I'm in my fith week of subbing for Mike Grant during his medical leave, and at the very least, my meeting coverage has improved, and at best, my writing is up to par with my growing confidence in it. It'd be dishonest not to give credit to my editor because the articles that print are always much more succinct and well done than the articles that I submit. In the short time I've been covering local meetings and events, I have met several interesting people who have led me to new learning and empathy, so ultimately, I've been in nerd heaven. One thing that's brought me down to earth this week is learning in an interview that an elected official in my home community who I've never met was planning to opt out of a meeting if he learned that I was going to be in attendance. All I can figure is he was afraid I'd write something unflattering about him, but I'm still baffled because I have no record of wantonly reporting from a negative perspective, and if I can ever get around his evasive maneuvers, I'd like to tell him what I teach my daughter when she disapproves of my honest evaluation of her work or behavior, "If you want me to say something good, do something good, and I'll say it. You're in control of the truth about you. If you don't want the truth I tell to be something bad, don't create a bad truth for me to tell. It's that simple." Amy Goodwin, the mayor of Charleston, West Virginia, describes the relationship between government and journalism like this, "Journalism is the only profession explicitly protected by the U.S. Constitution, because journalists are supposed to be the check and balance on government." John Adams said it this way many years prior, "The liberty of the press is essential to the security of the state." I nor any other writer for the Times Herald will fabricate or spin stories in a negative light. There is no need for any elected official or other individual to fear our coverage or dodge our company. If you do, that's when suspicion grows. Remember, live the truth that you want to be told about you. Live the truth you want others to hear about you, and then, you won't have to feel the need to deprive yourself of my delightful company. Really, it's a simple concept, but current leadership's tendency to project guilt onto the media, rather than owning up to it, doesn't seem to get it. The best way to keep what you want people to believe is "fake news" out of the media is to live a truth you're proud to own up to, and that's the truth no matter with what political party a person affiliates, and then, if you fail and something upsetting gets out there, I'd highly recommend kittens. Recently, I adopted two from the Martin County Humane Society where kittens are more plentiful than space to house them, and when my sweet, warm, fuzzy, Norowskiwatintotin curls up under my chin to snuggle and purr, all bad, disappointing, and hurtful things in this world wash away. Norow, as we call him for short, was named Rowdy at the shelter, but he has demonstrated no such behavior since living with us, and is in fact, totally chill, so we took the n-o from not and the r-o-w from rowdy and came up with Norow, which begged to have skiwattintottin tagged on to it. Norow was adopted with a second kitten whose shelter name was Jolie. My daughter wanted to rename her Solo because she was the only one of them who meowed constantly, and therefore; assumed to be singing a solo, but Solo also had markings that reminded Lili of her beloved, old dance teacher named Amelia, so that was added, and in the end, her name became Solo Amelia Jolie, so ultimately, we ended up with two warm, snuggly fuzzballs that emit soothing ambient noise and make the world a much better place even when it's not.