It’s the people you meet who make the newspaper business a fun job to this day.
You never know who is going to walk through the door and what their story will be. You never know where you’ll be sent or who you’ll meet.
Some of the most interesting people, though, can end up being the folks you’ve worked beside.
Jemele Hill is one of those people.
Yes, the co-anchor of ESPN’s “SportsCenter” — the same person who recently called Donald Trump a “white supremacist.” She once worked at The Lima News, enjoyed eating at the downtown Kewpee, too. She was an intern here during the summer of 1994 — a wide-eyed freshman out of Michigan State ready to take on the world.
Keith Helmlinger, our city editor at the time, hired her at a job fair. Then editor Ray Sullivan questioned him about hiring someone with no experience. Keith’s answer was simple, “Trust me, she’s good.”
He was right.
Hill wasn’t here five minutes when we sent her out to talk with a man who was angry that the city was forcing him to cut down a huge oak tree. I don’t remember the particulars of the story, only that she did an excellent job. It was just the first of many “great jobs” by an enthusiastic Hill.
Jemele was a big hit in the newsroom — not just because she was a good journalist — but because she could hit. Catch, too. Turns out she was an all-star addition to our softball team.
Her career has been fun to follow.
We started seeing her bylines pop up on the wire services when she started working for the Detroit Free Press just a couple of years out of college. For the past 10 years she’s been climbing the ladder at ESPN. In February, she and Michael Smith became evening anchors of ESPN’s 6 p.m. flagship show, “SportsCenter.”
Now there’s that Trump thing.
The White House tried to get her fired.
ESPN didn’t go for it, but issued a statement saying Hill’s comments “do not represent the position of ESPN. We have addressed this with Jemele and she recognizes her actions were inappropriate.”
To that, Hill came back with a clarification, saying she stood by her comments as representative of her personal beliefs, noting “my regret is that my comments and the public way I made them painted ESPN in an unfair light.”
What will be next? Who knows.
But she sure has come a long way from writing about oak trees.
ROSES AND THORNS: Let’s see what a man with a metal detector can find in the rose garden.
Rose: To Steve Ackerman, of Lafayette, whose persistence helped him solve a mystery. About six years ago, he was using his metal detector when he found a Bath High School class ring that was buried in about 6 inches of dirt. The ring had the initials V-K-C. A week ago, Ackerman learned the ring belonged to Vernon Kent Crisp, who along with his wife, Janice, were killed in 1989 when a drunken driver crashed into the Crisp’s automobile. Ackerman was able to track down their daughter, Jesse Meeker, and presented her with the ring. Meeker, who still lives in the area, was 3 years old at the time of her parent’s death.
Rose: To Amy Sealts, a great choice for director of the Putnam County Community Improvement Corp.
Rose: To Diane and Brandon French, of Lima. They finished third in the the national mother-son United States Tennis Championships held in Williamsburg, Virginia, on Sept. 15-17, and are currently ranked 11th in the nation by the United States Tennis Association.
Rose: To Ellen Millott, of Kalida. She recently published a spiritual fiction novel called “Full of Clover” in hopes of passing on a message of forgiveness, especially to self. The profit from each book sold will be used to assist one of the most impoverished regions of Tanzania.
Thorn: To Hurricane Irma. It took a hurricane to keep Thelma (“Shorty” Glover) Grovesnor from attending the 70-year class reunion of Lima South High School. It was the only class reunion she’s ever missed, and the 10 who attended, noted it likely will be the last. Still, Thelma, who was a cheerleader in high school, continues to cheer for Lima today.
Thorn: Threatening comments made from students of two schools cause Columbus Grove police and Putnam County sheriff’s deputies to spend extra time patrolling around Columbus Grove schools as a precautionary measure.
Thorn: Last week I gave a thorn to a woman who crashed her car into the outdoor eating area of Tim Horton’s. It turns out she had a medical condition that caused the accident. A thorn here and an apology, too. Hope she’s doing better.
PARTING SHOT: “Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.” — William Cullen Bryant, American poet (1794-1878).
Jim Krumel is the editor of The Lima News. Contact him at 567-242-0391 or at The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima, Ohio 45807.