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I like to think of my adoption into the Landmark Community Newspapers family as an act of divine intervention.Poor economic conditions, nightmarish hours and bad management left me questioning my latest employment decision at age 24. Frustrated and eager to advance my career, I found myself on that day staring at a blank screen as I gathered the nerve to write a resignation letter before having another job lined up to pay the bills. “To whom it may concern,” I wrote, my hands shaking fervently.And then, my desk phone rang.As I read the words “Landmark Community Newspapers” across the caller ID, my heart stopped. It couldn’t be what I thought it might. That would be just too freakish.On the other end of the line was Editorial Director Alan Mattingly. His words I will never forget.“I’ve got a job I’d like you to consider, Julie. It’s at one of our best weekly newspapers in Oldham County. And if I can’t convince you to take this job, I can’t convince you to take anything we have.”It wasn’t the first time Alan had called on me. In his role as recruiter for Shelbyville-based community newspaper division, he had tried to sell me on various positions across the company. I’d considered being the editor at the News-Democrat in Carrollton, a features reporter at the daily in Elizabethtown — but no matter what he offered, the timing or the position wasn’t right. I had almost resorted to the fact that a career with Landmark was out of the question.But here he was, in probably one of the most trying times of my career thus far, offering me something he didn’t think I could turn down.The rest is history. I traveled to Oldham County the next week to meet with then-publisher Jim Patrick and fell immediately in love. It was the chance to run my own newsroom in a growing community. It was the chance to begin recruiting talented reporters. It was a chance to revamp a strong newspaper that needed to move into the 21st Century.I had really only one question: Where should I sign?My first day at The Oldham Era was Oct. 16, 2003. And I haven’t regretted this move in my career one day since.So it was with great sadness that I wrote the story on this week’s front page about the potential sale of our wonderful newspaper division, and that I’m writing this column now. I’ve spent the past few days since last week’s announcement wondering how this sale will affect my employees, our newspaper, our community and me. Quite honestly, it was a sale we didn’t expect. And I have to say I’m not sure how we will be affected.What I am sure about is the way this company has treated its employees, their newspapers and their communities for the last 30-plus years. Landmark Communications, and specifically LCNI, is incredibly devoted to developing its people and to the solid practice of fair, balanced, ethical journalism. The family-owned company believes in “community” and on every level has pushed its individual properties to protect and serve the communities in which they’re located. By adopting the business practice of local autonomy, Landmark has given each newspaper the power to make its own decisions, has encouraged its involvement in local organizations and has supported taking strong editorial positions on local issues.What about me? Well, Landmark has never failed to provide me with the resources I need to be a better employee every day. They gave me the chance to live out my dream — being a publisher of a community newspaper — and at a very early age, to boot. My mentors had enough faith in my efforts to take a chance on a young eastern Kentucky newspaper brat who learned everything she knew at the dinner table, and who has the passion to keep this industry alive. And they gave me a network of editors and publishers, many of who have become sisters and brothers to me, from which to learn and grow.I simply cannot thank Landmark enough.Though I don’t know what the future holds for our company, I am certain that the people making this very large decision will consider our needs and our commitment to strong, ethical journalism when finding a new owner for our newspapers. And I can guarantee this: No matter who the owner of The Oldham Era is, our readers can be sure that the 13 people in this building are committed to giving them a newspaper that offers strong local coverage while giving back to the community that has given to us over and over.That’s something our readers can always expect.
Is this year’s resolution to quit smoking?By Dori LivyOldham County Health DepartmentEach year many people use January as their start date for making positive changes in their lives. If your New Year’s resolution is to remove tobacco from your life, good for you! Quitting is the most important thing people can do to improve their health. There are many choices to help people quit smoking; however only certain treatments have been proven effective. These are:• Prescription medications including bupropion SR (Zyban or Wellbutrin) and newly approved varenicline (Chantix). • Prescription nicotine replacement therapy including the nicotine inhaler and nicotine nasal spray. • Over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapy including the nicotine patch, nicotine gum, and nicotine lozenge. • Cessation counseling including individual, group, face-to-face or telephone counseling. Kentucky’s Tobacco Quit Line, 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669), is a free telephone service that provides information about tobacco use and treatment options.Another popular program is the Cooper-Clayton Method to Stop Smoking, sponsored by the Oldham County Health Department. Led by trained facilitators, the program is a comprehensive 12-week group support program. Participants are given information on available medications and nicotine replacement products to help them stop smoking. Other weekly sessions focus on avoiding weight gain through changing nutrition habits and exercise, stress reduction and relapse prevention. The Oldham County Health Department will offer the Cooper-Clayton class beginning Jan. 16 from 6 to 7 p.m. at their office at 1786 Commerce Parkway in La Grange. Call 222-3516 ext. 135 to register or for additional information. There is a $10 fee payable at the first class.Combining a medication or nicotine replacement therapy with cessation counseling treatment increases long-term quit rates compared with using a single type of treatment alone. The more support smokers have to quit, the better their chances are for success, and for a healthier, smoke-free 2008.Won’t you consider having a healthier New Year?
The views expressed in this column may not necessarily represent the views of The Oldham Era.