Niagara Gazette — The Medina Journal-Register will soon shut its doors for good.
That’s a tough sentence for me to write.
The Journal-Register is where I got my start in this business. It was a tiny daily in a sleepy rural community, the near-perfect place for a guy like me to test the waters and find what I liked best.
I discovered in Medina that as much as I wanted to cover the Buffalo Bills or the New York Yankees for a living, I despised late nights answering phones and fielding swimming and bowling scores. I soon realized a change in direction was in order.
Luckily, as was the case at the newspaper at times, I happened to be alone in the office one afternoon when the phone rang and a person on the other end told me the bank in the Village of Lyndonville had been robbed by some armed gunmen.
I was first on the scene and first with the story. It was, as I recall, my first interview with a real, live agent from the FBI.
It was quite a thrill, enough to put me on a path to covering more general news. Eventually, I ended up attending meetings of the Orleans County Legislature, a body that I often joke consisted of six Republicans and one Democrat who voted with the Republicans.
There were crime and court stories too, including one or two about a group of local drug dealers, one of whom I’m pretty sure was behind an anonymous death threat I once received.
Yep, Orleans County was not always quite as sleepy as its reputation.
There were plenty of lighter moments, like the day a guy who was attempting to kayak all of the waters in New York state wandered into our office looking to be interviewed. I later documented a trip I took with him along the Erie Canal.