Inside the Newsroom

News, commentary, insight on local happenings and fun from the staff of The Saline Reporter and Milan News-Leader.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Results of Recent Web Polls

An update on how our readers responded to our Web poll questions.

What's the first thing you read in your newspaper?
Front Page: 50 percent
Obituaries: 20 percent
Police Briefs: 18 percent
Sports: 11 percent
(44 votes cast)

How often do you travel for vacation?

Twice a year or more: 35 percent
Once a year: 28 percent
Once every few years: 21 percent
Once every couple of years: 16 percent
(80 votes cast)

How often do you eat out a week?
Less than once a week: 36 percent
Three or more times a week: 29 percent
Twice a week: 22 percent
Once a week: 13 percent
(132 votes cast)

What's the key to getting rich?
Hard work: 37 percent
Luck: 22 percent
Ingenuity: 21 percent:
Education: 20 percent
(76 votes cast)

What's your biggest worry in the new year?
Michigan's employment outlook: 38 percent
The nation's economic turnaround: 26 percent
Funding of local schools: 22 percent
The outcome of this November's elections: 13 percent
(76 votes cast)

How should schools address budget constraints?
Reduce staff salaries: 32 percent
Pay to play: 28 percent
Offer more online classes: 22 percent
Cut extracurricular activities: 18 percent
(108 votes cast)

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

An eventful visit to the Milan Community Center

I had the opportunity to meet with Jennifer Michalak at the Milan Community Center this afternoon.

Jennifer coordinates the programs there and was telling me about the bus transportation services they offer for senior citizens and the disabled, as well as a brand new diabetes support group that meets at the center on the third Wednesday of every month.

They have so much stuff going on. Did you know they offer Hebrew and Spanish classes?

I also met Joan Swartz. Joan rides the bus and counts on the service to get to her hospital visits. Talking with Joan, I found out she was part of the WASP group, or Women Airforce Service Pilots, during World War II. She said she was trained by famous aviator Jacqueline Cochran.

Joan told me she has many artifacts from her time flying planes. I'm going over to meet with her on Friday to talk with her a bit more in depth and see some of the things she has kept, so look for the story about her soon at!

Meeting people like Joan is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Settling in at Heritage Newspapers

Greetings to all.

I couldn't be happier to have found a home at Heritage Newspapers, writing for both The Saline Reporter and The Milan News-Leader. It's been a pleasure getting to know my new colleagues.

I've lived in Washtenaw County for ten years now, and grew up in Wayne County in a suburb of Detroit.

I bounced back and forth between Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor while attending undergraduate and graduate school at Eastern Michigan University, and have now settled in with my wife and pug in Northeast Ann Arbor.

I absolutely love the cultural gems spread so liberally throughout this community. Museums, parks, bookstores, bars, great grocery stores, theaters and many other organizations and entities make this an unrivaled place to call home.

My interests outside of work reside primarily within the humanities. I'm a life-long student of history, always striving to better contextualize my surroundings and define how it is we have collectively come to be.

My graduate research is in literature, and I've developed a fondness for American fictional writing from the realist phase through early modernism. Jim Harrison is my favorite regional author.

I spent some time commuting between Hillsdale and Ann Arbor, a huge daily drive, while I worked as a staff writer for The Hillsdale Daily News. Now that I'm back in Washtenaw County, I look forward to meeting many of you.

Just one more thing......

I'm considering beginning a series of stories concerning the founding families of Saline and Milan. If you can trace your lineage back that far, or know someone who can, I'd like to hear from you. As always, pictures and relics from this foundational era are great as well.

Best regards.

Steven Howard


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Say hello to our new reporter

I'd like to welcome our new reporter for The Saline Reporter and The Milan News-Leader. His name is Steven Howard and he comes to us from The Hillsdale Daily News, where he covered government, police, courts, schools and wrote feature stories. You may have seen his byline in the now-defunct Ann Arbor News, where he was a freelance reporter and photographer from October 2008 to April 2009.

Steven has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Eastern Michigan University and is a master's degree candidate in literature at EMU. He also worked as a graduate lecturer at EMU, teaching introductory English composition courses.

At the Hillsdale paper he initiated a series titled "Lost Cities" profiling old communities that no longer exist, but were identified by a street sign or were known by word of mouth. Many of the towns disappeared during the Great Depression as people left to find work. Steven has a deep interest in history and passion for community journalism.

Please join me in welcoming him to the community. He welcomes your story ideas. You can reach him at 429-7380 or

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