Getting down and dirty….

Richard Mahoney—Seaway News
Getting down and dirty….

By now, most of you know that I have succeeded Rick Shaver as Publisher and General Manager of The Seaway News. Obviously, it will be a challenge to try to replace a man who has been synonymous with this paper for so many years.

However, I will do my utmost to continue the tradition of turning out the best community newspaper possible for the many loyal readers and advertisers who have relied on and have supported this publication for almost 40 years. I officially started my new job April 15 but already I have realized that I have joined a dedicated and talented team. Many of my new coworkers are long-time staff members who have seen it all in this ever-changing newspaper business. So the process of “breaking in” a new publisher ought to be relatively painless.

It is perhaps appropriate that this transition to a new manager occurs in spring, a time of fresh starts and renewal, a season that seems to be arriving earlier every year.

In recent years, the seasonal rituals determined by the weather have been skewed. You can be raking leaves one day, and the next day you are digging out from a late winter snowstorm. You can tap maple syrup in February, get a wood tick in March and be mowing the lawn in April. The freeze-thaw cycles have become unpredictable.

Sadly, one rite that has not been affected by our changing climate is the annual emergence of litter that appears in massive volumes as soon as the snow begins to retreat, potholes start growing and weeds begin cropping up. It seems that garbage receptacles have become almost as rare as affordable apartments. A scarcity of bins might help explain the huge amounts of trash that are deposited in ditches and on curbs. We are allegedly more environmentally conscious than ever before, but check out the debris strewn along our highways and biways, and you are reminded that, in many respects, ours is indeed a throw-away society.

A stroll along a street or concession reveals the volume and variety of the items motorists feel compelled to  toss out. And this is not your run-of-the-mill refuse. In addition to the usual assortment of fast food containers, coffee cups and cans, you might come across a floor lamp, kitchen appliances and certain battery-operated toys, which, er, are intended to help adults relax, in the privacy of their own homes. The sad part is that the litter seems to have a life of its own; it appears to multiply. Regardless of how much civic-minded citizens try to keep their part of the world clean, the illegal and inconsiderate dumpers always seem to have the upper hand.

Meanwhile, when they are not collecting roadside trash, many citizens are eagerly getting down and dirty on their own properties. Thaw signals a return to gardening, a passion that is based on hope, and the victory of optimism over experience. Visions of perfect lush expanses of vegetables and flowers have been dancing in the heads of green thumbs during the dark cold months. Now it is time to get out there and make those dreams take root and come true. Soil has been proven to contain elements that help improve the mood, and help us forget the troubles of the world, such as littering, climate change, and the price of groceries.

So that’s it, my first column as Publisher-General Manager of The Seaway News. In future installments, I intend to deal with more burning issues. Let me know what you think. E-mail me at

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