Saturday, November 14, 2009

Big news in the small town


A story of mine that's running in tomorrow's paper:

NORTH PLAINS -- Mitch Ward has covered all the big news in North Plains. He has written about drive-through prayer boxes, Eagle Scout promotions and the opening of a store that specializes in fireplaces. The Elephant Garlic Festival has been front-page news four times.

Before Ward started The Beacon last year, word got around the old-fashioned way; businesses advertised by nailing a sign to a light pole. So most people were glad to get a monthly publication that snoops so they don't have to.

But every now and then, some controversial news comes through North Plains, and not everyone likes what the local rag has to say. So it was earlier this year when Ward found himself embroiled in one big small-town argument.

The town dust-up centered on annexation. Should the sleepy, bucolic community grow? Ward's detractors say the paper is "nothing more than a pro-annexation fish wrap," that he's trying to turn North Plains into the next Hillsboro.

But it's not just what he writes that irks them. It's that he writes at all. Having a newspaper is itself a sign of growth.

To read the rest, visit the Oregonian Web site

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