Butch's Brew: Let's take a tour of a recent edition of the newspaper

I picked up a recent issue of the KDM newspaper and started thumbing through it to see what might catch my eye and what may have that key ingredient to entice me to completely read a particular article from start to finish. That doesn't happen too often.

I enjoy reading the KDM and other local newspapers. It is my way of keeping up with what's happening in our area.

Part of my thought process is deciding if I'm going to read or not read a particular article.

I am not saying I believe there are hardly enough quality stories in the newspaper, at least those that interest me. I am also not saying the reporters are not doing a quality job of covering local news and information. They can only base their stories on the events or information they are provided and what occurred in our sleepy little oasis in northwestern Arizona.

Most of the time, I only read the headline, the lead paragraph, and possibly the bridge (the second paragraph) of a story. Then I make up my mind if I am going to continue reading the article in its entirety. Some subjects and/or articles do not excite or interest me so I just wonder on to the next article.

There are two main types of articles - hard news and soft news, such as features. Hard news generally refers to up-to-the-minute news and events that are reported immediately, while soft news is background information or human-interest stories written for entertainment and information.

Hard news may be about events such as motor vehicle accidents, something that impacts residents, the closing down or opening of a business and/or maybe about particular actions such as county and city government dealings.

Everyone must first realize hard news stories are written in the inverted pyramid style and may contain the five Ws of journalism: who, what, where, when and why; and how may also be occasionally being tossed into the mix.

Some may believe that it is a lot to put at the beginning of the story, but hard news begs people to read on. An example would be, "Five people were injured and three others died today in a free-for-all while attempting to purchase merchandise at a Kingman store going out of business.

The bridge would normally say, "The names of the dead and injured are being withheld pending notification of next of kin."

A further explanation of the five Ws and H are: Who did that? What happened? When did it take place? Where did it take place? Why did that happen? It may also contain how it occurred.

I understand hard news is a fact of life and "sells newspapers," but I personally enjoy reading and writing feature stories, articles and/or commentaries.

Soft news stories are normally written in the pyramid style. What this means is the beginning of the article may be short and sweet and possibly will just be the reporter telling a story in his or her own words, but attempts to have the person read on. The facts may become more important and evident as the story continues. Many good reporters will end the story directing the reader to think about what was said in the beginning. Many bloggers also use this type of writing style to make direct reference to what the article was in the beginning.

An example of writing in the soft-news category would be a blog I recently composed about heart healthy. The beginning of the blog said, "More than 6 million Americans are hospitalized annually due to cardiovascular disease and an additional 250,000 die of heart attacks each year before they can even reach a hospital for medical treatment." The blog ended up saying, "There is a wealth of information available at the touch of a fingertip on the worldwide net about cardiovascular disease, and on brochures at various medical facilities and senior centers. Take time to do research on the causes of cardiovascular disease and be heart healthy!"

Okie dokie, back to what I discovered in the recent KDM. As soon as I picked the copy of the newspaper up, I noticed Ryan Abella had discovered the fun-filled world of Geocaching (yes I've done it too) that the whole family can do together, and Kim Steele opined about the various school superintendents expressing their displeasure with the governor's proposed educational budged cuts. Both articles I found interesting and caused me to read them in their entirety.

When I read the newspapers, what I find most interesting is that everyone keeps indicating the economy is in the dumpers, but contained in the newspaper each day is a laundry list of building permits and licenses being issued. Just alone in the Feb. 20 issue of the KDM, were 56 building permits and licenses issued that included 22 new residential family home constructions. Either our residents dug up their life savings from the Mason jar stashed in the back yard or the economy is now turning to the better.

Understandingly, both city and county entities need revenues to continue functioning, but I feel paying more than $4,000 for a single-family-home-construction project permit is ludicrous and a bit over the top in the way of fees paid just to build a dream house.

My wife Chris believes that building permits should be done away with and that people should be able to do whatever they want and build whatever they want on their own properties, as long as it doesn't negatively impact the neighbors. But as life goesn, we have always succumbed to the government's excessive bureaucracy and paid for the permits to improve and/or expand our little oasis in the middle of the desert.

One must wonder if the economy is actually getting better or is it just a pipe dream. I decided to check out the hodgepodge of classified ads and legal notices contained in the newspaper. I wanted to see if there was anything that jumped off the page and said, "Take me home." I didn't find anything that I just could not go without, but I did discover was there were an inordinate amount of legal notices. It appears that a lot of people are being sued or their homes are being sold from under their feet. Remember people in authority are saying the economy is better, but I guess that doesn't reflect those who don't have the money to pay their bills. More and more people are losing their jobs because of the stagnant economy.

Of course, the same issue of the newspaper contained the never ending sagas of health inspections by the Mohave County Health Department.

With the poor ratings some places receive, I wouldn't spend my hard-earned money there because I figured I'd get sick because of the substandard conditions in the restaurant. Why can't eateries maintain a healthy environment and follow the rules set in place?

Then there was the who's-who of names of local residents in the obituaries; the Golden Valley Fire District's apparent inability to stay out of the limelight and seemingly being the "As the World Turns" TV program of Mohave County; and that a couple of actors passed through town and stopped at one of the local eateries. At least there wasn't a bunch of front page stories full of crimes being committed.

I can't believe what some people write in "letters to the editor." They cover the gamut of topics and subjects. A day doesn't pass without someone penning a letter complaining about someone or something, thanking someone for help or even praising a person or organization for them "giving a helping out in times of need." However, some of the letters just seem to be a bitch session and a way for the author to vent. Oh well, I guess that is what that particular part of the newspaper is designed for; it's a way of the people to express their opinions and praise.

I can't leave out the various other civic and religion posts in the newspaper community section, including a detailed list of churches in the area.

However I am perplexed about one thing that caught my eye when I thumbed my way though the Feb. 20 issue. I wonder why there are so many churches in Mohave County, specifically in Kingman and the surrounding areas. There seems to be a church on just about every corner.

There are 78 churches listed in the most-recent KDM for Kingman and the surrounding areas, but only 19 in the Bullhead City area that has a similar population. I wonder if the demographics of northwestern Mohave County, specifically Kingman and the surrounding areas, dictate the vast majority of folks in Kingman are more spiritually needy than their sister city to the west. There are even five (there may be more, but not listed in the newspaper) located in the sleepy little desert community of Golden Valley where my wife and I reside. All I can say about this subject is I personally don't believe a person needs a wood, brick and mortar structure to visit in order to speak with or pray to the entity that is referred to by numerous names. You know what I am talking about. There are more than 100 names associated to the All Mighty. They include: Adoni, God, El Hai, Elah Elahin, Elah Shemaya, Allah, Harvesp-tawan, Mino-tum, Anah-aoshaka, Pajohdehad, Gar-a-gar-gar and Khudawand to name just a few. But the biggest thing is that praying and believing can be done in the privacy of one's own homes.

I am all for life, liberty, freedom of speech and freedom of choice when it comes an individual's personal life and religion.

Even though I normally don't make my thoughts and opinions known, I guess this particular blog is my way of venting like everyone else.

If you'd like to read more of Butch's blogs, visit butchmeriwether.com.