Blogs > Jim Collins' Editor's Notebook

Jim Collins is editor emeritus of The News-Herald and also serves as executive in residence at Lakeland Community College. His popular weekly column appears each Sunday in Comment in The News-Herald.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Quality material exists in the midst of mounds of junk mail

Not all mail is junk, just 99 percent of it.
In our tidy home, we get so much worthless mail each day that a couple of forests, very large forests, could be preserved if the trees were left intact to grow and mature rather than being cut down just to print junk mail.
But there is also a very large amount of other stuff in the mail – almost every day – that is interesting reading but tends to accumulate. I don’t dare let it pile too high.
Much of the good mail consists of newsletters and bulletins that deliver sage advice, pithy news and other matters of interest that are too valuable to throw out without reading then.
So I diligently read a stack every day. It is not only interesting, but I am afraid of missing something if I pass over it lightly.
Here are a few examples of good stuff that comes in the mail on a regular basis:
* The monthly bulletin of the Lake County Chapter of the Kent State Alumni Association. It is packed with news, but the greatest attraction is the ongoing recounting of the history of the school as researched and written by Larry Disbro, a true blue (and gold) graduate of Kent and a loyal alum if ever there were one.
I don’t know how he does it! It never ends. He must spend untold hours every month working on the bulletin.
And dues are only $10 a year. At that bargain price, how can anyone be without it?
* The Ridge Acres Civic Association newsletter. Ever since I spoke at a meeting several years ago, Renee has kept me on the mailing list. It is a great source of information about a vital area of Willoughby. It is chock-full of tidbits worth knowing.
I hope she never takes me off the list. Maybe someday I should send her a check to help pay for the postage.
* Best of Health. It arrives from Lake Health. Great stories and equally great pictures on the latest advancements in the field of health and staying well. The stories are timely, and sometimes I even see pictures of people I know. I hope the folks who get it free in the mail read it as diligently as I do.
* Lake Legal News. Everything you need to know about the county bar association. Many matters of interest here. Of special interest in the last publication I read was “Judge’s Article,” written by Judge Harry E. Field of the Willoughby Municipal Court.
Harry minces no words and he calls ‘em as he sees ‘em. For example, he contemplated that in his first year of law school at Case Western Reserve, the class began with about 135 law students, of which only about 12 were women.
“Now, a first year law class averages about 127 students, of which 50 percent are women. Much progress has been made and the profession has benefited thereby.”
He noted, however, that when he began the practice of law, there were not only fewer women in the practice of law, there were fewer attorneys as well.
It was not difficult to know all the lawyers in the community, he pointed out, because their numbers were small.
The he got right to the point: “When I started in 1972 there were 143 members in the Lake County Bar Association. Now there are 428. I am not so sure, however, that the explosion in the number of lawyers has benefited the profession today.”
My, my! Well stated, Harry. Too many lawyers? There are some who might agree. I’m not saying what I think. But this I know: Harry Field is a very bright guy.
* Consumer Reports on Health. This is an ancillary publication of Consumer Reports. Obviously it deals only with health matters. The subjects it touches on are timely and things we all really need to know.
From a “Checklist if you go to a walk-in clinic” to “Just say no to whole-body scans,” to “Drug labels ... decoded,” there is one eye-opener after another in this compact and priceless publication.
* Lake County History Center News. The historical society is one of the county’s finest non-profit organizations, well-run and well-administered. It puts on a lot of programs of interest to the public, and this bulletin puts them on display so that anyone who is interested can make plans to attend well in advance.
The LCHS maintains that its clambakes are the greatest in the Western Hemisphere. Who knows? They may be right. You can find out for yourself on Sept. 28. For $31 ($28 for members), it’s a good deal.
I have barely scratched the surface on the reading material I get in the mail on a regular, mostly monthly, basis.
There is much, much more. But you get the idea. For all I know, you may get as much of it as I do.
Happy, adventuresome reading!
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