Gustavson: Still reporting on what matters to us

The board OK'd a parking restriction on Village Lane and King Street in Orient. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)
The board OK’d a parking restriction on Village Lane and King Street in Orient. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)

The three-sentence-long news alert from The Suffolk Times jumped off the screen of my computer when I fired it up first thing Tuesday morning. The headline declared, “Town Board to discuss proposed Orient parking ban Tuesday.”

Naturally, as a 36-year resident of Orient, I was curious. And not only had reporter Cyndi Murray written the brief account of the pending meeting, but she also had taken a close-up photo of the street sign at the intersection of Village Lane and King Street — just seven houses away from our home!

TR080609_Gustavson_RHow could I not read on? As follows: “The Southold Town Board is expected to hold a public hearing Tuesday to discuss a proposed parking restriction in Orient. The draft legislation aims to ban parking at the intersection of Village Lane and King Street.

(The legislation was since passed.)

“Board members considered similar legislation in June 2012, but ultimately tabled a decision on the matter after residents expressed concerns about the proposed parking restrictions.”

Also on Tuesday morning, I received multiple news alerts from daily newspapers and news-oriented websites on the missing jumbo jet in Asia, the situation in Ukraine and the trials and tribulations of the New York Knicks. But only The Suffolk Times was interested enough in the Orient parking ban to issue a news alert.

And that, in a nutshell, is why I remain bullish on the long-term future of community newspapers like this one. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of news organizations reporting on the situations in Kuala Lumpur and Kiev, but only one, apparently, interested enough in our little corner of the planet — the intersection of Village Lane and King Street in Orient, N.Y. — to report on the proposed parking ban.

As long as news organizations like this one remember why they’re here — to chronicle births, deaths, honor rolls, real estate transfers, high school sports scores and, yes, proposed parking bans — there will always be a place for them, in my opinion. The method of delivery undoubtedly will change over time, just as it has with the advent of the Web, but the primary mission will remain the same: local news, all the time.

So, the other day I cashed in on my big Christmas gift from the former Joan Giger Walker: a gift certifi cate for a full-body massage. Because my late father had studied massage at the Swedish School of Massage in New York City back in the 1930s, I’ve always been an advocate of the ancient art. And even though, as a retiree living on a limited income, I now can afford to go only a few times a year, I still value/enjoy the experience.

And so it was that Sandra, the licensed massage therapist assigned to me, inquired if there were any particular “issues” I’d like for her to address.

Some 60 minutes later, when the Andean fl ute CD and tabletop “waterfall” finally had been turned off, we still hadn’t addressed all my issues. (If you are a person of a certain age, you will be able to identify with what follows. And if you’re not, be prepared for it.)

Let me count a few of the issues: frozen shoulder from a tennis fall; ruptured Achilles from an ancient racquetball injury; torn meniscus (left knee) from high school and college football and rugby, not to mention years and years of heavy lifting, if you get my drift; bulging L4 and L5 spinal discs; mild carpal tunnel syndrome in both arms (I’m ambidextrous), again from tennis; arthritic hips and spinal stenosis from advanced age; and, fi nally, a ruptured tendon in left ankle, again from tennis.

This last injury has yet to be addressed. In fact, I will go under an orthopedic surgeon’s knife to repair it this coming Monday.

I should be back on the tennis court by Memorial Day, the doctor says. Otherwise, the massage went well.

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