I’m not sure why I bothered but I decided to look at the Feather River Bulletin’s website today. It’s as poorly designed and inessential as you’d expect a small multi-town news organization t’s site to be. But against my better judgment I read three articles and was shocked by each one. I never really read the paper while we lived there, but I have to wonder if it was always at this quality (after my Mom stopped classing the joint up that is).

Quincy arson fire subjects firefighters to needless risk
By “Feather Publishing”

Someone set a vacant house on Lee Road across from the Art Barn at the Fairgrounds on fire. Once three engines and a support vehicle arrived and the “catastrophic fire” was out in “approximately 15 minutes.” I have to imagine the “approximately” is to round it up. I’m surprised someone had time to take the accompanying photo which is certainly dramatic but doesn’t tell us more than there was a fire and at least one firefighter on the scene.

I think one of my favorite sentences written by “Feather Publishing” is “If not for the quick response of the Quincy Fire Department this fire was already in the process of spreading to neighboring, occupied homes.” While it’s clear what they mean they got confused halfway through about who/what the subject was.

Since the fire itself wasn’t remarkable, the article transitions into the inherent danger in fighting fire with some really fantastic hyperbole.

“This fire endangered the lives of nearly 25 responding firefighters, support personnel and law enforcement officers.” In what way? I understand they were at the site of the fire, but if it was put out in 15 minutes who had time to be seriously threatened?

Obviously this is a personal issue since in January “Capt. Bill Hopman in January to a heart attack after he responded to an accidental chimney fire.” I don’t mean to disrespect him, but I looked up his obit and he had his heart attack when he got home from the fire http://www.plumasnews.com/notices/obituaries/7826-obituaries-for-the-week-of-1192011.html.

Of course nothing the anonymous writer can come up with will top Quincy Fire Chief Robbie Cassou saying, “But the crime of arson in my opinion is the same as attempted murder. Starting an uncontrolled fire that our firefighters will have to risk their lives responding to is the same as pointing a gun at their head and pulling the trigger.” I’m going to say it’s not.

Cassou also says there is “arson problem in Quincy” which the paper explains by noting six “human-caused wildland fires” four of which were solved. Three were caused by the same person who was arrested so hopefully that solved that arson problem.

Quincy going crazy for quilts
By Mona Hill, Staff Writer

This article is supposed to be about two quilting events happening in/around town and a profile on one quilter in particular, but there isn’t any flow to the three segments or anything to really tie it all together-like an introduction or conclusion.

It starts with the profile and then tells the dates of the in town event, then has two more paragraphs about the person, then details the show for three before saying, oh and the person also is involved in this other show and then alternates between the two shows for the next three paragraphs before it stops.

Was Bible distribution on school grounds?
By M. Kate West, Chester Editor

I’m amazed that this is written by an editor. If she writes like this, what hope does anyone else at the Chester paper have? I won’t pick the whole thing apart because none of us have the time but look at the first three sentences…

“I’ve done a lot of legwork this morning in talking with the principal and Superintendent Glenn Harris,” parent Thor Schaefer said May 12.
He said his efforts were a direct result of a complaint he would be filing about Bibles being handed out on what he witnessed as school district property.
In the context of his complaint he relayed that he had observed three people handing out Bibles to kids, including his daughter, as they exited Chester High School.

Sentence one tells us that Thor is talking with people. Sentence two tells us that Thor has a reason to talk with those people. Sentence three tells what his reason is. So why are these different sentences? Why does it take three sentences to explain a basic situation “Bibles were handed out on Chester High School grounds and Thor is filing a complaint.” What does sentence one add to the story?

I get angry when I read “his efforts were a direct result of a complaint he would be filing” because nothing can be a result of something that hasn’t happened yet. And since Thor is doing both things of course there is a direct connection – it’s Thor! He’s the connection between two things he did.

“Bibles being handed out on what he witnessed as school district property” means that what is in question is what Thor viewed as school property but the use of “witness” implies an event. District property lines are not an event, Bibles being handed out is an event, but that’s not what Thor witnessed. He witnessed the ground.

“In the context of his complaint” is nonsense. Say “His complaint.”
“In the context of his complaint he relayed” is additional nonsense. Say “His complaint states.”
“In the context of his complaint he relayed that he had observed” is more nonsense. Say “His complaint states he observed.”

We don’t find out until the end of the third sentence what school is even being discussed.

We know that Thor talked with the principle, the superintendent and the newspaper on May 12th. But when did the bible passing out actually take place? Sentence eleven says it was “yesterday” and sentence twelve will let you know that means May 11th.

The editor not only has problems constructing sentences but she has forgotten the Five Ws.

While you’re reading the rest of the “article” be sure and read the comments. They’re wonderful.

Oh and as a bonus an editorial screwed up their Shakespearian homage in the title here. This is the only thing I’ve replied to. I won’t make a habit of it.

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