On dropping the ball, and tipping my hat

Allow me to offer both my thanks and my apologies.

First, to ‘Hollywood’ Wayne Joice, I apologize: we should have made the time to confirm or deny reports of your death before printing a letter saying you were no longer of this world.

Time constraint was an issue, and after hearing two second-hand reports attributed to Foodland and 55 Division, I opted to run the letter without getting any firsthand confirmation. Rest assured, secondhand sources, no matter how many or whom, will not be sufficient in future (nor were they normally sufficient in the past, for what it’s worth). In short, though it hurts to admit it, I dropped the ball on this one, so to speak.

Without question, the response from our readers was quick and varied. Some wrote and phoned to let us know Wayne was alive and in hospital recovering from a serious illness (and also selling pens outside said hospital). Others wrote to express their sadness at the loss that didn’t actually happen.

And a few wrote to share their opinions that street vendors, no matter how well known or loved by many, are still basically just asking for handouts, and shouldn’t be encouraged or tolerated on our streets.

Of course everyone is entitled to their opinion,  and in a neighbourhood where the startup of an Out of the Cold program was vigourously – if mostly anonymously – opposed by a few residents, it’s not a shock to discover some won’t be so pleased to see Wayne if he does end up back in his usual spot outside Foodland, selling pens to fund his oft-mentioned trip to Hollywood.

But diversity of opinion is part of  the beauty of any well-developed, healthy community.

Which brings me to the thanks portion of this piece: I’d like to thank our readers, for staying in touch with us, and in the process ensuring we stay in touch with you, and what matters to you. It’s not always easy to keep on top of everything that happens in the Beach and surrounding area, but with a dedicated group of readers, including our volunteer carriers, we do our best to share both what we discover through our journalistic endeavours, and to share the news we’re told by you.

Sometimes we get caught up in following the politics of the day; occasionally a small number of people make a great deal of noise about an issue of great concern to them; and sometimes we just didn’t hear about something that’s happening. Which is why it’s important to us that you keep telling us when we’re right, when we’re wrong and when you think there’s something important that you believe we should consider important too. After all, this is a community newspaper, and a non-profit one at that. Without our community’s investment in this institution, there is no Beach Metro News.

In short, thanks for caring enough to keep us on our toes. It truly is appreciated.

In other news, there are always some surprised to discover that we close our office for several weeks during the summer. Though it’s a long tradition begun long before the time of any of the current staff, it basically comes down to volunteers – when everyone’s away on holiday, there’s not enough people available to deliver the paper. So we switch to a once a month schedule, and we’ll be closing up our office as this paper hits the streets, until we reopen on Monday, Aug. 19.

In the meantime, have a great rest of the summer. See you on the beach.

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