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Another View: Cold week creates some challenges

Inside the Fishbowl
By: Deric Rothe
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This has been an extraordinary week of snow, ice and cold. It’s also been a historic time for local high school football programs. Living in this community, as well as reporting on it, can be fun and challenging. For instance, when the snowstorm covered the area Monday, we not only were challenged reporting on the breaking news, but we each had our own challenges getting to work as well. The street I live on is fairly steep and on the edge of the American River canyon. You needed four-wheel-drive and snow tires to even attempt it Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Because my family is really into snow skiing, we were prepared to drive over the 6-to-8 inches of snow near our home and in our neighborhood. Others were not as prepared, nor would they be expected to be. Many of our Auburn Journal motor carriers were unable to deliver newspapers to areas that were inundated with snow and ice. We had carriers get in car accidents. We had a longtime typesetter, Betty Windsor, get her car stuck in a ditch in Meadow Vista. And reporters and editors who drive to Auburn from down the hill were also challenged. At 5:45 a.m. Monday morning, Publisher Tony Hazarian texted department heads asking how we planned to deal with the weather. He said without snow chains, he wasn’t sure when he’d make it up the hill to work. I called reporters Jenifer Gee and Gus Thomson somewhere around 6 a.m. that morning. Both were eager to get to work reporting on the storm. I also called our Web content producer, Stephanie Breitbart, and all three had online updates before 7:30 a.m. Ours is not a 9-to-5 job. And we know that in this day and age we have to consistently update our Web site, Auburnjournal. com, if we are going to best serve readers. What is also impressive to me is how many readers uploaded their own information and photographs on the MyAuburn side of our Web site. By late morning, News Editor Michelle Miller-Carl had a reader-submitted online photo gallery of snow pictures, as well as our own picture galleries taken by photographers Ben Furtado and Michael Kirby. Along with the fun pictures and stories we published this week about residents enjoying the snowfall, we also reported on several locals who slipped and fell on the ice. Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital had more than its share of slip-and-fall victims this week, and we felt a responsibility to warn the public about the danger. Local school officials also recognized the danger early on and rightfully closed rather than subject students to dangerous roads and slippery hallways. We reported on that, too. But all is not cold and stormy. Today we start a countdown honoring the 12 days of Christmas with a series on volunteering for local nonprofits. We focus on individual volunteers and share how you, too, can make a positive difference by donating your time and/or money locally. Cassie Reeves, a volunteer with Auburn Area Animal Rescue Foundation, is our first victim, er, subject. Everyone on our news team, despite how busy they are, values the local nonprofit organizations that help improve our quality of life and provide for the less fortunate. If you are looking for a gift, make a donation in someone’s name or give of your time, whether that means ringing the Salvation Army red kettle bell or taking in a homeless cat. Hopefully our upcoming news series will offer some ideas. Our successful local football teams have also added to the festive spirit of this holiday season. Win or lose this weekend, it’s been a fun ride. Though it’s been bitter cold at times and your newspaper might have been late by hours or even days, it’s a pleasure to live, work and play in Auburn. We plan to do the best we can to keep you informed, make you smarter, share your joys and sorrows and publish local news, opinions and advertising. Rain, snow, ice or even during a firestorm, it’s what we do. Happy holidays. Editor/General Manager Deric Rothe can be reached at dericr@goldcountry media.com.