June 13, 2013

In organizing files following the passing last Monday of my uncle, our longtime publisher James B. Wilson, we've been delighted to find many historical items - related not only to our family, but the community and the newspaper, and the media business itself.

One of my favorites concerns a story about my grandfather the late James W. Wilson, who ran the newspaper from 1929 until his death in 1977.

Near the end of his career, and life, a woman visited our newspaper offices with a fairly common question: her son had been arrested but she wanted the details kept out of the newspaper.

"I can't do that," my grandfather responded. "If our reporters pick up the story, it will be printed."

"But will you keep it out for a consideration?" the woman responded.

"Why, yes," my grandfather said.

"How much?" she asked.

"Well," Mr. Wilson replied. "You meet my price, and I'll sell you the newspaper. Then you can print what you want, keep out what you want."

Grandpa, of course, never had any intention of selling, but you get the point.

My answer to people who seek to keep reports out the newspaper: "If you don't want to see it in the paper, then don't do it."

Some newspapers even use variations of that comment in mastheads.

When it comes to criminal and courts records, we print what's in the system. That includes a speeding ticket I just paid the other day after the Carroll police nabbed me driving 35 mph on Grant Road, which has a posted limit of 25 mph. I sent my fine to the Carroll County Clerk of Court, and my name will appear - again - in the public record section of the Carroll Daily Times Herald for speeding.

There are worse things than driving an illegal 35 on Grant Road, but again, you get the point.


Following the passing of my uncle we are so thankful for the wonderfully kind and warm cards and comments and prayers.

I had the opportunity to speak with Joe Ryan, the retired president of Delavan Manufacturing, now living in Clear Lake.

Delavan (today UTC Aerospace Systems) opened the Carroll facility at 400 Bella Vista Drive on the eastern edge of town in February 1991.

As Judge Ron Schechtman, our former mayor, pointed out in a eulogy, Ryan and my uncle worked closely on the Delavan Carroll siting.

"Instead of saying, 'We've got this, that and the other thing,' he said, 'What are you trying to accomplish?" Ryan said of my uncle's representation of Carroll at the time.

Ryan, 82, and my uncle became acquainted through involvement with state business and industry efforts. Bottom line, Ryan told me the other day, he trusted my uncle, which was a pivotal fact in Delavan's decision to come to Carroll.

"He was right up there on point doing his thing," Ryan said. "The results really were great for Carroll."