Thursday, January 19, 2006
Lamar "Small Town News' signing goes well
Thanks to those of you who came to the Lamar signing for my novel, "Small Town News" Monday at the Mary K. Finley Library. Library personnel were great and had everything set up nicely for me when I arrived.
And while I readily admit that I enjoyed selling 20 books in a couple of hours, the best part of the signing was the opportunity to see many old friends from the nearly 28 years since I first started to work for the Lamar Daily Democrat in May 1978.
Russell Pierson, the composing room foreman at the Democrat for more than three decades was there with his wife Imajean. Russell spent a considerable amount of time helping a 22-year-old reporter learn the ropes.
When I first arrived in Lamar, I ate many of my meals at a little restaurant right off the square. Geyne Shoff was one of those who worked there and I later worked with Geyne for years when she assisted Jerry Moyer in the Barton County circuit clerk's office.
Many of the Lamar people with whom I worked while I was with The Carthage Press and The Lamar Press were there also, including two of my favorite columnists with the Lamar Press, Nancy Hughes and Katie Young.
Kari Worsley (formerly Wegener) who worked for me at the Lamar Democrat in the late 1980s when she was a high school student dropped by. Kari and Peggy Brinkhoff won a second place award in investigative reporting in the Missouri Press Association Better Newspaper Contest as high schoolers for a series on city council members who suffered problems with their businesses due to their government service. Later, Kari and I did "The Murder at the 71 Motel" story which won first place in both general and investigative reporting at the Kansas City Press Club Heart of America Awards in 1989. We investigated a murder that had taken place in Nevada (the trial was originally scheduled to be held in Lamar) with Kari profiling the murder victim, while I profiled the accused killer.
Kari's parents, Ron and Karen Wegener, were also there, as well as Jill Purinton, who bought a copy of the book for her daughter, Cait, who proved her mettle as an investigative reporter during summer internships with The Carthage Press when she was in college. Cait became the only award-winner for the Lamar Press in its brief existence, taking a third place in investigative reporting in the Kansas City Press Club awards.
Old friend Lou Rix Scroggs and her husband, Dick, regular Turner Report readers, were kind enough to stop by as were three favorite Bettys, Betty Kuhn, Betty Gideon and Betty Gilkey, who was First Lady of the city of Lamar for nearly 40 years, when her husband Gerald, who died late last year, was mayor.
Other visitors included Barton County Prosecuting Attorney Steven Kaderly, Jerry Marti, County Treasurer Frances Cato, former Lamar High School English teacher and counselor Marilyn Selvey and Ron Bergman.
I apologize if I left anyone out. It was great to see everyone.
The next book signing for "Small Town News" is scheduled for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, at the Neosho/Newton County Library.