent the last eleven months following.  This story promotes literacy.  As an avid book reader, I added several titles to my list each month thanks to Kate.  I enjoy writing, reading, and attending literary conventions.  I can’t remember a time when I did not read, and it saddens me how much we, as a people, have turned away from books in recent years.  Anything that promotes literacy is good, in my opinion.  It did make me feel bad about my own pitiful count of books read this year.  I’m only now drawing close to 30 titles.  I somehow do not think I can catch up to Kate, though I planned to match her at the beginning of the year.  This year has been… rough.

The other thing is a hidden thing that most would not notice.  It has to do with her reading to her husband.  It touched my heart in so many ways. Often we do not think of the wonderful acts of kindness and service we do for our loved ones, and far too often people take their loved ones for granted.  It is wonderful to see such an example of devotion from Kate to her husband.  It spoke to my heart.  All too often we hear about the negative things in relationships that are far too often ending in divorce.  If, perhaps, we followed Kate’s example, maybe more marriages would keep the love alive.  Also, it seems a relic of the past, spending time with one’s spouse, especially reading.  So many of us marry and then we stop dating, but marriage does not mean you stop dating.  I have heard more people than I can count talk of dating their wives or husbands for decades after taking marriage vows.

It is nice to witness a story that shows such love to one another.  Which brings me to my last interesting news bit from the world around me.  Tomorrow two locals start their own life together as man and wife, having found love on the Virginia Romance Express.

–Lady O

Originally posted on ladyozma.vox.com