Goshen News, Goshen, IN


March 25, 2012

Warm weather extends timeline for outdoor activities

This would not be proper use of newspaper space if I did not mention the weather. There’s a secret in most every U.S. newsroom you likely have not heard: Weather runs the world.

Don’t think I’m kidding, either. Do an unofficial survey of your local newspaper, television or radio station, web media or — if you get your news this way — the barber shop, corner store or local diner. I guarantee you’ll hear about the weather.

Not just a mention of the highs and lows, either. On any given day you’re likely to hear downright lusty weather stories complete with historical context — “This last happened in 1982 …” — personal commentary — TV reporter: “I need to get my golf clubs out” — and ambitious prognostications about what’s to come.

On a slow news day, we can always fill some 15 column inches and snag a quick picture with a weather story, so it’s almost like having canned news. When I worked full-time in a newsroom, on days I knew the “weather story” was inevitable, I would duck down to the staff lounge until some unfortunate colleague got the assignment.

And when the weather is as wild as it has been for two weeks — record highs in spring in usually frosty Indiana? — newsrooms go crazy. It’s super easy news to be had.

You can see why, though, right? Weather really does run the world, so to speak, meaning almost everything we do is at least mildly affected by the weather. And here in Michiana, where we grow things, the weather can be financial gain or financial ruin.

Weather can devastate — literally, like with tornadoes — and it can scoop us from the gray, Midwest doldrums and drop us into unusual cheeriness as it has done most recently.

So, there you have it: Half of this column’s words are devoted to talking about the weather, and I have fulfilled my newspaperly duty.

Here’s where I’m going:

Isn’t it lovely outside?! (Duh.) These 80s days have gotten me ever-more excited about the prospects of summer fun with my children. Despite — or, maybe because of — having to hit the books hard for several more weeks of complicated physiology, I am eager to launch summer and have compiled a list of five things we hope to do.

Let me share these ideas with you, and if you have others to share with us, be in touch. In fact, if you want to join us for a “Whole Family Activity Tour” or whatever, the more the merrier!

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

I think it’s a good idea to feed all the students free of charge
I think those who can afford it should pay for their school meals
I think all students should be required to pay for their school meals
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