Column Writing Example

Here is a link to the column piece I chose to talk about.

This particular column was written by George Ayoub, a Grand Island Independent writer for
the Omaha World Herald.

This column talks about Nebraska weather and how people tend to overreact towards it. For example, the last snow storm was predicted to be one of the worst we’ve seen in quite a while. And yes, it was, but he thinks people over reacted as they always do.

His main point he was trying to make is that weather is being marketed too much and when the time comes that there really is an emergency, people may be so immune to hearing about bad weather that they may not really take it seriously.

I like what he says here, “For me, who pays more attention to the weather than I should, the marketing of storm coverage is a disturbing trend precisely because eventually it changes our response to the facts.”

“The problem with the oversell is this: When the legend really comes, who will believe it?”

I enjoyed his writing style or his voice because I find it somewhat similar to my own. I tend to use a sarcastic tone to get my point across and he does the same in this column by telling how people over react.

I also liked how he built up to the main point he was trying to make. It made me want to continue reading the column to see what his view on this topic was. He used short, crisp paragraphs that make it easy and fun to read. My favorite thing though, was his sarcastic tone here and there that expressed how he truly felt.

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Final draft: Supporting Small Businesses

All too familiar in small towns is the sight of a small business building with a sign on the door that says for sale. Small towns across the board are seeing this more and more. The question that remains is why? 

One answer to that question is convenience. It is convenient to just stop at a big chain store such as Wal-Mart on your way home from work and pick up everything you need in one, convenient place. 

Another answer is expense. Small town stores have to charge a higher price for their goods in order to stay afloat. Where as big chain stores can charge less which draws the customers in. 

Unfortunately for small grocery store businesses, coming soon to Kearney will be a Hy-Vee, fully equipped with a fuel station and convenience store. The site will sit on 12 acres of land at the northeast corner of Second Avenue and 52d Street. 

One of Kearney’s small business grocery stores known as Boogart’s, is pretty calm about Hy-Vee coming to town. Manager, Evan Smith, says “People will go to Hy-Vee at first, but they will be back. We try to offer lots of benefits. We’re convenient and easy to shop in, and we offer local Nebraska products. We’ve been here a long time.”

One store manager that was not so calm about the onset of new, larger grocery stores coming to town was Bob Wilson, owner of Bob’s Superstore. Even the history of 43 years wasn’t enough to keep the doors open at Bob’s Superstore. The small business had to close its doors last September. 

“Little nicks here and there took their toll. Those nicks included the reconstruction of East 25th Street two years ago that kept customers away; the opening of supermarkets in stores such as Walmart, Target and Menards; and other factors, including 18 new restaurants in Kearney in recent years,” says Wilson.

According to Ruth Comer, Hy-Vee’s assistant vice president for media relations, “HyVee officials are still working out the size and other details of the supermarket. It will take two years to get the store planned, approved, and built.”

So Boogarts, Sun Mart, and Apple Market are safe for two more years. But what will the ultimate fate of these small grocery businesses be once Hy-Vee comes to town? Is the idea of small business stores slowly becoming just a memory of the way things used to be? 

Citizens of Kearney should take a break every now and then from their weekly routine of stopping at big chain stores such as Wal-Mart and soon-to-be Hy-Vee to stock up for their next week’s groceries and instead stop in to one of their local small business grocery stores to make their purchases. 

If anything, they will be glad they did. A friendlier experience and shorter lines are almost guaranteed. It may cost a few dollars more to support a small business, but in the end, those extra dollars spent there is worth the hassle that will be saved by not shopping in a big chain store. Each purchase made at these small businesses will help keep their doors open, so why not give it a try?

Read more about the new Hy-Vee coming to Kearney here.

Read what small business owners have to say about the new Hy-vee here.

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Second Draft Editorial: Supporting Small Businesses

All too familiar in small towns is the sight of a small business building with a sign on the door that says for sale. Small towns across the board are seeing this more and more. The question that remains is why? 

One answer to that question is convenience. It is convenient to just stop at a big chain store such as Wal-Mart on your way home from work and pick up everything you need in one, convenient place. 

Another answer is expense. Small town stores have to charge a higher price for their goods in order to stay afloat. Where as big chain stores can charge less which draws the customers in. 

Unfortunately for small grocery store businesses, coming soon to Kearney will be a Hy-Vee fully equipped with a fuel station and convenience store. The site will sit on 12 acres of land at the northeast corner of Second Avenue and 52d Street. 

One of Kearney’s small business grocery stores known as Boogart’s, is pretty calm about Hy-Vee coming to town. Manager, Evan Smith, says “People will go to Hy-Vee at first, but they will be back. We try to offer lots of benefits. We’re convenient and easy to shop in, and we offer local Nebraska products. We’ve been here a long time.”

One store manager that was not so calm about the onset of new, larger grocery stores coming to town was Bob Wilson, owner of Bob’s Superstore. Even the history of 43 years wasn’t enough to keep the doors open at Bob’s Superstore. The small business had to close its doors last September. 

“Little nicks here and there took their toll. Those nicks included the reconstruction of East 25th Street two years ago that kept customers away; the opening of supermarkets in stores such as Walmart, Target and Menards; and other factors, including 18 new restaurants in Kearney in recent years,” says Wilson.

According to Ruth Comer, Hy-Vee’s assistant vice president for media relations, “HyVee officials are still working out the size and other details of the supermarket. It will take two years to get the store planned, approved, and built.”

So Boogarts, Sun Mart, and Apple Market are safe for two more years. But what will the ultimate fate of these small grocery businesses be once Hy-Vee comes to town? Is the idea of small business stores slowly becoming just a memory of the way things used to be? 

Citizens of Kearney should take a break every now and then from their weekly routine of stopping at big chain stores such as Wal-Mart and soon-to-be Hy-Vee to stock up for their next week’s groceries and instead stop in to one of their local small business grocery stores to make their purchases. 

If anything, they will be glad they did. A friendlier experience and shorter lines are almost guaranteed. It may cost a few dollars more to support a small business, but in the end, those extra dollars spent there is worth the hassle that will be saved by not shopping in a big chain store. Each purchase made at these small businesses will help keep their doors open, so why not give it a try?

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Rough Draft Local Issue: Supporting the Small Town Business

All too familiar in small towns is the sight of a small brick building on main street with a sign on the door that says for sale. Small towns across the board are seeing this more and more. The question that remains is why?

One answer to that question is convenience. It is convenient to just stop at a big chain store such as Wal-Mart on your way home from work and pick up everything you need in one, convenient place.

Another answer is expense. Small town stores have to charge a higher price for their goods in order to stay afloat. Where as big chain stores can charge less which draws the customers in.

On the other hand, there are some people who are strong supporters of their towns that would go out of their way just to shop at these small town businesses to help keep them afloat. They also try to avoid giving in to the big chain stores.

These people are the ones who fight for their towns when they hear the possibility of a Wal-Mart moving in. These people are the ones who thrive on the sense of community felt when driving down Main Street in a small town and the sight of the small businesses thriving.

What can be done to prevent these small town businesses from closing? People should realize that although it may be convenient to get everything they need in one large store, they can get what they need and give more back to the community by shopping in a few small town stores in their community.

Instead of buying groceries from Wal-Mart, try going to Boogarts, Apple-Market, or Bob’s Superstore. However, Bob’s is no longer an option and what a shame that is. The family run superstore of 43 years was forced to close its doors in Sept. 2012.

Bob Wilson, owner of what used to be Bob’s Superstore said, “Little nicks here and there took their toll. Those nicks included the reconstruction of East 25th Street two years ago that kept customers away; the opening of supermarkets in stores such as Walmart, Target and Menards; and other factors, including 18 new restaurants in Kearney in recent years.”

Is the idea of small town stores slowly becoming just a dream that can’t come true? It seems as though more new stores that come to a small town survive by a thread for a little while and are gone just as fast as they came to town.

Citizens of small towns, even towns the size of Kearney, should every now and then take a break from their weekly routine of stopping at Wal-Mart to stock up for their next week’s groceries and essentials and instead stop in to one of their local small town businesses to make their purchases.

If anything, they will be glad they did. A friendlier experience and shorter lines are almost guaranteed. It may cost you a few dollars more to support a small town business, but in the end, those extra dollars you will spend there is worth the hassle you will save by not shopping in a big chain store.

Local Issue Editorial: Expansion

For those of us who live in the country, you know the fear of one day having your land bought right out from under you. More and more that is becoming a reality. My boyfriend’s family have lived on a farm their entire lives and now their land is being bought out from under them. 

This issue is scary because Omaha continues to grow and most likely will never stop. Even my parents have been approached about selling our land so they can widen the highway that runs in front of our property. It’s scary to think about, but one day people may be forced to sell. 

It’s a shame to buy out farm land and turn it into housing developments. Yes, people need new houses I suppose, but people also need to eat. The land they are forcing people to sell is what is feeding our country.

My argument here in a nutshell will be about buying out farm land from underneath people, forcing them to move and replacing farm grounds with residential housing. Housing should be built in other places, not on farm ground. Something like that…

Local Issue Editorial: Small town drama

Back in December of 2012, my best friend’s brother was killed in a car accident after leaving a bar in Waterloo, Neb., my hometown. There was alcohol involved as well as reckless driving and speeding. Come to find out, my cousin, who was bar tending at the bar that night, was the one that served him the alcohol. Keep in mind that the boy who died was only 19, and so was my cousin who was serving him. She has just recently received her license to serve alcohol. Charges are now being pressed against her for serving alcohol to minors. The charges are even worse because the minor she served it to ended up dying in a car accident. 

What makes it even worse, she handed him her car keys at the bar and told him he could take her car since a friend of his had dropped him off at the bar hours earlier. Now, my cousin is in some big trouble and can face up to 5 years in prison for what she did to contribute to his death. 

What makes this such a touchy subject for me is that my best friend’s brother was killed because of my cousin’s actions. To top it all off, my cousin and her brother were very close friends. 

My argument on this subject would be whether or not my cousin should be pressed with such harsh charges. Honestly, I think she should. She should have known better than to serve him alcohol because he was underage and then hand him her keys? There is a lot I could argue on this topic. 

My main concern about writing about this topic would be that I may be bias one way or another because I know both people involved.

Local Issue Editorial: Small Town Businesses

In these next few blog posts, I am just going to be talking about a few possible local issues for next editorial.

One idea I had is about my boyfriend’s hometown, Springfield, Neb., which is also close to my hometown or Waterloo. The idea is to talk about how small businesses on main street are not able to survive very long. Bigger businesses are slowly creeping in on these small town communities and stealing away the local main street businesses. What needs to be done to help these small businesses or is it a lost cause?

It’s sad to see a business move in on main street and only be able to survive for a season, if that. It may be convenient and cheaper to just run to the nearest Wal-Mart, but wouldn’t you rather put your money back into the community rather than give it to big name businesses that aren’t hurting for it?

This is just something I’ve been thinking about and seems to ring a bell to most small town, main street businesses.

Eighty is the new sixteen (2nd Draft: State Issue Editorial)

Sweet, sixteen. Those innocent days when one anxiously awaited those two words all sixteen-year-olds were dying to hear. “You passed.” Fast-forward sixty-four years later to age eighty and the process begins all over again. Only this time, a cognitive test must be passed in order to renew a driver’s license and the elderly are not anxiously awaiting this one.

Members of the Nebraska Legislature’s Transportation and Telecommunications Committee are pushing to pass a bill that would require anyone over eighty-years-old to pass a cognitive test to determine whether they are both physically and mentally capable of driving. Nebraska would be the first state to require a cognitive test for elderly, but not the first to demand extra requirements when it comes to the elderly renewing their licenses. 

Eighty-year-old drivers may pose a threat to society when they hit the streets in their Cadillacs and Lincoln Town Cars, but one could also argue that sixteen-year-olds with their lead feet and quick thumbs pose just as much if not more of a threat to society. So why are the elderly the only ones lawmakers want to take these cognitive tests? In fact, why should anyone have to?

Scottsbluff Senator, John Harms, who is an advocate for the passing of this bill, stated that, “Cognitive testing is necessary to ensure drivers don’t have any impairments, such as dementia, that effect their reasoning, judgment or memory. Drivers who fail a cognitive test could take a written driving test.” 

Wait a minute. If you fail you can take a written driving test? So they do trust you to drive if you can pass a written driving test and not a cognitive test. Then why require a cognitive test in the first place? Most eighty-year-old drivers would take less offense to the requirement of taking a written driving test versus a cognitive test to ensure they are capable of driving.

 The best way to determine if a driver is capable of driving is to drive with them. Not to give them a test, see if they pass, then judge a book by its cover. Who better to trust on the streets than someone who has sixty-four plus years of experience as opposed to a year or two? 

 Elderly drivers should not be required to take a cognitive test just because they are elderly. Seventy-six-year-old, retired state driver’s license examiner, Jack Sample of Grand Island, said it best when he said, “A family doctor or a family member should decide when it’s time to take away the keys of an older driver, not an examiner.” Coming from a retired driver’s license examiner himself, that statement says it all.

 

 

Who will break the news? (Final Draft: State Issue Editorial)

Members of the Nebraska Legislature’s Transportation and Telecommunications Committee are pushing to pass a bill that would require anyone over eighty-years-old to pass a cognitive test that would determine whether they are both physically and mentally capable of driving. Nebraska would be the first state to require a cognitive test for elderly, but not the first to demand extra requirements when it comes to the elderly renewing their licenses.

Eighty-year-old drivers may pose a threat to society when they hit the streets in their Cadillacs and Lincoln Town Cars, but one could also argue that young teens with their lead feet and quick thumbs pose just as much of a threat to society. So why are the elderly the only ones lawmakers want to take these cognitive tests? In fact, why should anyone have to?

Scottsbluff Senator, John Harms, who is an advocate for the passing of this bill, stated that, “Cognitive testing is necessary to ensure drivers don’t have any impairments, such as dementia, that effect their reasoning, judgment or memory. Drivers who fail a cognitive test could take a written driving test.”

Then why require a cognitive test in the first place if a written test is available to those who fail it? Most eighty-year-old drivers would take less offense to the requirement of taking a written driving test versus a cognitive test to ensure they are capable of driving.

The best way to determine if a driver is capable of driving is to drive with them. Not to give them a test, see if they pass, then judge a book by its cover. Who better to trust on the streets than someone who has sixty-five plus years of experience as opposed to a year or two?

Elderly drivers should not be required to take a cognitive test just because they are elderly. Seventy-six-year-old, retired state driver’s license examiner, Jack Sample of Grand Island, said it best when he said, “A family doctor or a family member should decide when it’s time to take away the keys of an older driver, not an examiner.” Coming from a retired driver’s license examiner himself, that statement says it all.

Family doctors with a medical standpoint should be the ones to inform a person that they should no longer get behind the wheel. Rather than breaking the news to the elderly that they cannot drive anymore at the DMV, at least give them the respect of hearing those words from their personal doctor who knows their personal health history the best.

It is understood that elderly drivers are more likely to cause accidents due to their decline in health as they age, but we cannot point all the fingers at them. There are plenty of other people that should not have the privilege to drive, but we let them simply because they can pass a test. Not all people are good testers. We learned this in high school and college. Just because someone fails a test does not necessarily mean they do not know the information. That is why the DMV should not be the ones to tell elderly drivers they can no longer drive. Leave the fate of these elderly drivers in their doctor’s hands.

Links to sources:

San Francisco Chronicle

Omaha World Herald