John Howell’s Column

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Snake bit Friday the 13th was on the 25th

Snake bit is what my daddy would have called it — one of those days when everything he did went wrong.

So it was with Friday’s paper. In a glitch we accidentally picked up pages 4 and 9 that had been printed for Thursday’s edition of The Southern Reporter and used them in place of our own pages 4 and 9. Perhaps you noticed.

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The loss of page 4 was easily remedied. With a change in the dateline, it is reproduced in its entirety at left as page 4 of this issue.

Page 9 was a bigger problem. Page 12 stated that the interviews with candidates for sheriff that continued there had begun on page 9. Not in that edition. Instead, there was a whole page of legal notices that had first appeared in the Thursday’s Southern Reporter.

Both interviews were immediately posted on our web site, on Friday morning and appear in this issue in their entireties.

Then there was a cutline under a picture where I not only mixed up names, I made up names that did not apply to the photo subjects or any of their kinfolks.

Snake bit.

In another story about the GE announcement program Tuesday, May 29, I made mention of the private luncheon but failed to mention the public announcement at 2:30 p.m. at the Batesville Civic Center. Everyone’s invited. Please come. It’ll help get some of this egg off my face.

This Tuesday edition was “put to bed” and printed on Friday in order to give us a chance to take the day off on Memorial Day.

That also means that we have to be imaginative to include news that won’t seem out of date by the time you receive this edition four days later. You be the judge.

And I still haven’t written about the city Fourth of July celebration at the Civic Center. Mayor Jerry Autrey has been determined to pull this off since last year and with a first-class fireworks display as its centerpiece.

The mayor — “Hizzoner” is the way I’ve got him listed in my cell phone — has been in consultation with William Burns of Custom Sign Company who produced dazzling Fourth of July fireworks displays at his home on Highway 35 in the 1990s.

Bands scheduled for the Fourth of July celebration are Electric Rodeo and Lighthorse Harry “from parts unknown,” the mayor continued.

Meanwhile, recent changes in our web site have allowed us to be a little more interactive with our online readers. Admittedly, it’s still a work in progress, but we have been able to count visitors for about a month and have been pleasantly surprised at what we have learned.

Our counter doesn’t measure “hits.” Instead it counts the number of “unique visitors” every 24 hours. If one computer visits our web site at 10 a.m. and again at 2 p.m., it counts as only one visit. “Page views” are counted also.

What we have learned is that we average almost 1,000 unique visitors daily. These peak on the Tuesdays and Fridays and ebb during weekends.

Our Internet readers can add their comments about stories they read there. We screen the comments and then post many of them. Perhaps you have read your comments online.

Generating by far the most comments since we started this in recent weeks have been the stories about the North Panola schools. Still a work in progress. We’ve experimented with posting news and photos as soon our staff produces them instead of waiting until the print edition comes out.

Hope you had a good holiday. I spent mine watching out for snakes.