Monday, March 17, 2014

Solace on St Patrick's Day

Growing up less than well off in a Irish Catholic single-parent household in Amherst, you couldn't help but notably mark St Patrick's Day.  To my mother it was perhaps more important than Christmas or Easter -- two pretty sacred days for Catholics.

So I've always tried to use it in a positive way.  Seven years ago today I started this blog, now fast approaching one million unique visitors.  Two years ago I gave up drinking, and today I don't miss it a bit.

From 1992 through 2001, March 17 was the start date of training for the bike race up Mt Washington, so from St Patrick's day until the end of August a day would not go by -- no matter the weather -- without an hour training in the saddle. 

At the impressionable age of 17 -- in the summer of 1972 -- in fell in love with both karate and journalism.  For you non history majors that was the beginning of Watergate, where dogged determination by two reporters over a (too) long time period led to the downfall of the most powerful man on earth.

I founded my karate school in 1982 to distract myself from not accomplishing a goal I had set at age 17:  Becoming the #1 ranked sport karate player in the nation.  But I did manage to come in at #3 that year.

Since then, two hip and one knee replacement later, my karate skills are not nearly what they were at peak when for a brief moment I was perhaps unbeatable.  But my journalism skills are better today than at any point in the past, partially because I accepted early on the awesome power of the Internet.

For the 1982 grand opening of the Karate Health Fitness Center and the following two years, I advertised in the weekly paper I had grown up reading, The Amherst Record. In fact my father and his father before him had advertised the Kelley Plumbing & Heating business in the paper as well. 

It was one of those traditional home town weeklies where you read about the people you would see in the downtown on any given day.

The Amherst Record folded in 1984 because of normal business competition not the upheaval cause by the Internet, which now threatens the entire print industry.

So why bring back the Amherst Record in digital form?  Because the more people shining a light on government, business and education the better -- especially in Amherst, where education is king.  And I have over 30 years of institutional memory to guide my spotlight.

I promise to pursue important stories with the same zeal and boundless determination I demonstrated in the karate ring, or while running a small business for almost 30 years.

Please join me in that quest: 


Anonymous said...

Interesting turn of events. Will OITROA go away if you are successful? Also, how would a new format change the way you report on events, other than cosmetic differences?

Larry Kelley said...

New format will not change how I cover a story but will allow for more stories that are perhaps not front page importance.

I also plan to have a forum and guest columnists. Catherine Sanderson has agreed to come out of retirement and contribute when she can.

Anonymous said...

By the way, typo in your plea: I promise to pursuit important stories with the same zeal and boundless determination ..

I'm all for it - I'm curious to see what you can do in a broader format. I get tired of endless vertical scrolling of content, too, so hopefully navigation will be smoother.

Good luck! I'm poor! No contributions from me! Hoping for success!

Kurt Geryk said...

Ooh, can I be your proofreader?

Kurt Geryk said...

Will the Amherst Record Digital News be a pay/subscription service?

Anonymous said...

the beginning of Watergate

Do not forget that it wasn't just Watergate that Nixon was in trouble for. Nor that he had won a 49-state landslide in '72.

Nixon re-elected 1972, Obama 2012.
Nixon 1973 -- Obama 2013 -- similar congressional concerns.
Their own parties distancing themselves from them in 1974 & 2014, similar concerns about the November elections.

Nixon resigned Summer of '74 -- Obama ????

History repeats itself.

Anonymous said...

Happy St. Patty's Day, Mr. Kelley!

Tip of the leprechaun hat to you on your personal milestone and new journalistic goal.

Izzy O'Lyman

Larry Kelley said...

Thanks Izzy. I should have mentioned "First Rights," as a formative learning experience.

Anonymous said...

Good luck Larry, looking forward to it, and I hope you make a million. Richard Marsh

Larry Kelley said...

Thanks Richard. Appreciate the contributions both monatary and comments -- especially since you always leave your name.

Tony said...

Good luck Larry. Perhaps include OITROA as part of an editorial piece?

Anonymous said...

Larry, what was the reason you never followed your father's trade? Not that it matters. I think your blog is great.

Shelley Timberlake said...

Happy St. Patrick's Day, Larry. Fond memories of your mom; tonight I'll have tea from the shamrock cup she so generously gave me, (overlooking my staunch English lineage). Glad to hear you're hips and knee are doing well, even if not at "competition" level function, and congratulations on your ongoing sobriety.
I too have fond recollections of the Amherst Record, and its place in the life of this town. More power to you for on online resurrection of sorts.

Anonymous said...

You will do a great job at your new endeavor. David O'Farnham

Tom Porter said...

Thrilled to see this Larry! I have a real fondness for the old Record, and will be very glad to see it given new life. When is Opening Day?

Congratulations, and Press On!

Larry Kelley said...

Thanks Tom. Shooting for April 30.

Anonymous said...

Will Ed also have a regular column?

Anonymous said...

Mike deSherbinen is smiling.

Anonymous said...

Will it be free? The Amherst Bulletin was.

Larry Kelley said...

You get what you pay for. But yes, it will be free.

Anonymous said...

I'll pay for it to be Ed-free.

Anonymous said...

I will donate too, if you promise it will be Ed free. It would be worth it.

Anonymous said...

This is exciting--I just donated anonymously. I wish there were a "CAN" category! How about $30: CAN Shoutout. Then, on the first page of the new new format, you could have "CAN" in a framed box with a count next to it. lol. :)

I'd totally buy a mug with "sarcasm requires its own special font" printed on it;
also, a t-shirt with a cartoon/illustration of that "chainsaw orchestra," an idea that got started, I think, in the comments section here a couple years ago.
in conclusion, your blog rules. Looking forward to seeing your next project take shape.


Larry Kelley said...

Thanks for the donation. And the ideas.

I can add perks anytime, so I'm still thinking. I like the mug idea.

Anonymous said...

I hope your new venture will leave name calling, such Cowardly Anonymous Nitwit, behind, or it will be doing a disservice to the name Amherst Bulletin.