Carthage Press reporter John Hacker did great work on his interview with astronaut Janet Kavandi, but it could have been better if Hacker or the people at The Press had access to the packages that were put together 11 years ago when Dr. Kavandi, a graduate of Carthage Senior High School and Missouri Southern State College, first went into space.
In the July 1998 package, Ron Graber took photos at the launch and Brooke Pyle shot the tense scene in the senior high school auditorium as her friends, former classmates, and teachers watched on a large screen as the countdown continued,
Unfortunately, those materials are no longer at The Press, which only keeps back issues for one year and gave away its voluminous files to the Jasper County Historical Society because there was not enough room in the little bandbox building where The Press is now located. (Former Press Editor Ron Graber received much grief from GateHouse Media officials for giving away the files. Not because the files meant anything, but GateHouse thought it could sell the filing cabinets.)
In a town that has such a rich historical background, it is a shame that The Carthage Press no longer has any institutional memory. The background information would have gone well for a sidebar to Hacker's package, and I have seen countless other occasions in the past few years when some historical perspective was badly needed.
If you armed the Press' hard-working staff with that kind of resources (back issues, photos, files) the value of the newspaper would be greatly improved. That, sadly, does not appear to be a real concern for GateHouse Media.