Change can be good

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 24, 2008

To some readers, the columns appearing in today’s newspaper will seem strange. To others, it will seem vaguely reminiscent.

A few years ago while he was working with us, David Friedman and I took turns writing news and sports columns. It gave an opportunity to address both areas and made for a lot more fun writing. As much as I love sports, I sincerely don’t have an opinion worth sharing every week.

Recently I dug up one of David’s old columns and used it, with his permission, when I didn’t feel like writing a column or maybe because time had escaped me, I honestly don’t remember.

A few weeks later while visiting him in Wilmington, we talked about my desire to have him writing columns again for sports and my desire to be able to write for the editorial page.

After talking with him and current Sports Writer Heather Odom, we reached a deal that will allow me to voice my opinion here every other week. In my absence, they will write sports columns and thereby give our devout sports readers another viewpoint.

Another change for me recently is that I am now covering my native Bertie County for the news department of this newspaper. That is something I have avoided doing over the years, especially because I still live there.

I was apprehensive about changing assignments because I enjoyed covering Hertford County and especially the current board of commissioners. Howard Hunter III and I, as I have said before, are friends and we have a good working relationship. On top of that, I respect Dupont Davis as much as any commissioner I’ve ever met and I couldn’t ask for any better than I got from Commissioners Johnnie Farmer, Curtis Freeman and John Pierce.

Add to that a great county staff n especially Loria Williams, Pat Weaver and County Attorney Chuck Revelle n and it was hard to make the change.

Having said that, I am enjoying the changes we’ve made. Getting into a county I’ve never covered and learning about the internal politics has been a lot of fun.

I have been welcomed by both the Bertie County Commissioners and the Bertie County Board of Education. I have known the chairmen of those two boards (Norman Cherry and Rickey Freeman) respectively for many years. They know what I’m about as a reporter and have given me the trust that I plan to continue to earn over the coming months.

As I have tried to learn about the people who run the county government, everyone has been terrific to work with.

I have to say a special thanks to Brent Todd, the Public Information Officer for the school district, who has helped me in my adjustment to that board. There have been many times that I have called him on his cell phone after hours and on the weekend and he has always been helpful.

Covering Bertie County has also given me the opportunity to renew some old friendships. There is no one I enjoy talking with more than G.F. Mitchell. The story about the Bertie School of Science, Technology, Mathematics and Education gave us the chance to catch up and there will be additional times later.

I look forward to working in Bertie County and to continuing on the good coverage my two predecessors there have provided. Those in the county are welcome to call or email me anytime.

Thadd White is a Staff Writer and Sports Editor of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. He can be reached at 332-7211 or