Some random thoughts from a small-town editor trying to help build a big-time paper:
*Though it's a thankless and unpaid job, there are probably times when it's fun to be a school board member.
It's a position of responsibility, of giving back to your community, of being a guardian of the past while keeping an eye on the future.
Many would suggest in the age of shrinking enrollments and rising expenses that consolidation - either within school districts or merging neighboring districts - is an obvious consideration - until you're in one of nine chairs around a school board's table.
That's when middle ground seems to be lacking, and hard decisions need to be made.
The Hollidaysburg Area School District is currently in the crosshairs of a tough call - whether to close one of its oldest elementary schools, Allegheny No. 1, or spend more than $3 million to renovate it.
Many members of the current board are relatively new, so they were fully aware this issue was coming. We wish them well in their decision because either way, they'll have critics.
*Those of us who miss the Mirror on Green Avenue - Kay Stephens, please raise your hand - sometimes are reminded that other than Phil Ray and Paul Singer, our current news staff has been at our "new" location (cornerstone 1993) in Logan Township longer than we were at the old building.
*More than the old location, I long for the French tomato soup at the Eureka.
*As expected, we had some negative feedback to our inaugural gatefold earlier this month.
The complaints stemmed from trouble holding the paper.
Since we know that not everybody reads us at the kitchen table, an executive order was quickly issued that the entire gatefold going forward will be an advertisement and will thus be easier to handle. The next gatefold will run on Feb. 28.
*This is the time of year when Mirror partnerships and branding efforts are in high gear. We just wrapped up the Alleghenies Adventure show, which will be followed by the Mirror Basketball Classic on March 30 at Mount Aloysius College and the Taste of the Alleghenies at The Park at Morrisons Cove on May 4-5.
*As you've seen from various shows and our glossy magazines (Blair Living, Mirror Moms, Alleghenies Adventure), the Mirror has ventured into a number of efforts beyond the daily paper.
We're introducing a 20 under 20 section, which will recognize the future leaders of central Pennsylvania. Criteria for selection include academic and cultural achievement and community service. Awardees will be selected by an independent panel.
A form is available on our website with a nomination deadline of March 20. News Editor Margaret Moses (946-7447) is the contact.
Ditto for our fifth annual 20 under 40. Its nomination deadline is March 23 to yours truly.
*One criticism expressed about our coverage of Joe Paterno's death was that we put a picture of JoePa with Jerry Sandusky on the front page of the Jan. 23 Mirror. For the record: It was not Sandusky. It was Rip Engle.
*Speaking of Sandusky, regardless of whether he's guilty or innocent, you'd think someone in his camp would get across the message that these are serious times and to get out of the car, in front of the nation's cameras, wearing a broad grin is just plain stupid.
*I get a kick out of the trolls on altoonamirror.com who fill up the comment section with complaints about the Mirror and express their daily general viciousness.
We must be doing something right since many of these people seem to spend half their morning on the site. Right, Bartstar?
*Community treasure Shirley Pechter, one of the area's most generous philanthropists, was honored by the Altoona Rotary Club as a Paul Harris fellow in a surprise during last week's lunch.
At 91 years and still very much in charge, Pechter, whose late husband Fred was also a Paul Harris fellow, received two standing ovations. Her response: "Had I known, I would have gone to the beauty shop."
Altoona Mirror Managing Editor Neil Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.