Publisher's Column

It was a sad day for many of us when The Observer closed its doors a week ago, but not unexpected with print newspapers all over the country slowly dying.
I for one have had some happy experiences with The Observer over the last few decades, but mostly when newspapers were in their heyday.

When political correctness overtook the papers in the area, it became very difficult for me to get much of my material published.

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It had been years since I sat in church for a Sunday service. But hearing the words roll off the lips of The Rev. Don Bremer at the United Methodist Church of New Smyrna Beach about the apostle Paul struck a chord deep in my soul as my mind raced in re-tracing the steps of my life at 46.
Bremer was emphatic that the world had never had a teacher like Paul.

As I watched the hype over Triple Crown theat Big Brown during the pre-race coverage Saturday of the Belmont Stakes, I could not stop thinking about Jim McKay, the iconic forefather of broadcast sports journalism as host of ABC's Wide World of Sports and anchor of the network's breaking-news coverage of the horrific terrorist attack during the 1972 Munich Games. He died earlier in the day at the age of 86.

McKay, who covered 12 Olympics in all, died of natural causes in a Maryland hospital, according to his family.

Talking to Harold Haycook, owner of Haycook Moving and Storage, and his assistants, Mike West, 31, and Joe Braunig, 38, it was quickly established that they were all in favor of national health care, but what they did not realize are some of the serious pitfalls.

However, talking to local hospital employees at Bert Fish Medical Center, it was discovered that they are quite leery of national health care.

Hospital employees seemed to be mostly against national health care, although they did not want to be quoted.

Talking to people around around Southeast Volusia like Claudia Torres about the economic slowdown reveals most are sure things are slow, but they are uncertain as to what is really causing it.

Torres, an agent at State Farm, said: “The slowdown is horrible here. There is less money and business. An acquaintance is having a hard time affording gas for his SUV to drive to his job in Orlando”

When asked about what is causing the slowdown, she blamed it on the war and said the president is not handling the money well.

Joyce Hanson also at State Farm said, “we are having hard times.”

I was not surprised the weekly Observer newspaper folded Monday. I was the final editor under the daily version of what was the New Smyrna Beach Observer and warned ownership that converting it into a weekly would be its death knell. That is why I am so pleased to have established NSB News under This is greater New Smyrna Beach's daily home-based newspaper. Period. So here we are, 11 months later and indeed The Observer is no more. I remember the day I put together that very first weekly edition. As soon as it hit the press, I was shown the door. Just like that.

When I look out my living room window over to the Marathon gas station on North Dixie Freeway, my eyes become glued to the gas prices, which for the past week have been stuck at $3.999 a gallon for regular unleaded. I cannot understand why they even bother with that third digit. Just get to four bucks. God knows it is not going to stop there, anyway. I feel sorry for all the hard-working middle class families in our community that bought those huge sport utility vehicles that now cost anywhere from $70 to $100 to gas up. I have a little car. Well, sort of. It's a gas hog.

Noting recent headlines touting the fact that summer jobs were very scarce for teenagers it was tempting to go out and see if anyone had any idea of what the real problem is. The people writing the articles gave no clue. While in Dennys restaurant here in New Smyrna Beach the other day, I asked Catherine O’Brian about the job market for teenagers.
She said it is "tough and business is slow.” When asked about how to fix the problem she responded, “We need to get more money into the economy.

One of my favorite tasks of managing this Web site is the interaction with the contributing writers, none of whom are paid for their services, but all of whom are so very talented. They all share one common theme: Love of community. The most recent additions are awesome thinkers: Michael Visconti, Catherine Forester and Irving Davidoff. They complement Tia McDonald, Darlene Vann, Rosi Karnes, Congressman Tom Feeney, Styron James, Lonny Russell, Kelly Azzinaro and Capt. Budd Neviaser. And finally, there is Peter Mallory, my mentor in many ways.

Our most recent InstaPoll asked: In light of the massive cuts in state aid for Volusia County Schools, should Superintendent Margaret Smith and the School Board members take pay cuts? Eighty-five percent of the 252 respondents voted yes.
While the poll is in no way scientific or accurate, I think this is a good idea.

It is only good leadership for the people at the top to suffer along with everyone else in the organization when things are tough.