• Last modified 51 days ago (May 29, 2024)


Exorcising ghosts

Had it not been for the unfathomable events of Aug. 11, Joan Meyer would have turned 99 last Thursday.

She undoubtedly would have preferred to begin her 100th year peeping at squirrels consuming mass quantities of peanuts in her backyard, debating whether a comma is needed between a month and a year, fretting over a new kitten’s persistent shredding of out-of-town inserts from another paper, and gloating more often than we would like to admit whenever coming up with a “Jeopardy!” answer that stumped her son.

Still, she probably rests easier knowing that one of her plaintive final questions — “Where are all the good people?” — finally is being answered, albeit long after a gang of seven police officers stormed her home and figuratively and literally broke her heart.

She would be encouraged that the non-profit Institute for Justice is helping Ruth Herbel in her courageous battle to challenge the weaponization of the justice system against anyone who dares pierce the shroud behind which questionable government activities occur.

She would take pride — or, at least, consolation — in the many prizes and honors (including another one we can’t announce until June 22) bestowed upon the newspaper to which she devoted her life.

She would be sincerely touched by the continually improving floral memorial outside our office and the generous contributions readers have made to support it.

Still, she would wonder, as any mother hen would, how well her biological child and professionally adopted children at the newspaper office were coping with feelings and pressures that only people like Ruth and Ron Herbel can begin to comprehend.

She would understand, as the rest of us often say, that whatever heroism we’re credited with didn’t occur in the first week after the raid. It occurred last week, this week, next week as we continue to cope with the raid’s aftereffects.

She’d be mightily concerned about one of those aftereffects, as the rest of us rightfully are, as well.

Just before the raid, the newspaper was switching to a complicated new computerized bookkeeping system. The raid so disrupted the process that several hundred of the more than 7,000 customers we deal with for subscriptions and advertising have received monthly statements sporadically if at all during the 10 months since the raid.

We’ve brought in costly CPA firms and tons of extra help to try to get the system back up and running, but only now are we beginning to see how to send statements that, because of the delays, are sure to be of a size that will shock many of our best customers.

We will, of course, waive finance charges and accept whatever payment plans suit our customer’s needs, but we can only pray that they will understand that we faced circumstances beyond our control and that they will accept without consequence our most heartfelt apologies.

For some, of course, it won’t be a problem. Every item we sold was accompanied by a proof or invoice, clearly detailing the cost. It’s only those who file away invoices and pay only from statements who are likely to be surprised.

Struggling short-staffed because of the raid yet still needing to produce a high-quality paper each week, we soon will begin explaining and distributing statements. We hope our customers will continue to support us just as we will support whatever payment schedules they propose.

We can’t change the past. We can only hope to go forward with full transparency and honesty. It’s what Joan Meyer would have done. We will do no less.


Last modified May 29, 2024