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Odds and ends from a reporter’s notebook


Reporters record lots of notes that never see their way into print. I have been doing it for decades and occasionally suspect they are worth passing on. Several recent observations:

■ An annual Easter egg hunt attended by hundreds of children in Colorado was canceled because of misbehavior last year. Not by the kids, but by adults.

It’s hard to believe the Colorado incident if you witnessed Saturday’s Easter egg hunt at White Hall’s City Park, which was well organized and over fairly quickly.

In Old Colorado City, too many parents were determined to see their children get eggs last year and jumped the rope marking the boundaries of the children-only area at a municipal park. The hunt ended all too quickly to the consternation of children with no eggs in their baskets and the parents who had followed the rules.

The plastic eggs, which were filled with donated candy or coupons that could be redeemed for toys and other prizes, were placed in plain view on the grass. The organizers in Colorado and White Hall followed the same procedure; except a bullhorn started the event there and here it was a fire truck horn.

The Colorado cancellation was blamed on “helicopter parents” — individuals who hover over their children and are involved in every aspect of their kid’s lives to ensure that they don’t fail, even at an Easter egg hunt. “Helicopter parents” apparently won’t allow their children to learn from their mistakes, demanding an edge even at an egg hunt.

Scores of parents and grandparents turned out for Saturday’s egg hunt at City Park, but the kids were allowed to hunt the plastic eggs with encouragement from the sidelines. We didn’t hear the buzz from any hovering helicopters.

■ We wish more individuals were dedicated to print newspapers. On a recent morning, authorities stopped a man who was scaling the exterior of the 52-story New York Times’ building in mid-town Manhattan.

He told people in the area he was looking for a copy of the newspaper before climbing to the fifth floor. No jokes please, but the climber was taken away for a psychiatric evaluation.

■ Former Vice President Dick Cheney recently received a heart transplant after sustaining five heart attacks over the past three decades. News of the operation prompted some Democratic wags to quip that the new organ might affect his famously chilly personality.

Could a heart transplant actually lead to a change of heart?

Heart transplants can trigger a number of significant physiological and psychological changes, physicians say, noting a new lease on life tends to make people happier and more optimistic.

While a new heart may not come with a new personality; having a functional heart must improve your outlook.

■ The shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Florida triggered national protests calling for a new investigation and the arrest of the shooter. Few marches are held for other young black shooting victims.

Almost one-half of all murder victims are black and a majority fall between the ages of 17 and 29. Blacks account for 13 percent of the total U.S. population, yet are the victims of 49 percent of all the nation’s murders. And 93 percent of black murder victims were killed by other blacks.

I don’t remember marches questioning bad schools, with their 50 percent dropout rate for black teenaged males resulting in soaring unemployment rates for black teens.

The killing of any child is a tragedy. But where are the protests regarding the larger problems facing black America?

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Larry Fugate is a veteran journalist and former editor of The Pine Bluff Commercial. He can be reached by e-mail at fugatel@sbcglobal.net or at (870) 329-7010.