Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bad blogger, bad blogger

It has been a while since I've written in this blog, but not because I've given up writing; quite the contrary. I have been writing more of late.

In fact, I recently became re-employed. I was laid off in March from a small weekly, Illinois newspaper where I have worked since 1999. Even after my husband and I moved to Arkansas, I contributed stories of local interest to that paper. That always cracks me up. But except for face-to-face interviews and physically covering meetings, most of what I do can be done over the phone or via email, virtually from anywhere.

Last fall, another reporter, was also let go for cost-savings. She decided to start her own newspaper. Though she and I have never met, she had heard good things about my work. She sent me an email to ask if I'd consider writing for her. I agreed.

It took a while to get up to speed on what was happening in neighborhoods 600 miles away from where I live, but with long friendships and acquaintances, it wasn't too difficult.

Some of my latest projects have had to do with the state's effort to build a new airport. It is a project that to me never really made sense. But, Illinois politicans remain determined to dust off a 1968 idea, spend money on new marketing strategies, and keep the thing alive. Most of their promises continue to amount to nothing more than politcian-speak. I doubt they will ever succeed.

I've followed their progress, or lack of it, since 1985, back when I was a simple housewife and stay-at-hom mom who heard about what I thought was an outlandish scheme to build an airport larger than O'Hare International Airport, one of the busiest airports in the world in the farm fields some 40 miles south of Chicago. It was easy to be 'no airport.'

I was born in Chicago and grew up a few miles from O'Hare.

Those are very different places than the small farm town surrounded by country where I lived. Yet it was just a few miles from the project's proposed location. An airport just didn't fit. I was inspired to fight the thing, so I hung up my apron and grabbed a pencil and writing pad. I never thought the battle would last most of my adult life.

The people didn't want it. The local governments didn't want it. The airlines didn't want it. Only the politicans, real estate agents, construction workers, and land speculators wanted it. And they had all the political clout. The good folks that would be displaced had none.

That pen and paper came in handy because just a few months later, the fates led me to the newsroom of a daily newspaper who hired me to write about this and many other things. And now, as of last November, that is what I continue to do.

Some of the stories I've written about this project and others can be viewed on my blog at CHBlog. Most of them are published.

It is pretty late for New Years' resolutions, but I think I will make one anyway. I'm going to try to be more diligent at writing in my blog.